MIX-ENABLE – improving organic mixed livestock farming

The CORE Organic Cofund project MIX-ENABLE will develop the sustainability and robustness of organic animal production on mixed livestock farms in Europe.

Integrating two or more animal species with crop production or agroforestry on a farm potentially provides many benefits including more efficient pasture use and parasite management. However, organic mixed livestock farms tend to specialize or display limited integration between farm components. This limited integration may reduce the practical benefits of organic mixed livestock farms. Therefore, the MIX-ENABLE project will explore organic mixed livestock farms in Europe, especially their level of integration between farm components, assess their sustainability and robustness to adverse events and compare their performances with those of specialized farms.

The knowledge developed will be integrated into models that can simulate their performances against climatic and economic variability. Farm-level experiments will be conducted as well as surveys to generate more knowledge that can be fed into the models. Through co-design together with farmers more sustainable and robust organic mixed livestock farms can be created. 

Indicator system, extended farm simulation models and participatory methods

In the project, existing concepts and methods to assess the level of integration between farm components will be enlarged and applied on the surveyed farms. An indicator system for integrated assessment of organic mixed livestock farms will be developed and applied to connect the sustainability and robustness of the surveyed farms with their level of integration among farm components. In parallel, farm-level experimentation of organic specialized and mixed livestock situations for the comparison of specific aspects of animal husbandry (e.g. pasture use or animal health) will be conducted.

The farm simulation models will be extended to organic mixed livestock farms and the benefits and drawbacks of livestock diversity will be analyzed. By using these models, participatory methods will be developed and implemented to co-design sustainable and robust organic mixed livestock farms together with farmers. The results will be communicated to practice and policy-makers to shed light on the potentialities of organic mixed livestock farms, the way to manage them sustainably and how to reach it starting from a specialized farm.

Coordinator: Guillaume Martin (E-mail: guillaume.martin@inra.fr

Partner countries: FR, CH, IT, BE, AT, DE & SE

CORE Organic Cofund is an ERA-NET funded by the European Commission´s
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Contract No. 727495.