Grazing management with dairy goats in a mountain environment and regional marketing of products

Description

In 2006 the organic farmer of the Kleinstahlhof reorganized the stall of the family farm, which kept until then dairy cattle and comprises very steep slopes, into a playpen for goats. The goats of the breed “Weiße deutsche Edelziege“ (on average 10 LU) are kept on grassland without import of off-farm forage. The total agricultural area of the farm is 8.5 ha (leased land included), of which 4 ha are used exclusively as meadows (3 cuts/year) and on 4.5 ha grazing and mowing
are combined. The practiced grazing management system is a flexible rotational stocking. The animals are grazing from mid of April until the end of October.  During this period, they receive additionally 200 g of concentrates per day. The enre produced amount of milk of 30000 l per year is transformed into high quality products directly on farm (5 different types of cheese, all manufactured of raw goat milk). The own products are locally marketed to resellers (50%), local shops (30%) and in their own farm shop (20%). All products are only available seasonally; there is no production in the period between winter and Easter.

A high forage quality is very important for the farmer. It can be achieved by early cuts, reduction of crumble losses at hay harvest (reduction of unnecessary turning of herbage) and a well-working barn-drying system (roof suction coupled with a dehumidifier).

 

Reason for the innovation

  • Short marketing chain
  • Solving a problem (the need to change)
  • Decreasing costs (no silage)

Farm description

Environment

  • Main soil type: sandy loam
  • Climate type: temperate continental climate
  • Average altitude (m a.s.l.): 1134 (970 m to 1268 m)
  • Average slope (%): 54 (26% to 63%)

Grassland management

  • Grazing: Yes, combined with cut use
  • Grazing management type: flexible rotational stocking
  • Length of the grazing period (months/year): 7
  • Number of cuts for exclusively mowed areas: 3 cuts/year
  • Forage conservation type: hay
  • Average fertilisation rate: 100 kg organic N/ha/year

Structure

  • Annual work units per year: 3
  • Agricultural area (ha UAA) : 8.5 ha
    47% of the area is exclusively mowed, 53% of the area are mixed use grassland area (mowed and grazed)

Animal performance

  • Breed type: Weiße deutsche Edelziege
  • Total livestock unit (LU): 10
  • Average stocking rate (LU/ha): 1.17
  • Average rate of bought roughage: 0%

 

Why it is working

  • Animals are suitable for grazing on steep slopes
  • High forage quality because of efficient drying method (rooftop suction and dehumidifier)
  • Closed operation cycle, working in and with the nature, minimal rate of additional acquisition (approx. 200 g feed concentrates/goat/day)
  • High motivation, periodic a”ending of courses on goat farming and cheese production

Additional information

Farming system

organic farming

Domains of innovation

grazing management system, marketing

Main types of animal

dairy goats

Country

Italy

Product type

Farmer portrait

Language

English, German

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