From farmer’s pitch fork to consumer’s table fork

Description

The innovation is holistic. It concerns the whole production, processing and marketing system. All animal products produced on the farm are processed in the farm butchery and marketed in the farm shop (‘From farmer’s pitch fork to consumer’s table fork’). Animal breeds were chosen for meat quality (Angus beef, Ardennais Roux and Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse sheep and Sattelschwein pigs). The farmer followed a butcher training. All animals are in priority fed on grass.

 

The farmer inherited a Holstein Friesian herd but he wanted quickly to replace these dairy cows by more rustic animals for decreasing animal health problems. He wanted to develop a more natural, organic livestock farming system, with a lower use of drugs. He faced difficulties for finding the right breeds for beef cattle, meat sheep, and pigs. He had to search a lot. Another difficulty is that herd production has to follow consumer’s demand. He has not yet enough beef meat, but he can satisfy demand for pork meat. He has now a good balance between all productions, and very low production costs.

Farm description

Environment

  • Soil type: Clayey-loam
  • Climate: Temperate continental
  • Altitude: 400 m asl
  • Slope: 5%

Grassland management

  • Grazing : Yes
  • Grazing management type: Mainly continuous stocking and some rotational
  • Mainly silage and some hay
  • Most grasslands are exclusively grazed, none are mixed used
  • Exclusively mown temporary grasslands are cut three times a year

Structure

  • Annual Work Unit: 2
  • Agricultural Area : 74 ha UAA
  • Permanent grassland area: 26 ha
  • Temporary grassland area: 15 ha
  • Annual crop area: 33 ha
  • Breed: Angus beef cattle, Ardennais Roux and Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse sheep, and Sattelschwein pig
  • Stocking rate: 2.0 LU per ha of grassland area

Animal performance

  • Bull and heifer carcass at 21 months: 300 kg (R2 classification)

Why it is working

The wife came from a urban environment and brought a new vision on the farm. She encouraged her husband to develop high quality, easily marketable products. Local consumers and tourists are looking for it. Another reason of success is that the farmer acquired broad competencies in many activities from cropping to product processing and marketing.

Additional information

Farming system

conventional farming

Domains of innovation

farm system, marketing, product processing

Main types of animal

beef cattle, meat sheep

Country

Belgium

Product type

Farmer portrait

Language

English, French

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