Organic animal rearing focuses on allowing animals to meet natural requirements, and considering a systems approach. There are still many knowledge gaps and areas – like separating cows and calves just after birth – where common practice do not match the organic principles fully. The project covers most European climate zones, from the coldest North to the hottest South.
GrazyDaiSy investigates how to manage mixed age groups of cows, including rearing calves with their dams, whilst maintaining a high level of health and a constant effort to minimize medication. Furthermore, we focus on implementing resilient grazing strategies to improve animal performance and decrease impacts on the ecosystem on and around the farm. However, we also address the special challenges of keeping older and younger animals together on grass.
The project aims to encourage grazing and improve grazing management, rearing cows and calves together, and minimizing medicine use.
Specialized dairy production even on organic farms relies on imported concentrate feed and the possibility to use of antibiotics and anthelminthic. Most calves are removed from their dam within the first 24 hrs. after birth. All this happens despite emphasis on naturalness and letting animals meet their natural needs and become robust and resilient.
We take a participatory approach at all stages of this project with involvement of farmers. This supports not only the efficiency, feasibility and context relevance of the project, but also contributes to the ethical consistency of this project. Involvement, participation and dialogue with different actors including advisors, companies and consumers - means that we meet potential societal concerns regarding human, intellectual, cultural or societal development.
Our strategies are quite innovative and focus on resilient animals and surroundings. This is a needed angle to societal, rural and food systems development.
We develop new aspects of sustainability assessments – which can only address long-term aspects of the project!
We conduct high-scientific-quality studies, which help the groundbreaking focus.
By the end of the project we expect to have reached results with regard to the following: