27/01/2021

Solutions for sustainable feeding and animal welfare in organic farming – Research projects contribute – 25-26 January 2021, online

© Katarina Šeme

Organic farmers strive to feed their animals with feed produced at or near the farm while ensuring animal well-being. In a joint conference, four research projects, OK-Net EcoFeed, PPILOW, FreeBirds and POWER, presented solutions helping farms to implement these objectives in practice.

Bram Moeskops, IFOAM Organics Europe, coordinator of OK-Net EcoFeed said “Adopting a multi-actor approach, all four projects worked with farmers, advisers and researchers to improve animal welfare, identify sustainable feed sources and improve ration-planning for organic pigs and poultry.”

Anne Collin, INRAE, coordinator of PPILOW explained that PPILOW “Evaluates animal welfare according to the One Welfare concept.” Anne elaborated “This concept considers animal welfare, economic, environmental, and social impacts including human well-being. The one welfare concept recognises that animal welfare, biodiversity and the environment are interconnected.”

Stefan Gunnarsson, SLU, coordinator of FreeBirds added that “Keeping layers and broiler chickens outdoor promotes bird welfare and health. Yet, outdoor production comes with challenges such as sanitary threats or predator pressure. Researchers and practitioners need to work together to find solutions.”

Anne Grete Kongsted, Aarhus University, coordinator of POWER elaborated that the POWER project is looking for solutions in pig production: “We look for practical solutions in the most prevalent organic pig production systems and we evaluate new practices developed by creative farmers across Europe.”

The conference showed access to knowledge is crucial for farmers wanting to improve their practices. That is why Organic Farm Knowledge was created. This online platform hosts a wide range of tools and resources, including almost 100 tools in the theme animal husbandry. The ration-planning tool developed within the OK-Net EcoFeed project is an example of such a tool. It allows calculating a balanced ration based on the composition of organic feedstuffs and the nutritional needs of slow-growing breeds.

More information Bram Moeskops, Research & Innovation Manager, IFOAM Organics Europe

OK-Net EcoFeed has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773911. This communication only reflects the author’s view. The Research Executive Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided.

 
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