A system focused on autonomy and work conditions

Description

The GAEC de Chadenas have a breeding system designed to increase autonomy and work quality. The two associates realized many innovations on the farm.

To increase autonomy, what is better than grazing? It is for this reason that rotational, then cellular grazing has been put in place. Despite difficulties about paddocks organiza-tion in the beginning and about watering now, the first year of cellular grazing is a success.

To be able to graze a long time of the year (more than 10 months in 2016!) the GAEC de Chadenas cross his herd of Alps brown cows with Swedish red and jersiaise cows. The objective is to have animals light enough to graze as late as possible on clay soils. These small cows are better for valorize grass in kg ingested for one liter of milk.

Finally, to increase work conditions, associates are testing once day milking for 2016. The first year is rather positive since the current production has returned to the production level of the past year with one less milking, and with cows in better corporal condition.

Reason for the innovation

  • Decrease expenses
  • Maximize grazing
  • To be autonomous for forage and more
  • Feeding only with grass
  • Work in better conditions

Farm description

Environment

  • Soils: Clay. Difficulties about praticity of paddocks in autumn
  • Climate: Oceanic with continental trend
  • Altitude: 320m

Grassland management

  • Grazing management type: cellular
  • Grazing: 9-10 months a year

Structure

  • Annual Work Unit: 2
  • Organic agriculture
  • Agricultural area: 125 ha UAA
    • Permanent grasslands : 125 ha
    • 100% grass
  • Breed: Crossing Alp’s brown x Swedish red x Jersiaise
  • Stocking rate: 0,78 LU / ha of forage area

Animal performance

  • Milk production per head: 3 500 L /year

Why it is working

Herd history has made the change easier : engaged organic agriculture since 1975, cows were already feeding mostly with grass before the grazing reorganization.

Farmers adapt their production objectives to the potentiel of their territory.

Many ways of informations and external points of vue: farmers group, farms visits, formations, books, newspapers…

Long term farm targets shared by associated and stable over time.

Additional information

Farming system

organic farming

Domains of innovation

animal type (breed), farm system, grazing management system

Main types of animal

dairy cattle

Country

France

Product type

Farmer portrait

Language

English, French

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