Externally funded project

Improving animal health and welfare in organic cattle milk production through breeding and management (OrganicDairyHealth)

Project Details
Project duration: 01/201503/2018


This European project with partners from 7 countries (AT, CH, DK, DE,
LI, PL, SE) aimed at improving udder and metabolic health in organic
dairy farms. Germany (DE) participated in the following subprojects:
and commercial dairy breeds on organic farms in AT, CH, SE, PL and DE
were compared with regard to health associated traits, fertility and
production traits. In DE under relatively extensive farm conditions, the
local breed Original Red Angler cattle showed comparable production and
health levels compared to Holstein cows, and can therefore be
recommended for low input conditions.
Identification and description
of major organic dairy farm types in Europe, focusing on management and
herd health: Results in DE showed that different management strategies
can lead to similar results regarding herd health and longevity. This
includes that farms achieving higher milk yields not only have higher
inputs in terms of high-energy feed like maize or concentrates, but also
in terms of preventive health measures. The variation between different
farm types and production goals should be taken into account in future
research and recommendations.
Identification of stress effects on
mastitis susceptibility and curing capacity: Based on an observational
study in 30 herds in DE and DK, the overall pattern emerges that
positive stockpersons’ attitudes and interactions that build a positive
human-animal relationship and allow early problem recognition can
positively influence udder health. Herds with lower stress levels
showed better mastitis curing capacity. These findings should be taken
into account in future research and in mastitis control without
neglecting well-known management and housing factors.
Evaluation of
farmers’ experiences on voluntary drying off single udder quarters as a
potential measure for mild chronic mastitis quarters and for reducing
the use of antibiotics indicate that this might be feasible for a
selected proportion of cows under careful observation.

in corporation with: Winckler, C. und Fürst-Waltl, B. Universität für Bodenkultur, Wien,  Wallenbeck, A. Dept. of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Schweden,  Spengler, A. and Bieber, A. Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau,  Kargo, M. University of Aarhus,  Walczak, J. National Research Institute of Animal Production, Poland,  Ribikauskas, V. Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.

Last updated on 2020-23-09 at 12:48