The innovation is holistic. It concerns the whole production, processing and marketing system. The conventional Belgian Blue breeding system that required systematic caesarians, antibiotics, high level of purchased concentrate feed, green maize, monoculture, fertilizers and pesticides has been replaced by an organic, Angus beef system based on grass and feed self-sufficient. Grazed and cut grasslands are sown with a complex mixture of grasses and legumes. The mixed farm combining grassland, cereals (animal feed) and livestock is profitable. It produces meat and vegetables, processes meat (minced meat, sausages, packaged cut meat pieces) and market high quality meat (very good taste, no toxic residues) delivered to consumers and sold in two shops.
The objective was to decrease production costs by reducing dramatically the use of commercial inputs and to improve the effects on the environment and consumers’ health by phasing the use of pesticides and antibiotic out. Mutual benefits of grasslands on cereals and of cereals on grasslands were observed: soil fertility and permeability increase, improvement of soil live and structure. Prices of conventional Belgian Blue meat felt down during the interval while the Angus meat is now sold at a stable price to consumers.
- Soil type: Clay to sandy-loam (very variable)
- Climate: Temperate continental
- Altitude: 435 m asl
- Slope: rolling landscape
- Grazing : Yes
- Grazing management type: rotational (long period of stay)
- Mainly silage and some hay
- Most grasslands are mixed used
- Exclusively mown temporary grasslands are cut three to four times a year
- Annual Work Unit: 4
- Agricultural Area : 149 ha UAA
- Permanent grassland area: 35 ha
- Temporary grassland area: 69 ha
- Annual crop area: 45 ha
- Breed: Angus (beef cable) and Noire du Velay (meat sheep)
- Stocking rate: 1.9 LU per ha of grassland area
- Bull carcass at 24 months: 420 kg (U classification)
- Heifer carcass at 30 months: 325 kg (R classification)
Why it is working
The system is working because it was totally changed in a coherent and holistic way.