Grazing management with suckler cows and regional marketing of beef products

Description

The innovation at a glance


Strengths

  • Flexible grassland management combining a flexible rotational stocking with mowing as well as efficient use of the own forage
  • Animal breeds are suitable for grazing under the given farm conditions
  • Maintenance of the diversity of larch pastures through a lenient grazing
  • Improvement of the quality of animal products (beef) because the summer pasture
  • Closed nutrient cycle within the farm without import of off-farm forage, independence from the price fluctuations of concentrates
  • Valorisation of the product quality and the environmentally sound management through a targeted marketing referring to it
  • Reduction of the labour intensity regarding the stable work during summer (possible combination with another part-time job)
  • Minimization of production costs (optimum workload of machineries, low fuel costs, no purchase of off-farm forage) as well as targeted and cost-effective investments

Prerequisites/weaknesses

  • Availability of grassland areas suitable for grazing management (enough contiguous areas located close to the farm buildings, moderate steepness, acceptable distance of the larch pasture from the farm buildings)
  • Animal breed suitable for grazing
  • Taking seasonality into account in planning the animal production
  • A targeted marketing strategy for the valorisation of the high-quality product is necessary
  • Acceptance of the shift of the criteria to evaluate the personal success from maximum yield (revenue-oriented) to an economic productivity of the labour (income-oriented) should be given

 

A deeper insight


Economic factors

Prerequisites/weaknesses

  • A market niche for the seasonal, high-quality product should be established and acknowledged by the consumers
  • Valorisation of the product quality and the environmentally sound management through a targeted marketing is necessary
  • The presence of the entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness to communicate with the customers must be given; the effort for marketing, customer service and merchandising shouldn‘t be underestimated (a cooperative could be a possibility to compensate the effort of the single farmer)
  • Handling the flexible grassland management combining grazing and mowing should be trained; a regular inspection of the grassland areas is necessary
  • Enough contiguous grassland areas located around the farm and suitable for grazing should be available
  • Animal breeds should be suitable for grazing in mountain environment and able to cover their energy needs through grazing and hay
  • Management of the herd requires practice experience
  • Collaboration of the family members is necessary

Strengths

  • Regional marketing has economic and ecologic advantages
  • A reduction concerning labour intensity, compared to indoor feeding is given, especially during the summer month, because of a reduction of the labour intensity regarding the stable work. In this way, suckler cow husbandry could be a good alternative with growing potential to dairy farming
  • Daily inspection round of the pastures has to the farmer a paral recreational component (relaxation in the nature)
  • This kind of management can be combined with a part-me job

 

Social factors

Prerequisites/weaknesses

  • Honest and authentic image of the farmer and the farm
  • Professional competence, motivation as well as the willingness for continuous training should exist
  • Somemes the management system is questioned by other farmers (for example crossbreeding is seen sceptically)

Strengths

  • The system allows a good me management for part-me job, family and holiday; free me through labour reduction during summer
  • Positive image in the village and high appreciation by the tourists accommodated at the farm (“Urlaub auf dem Bauernhof”)

 

Environmental factors

Prerequisites/weaknesses

  • The management of grassland must be coherent with the livestock kept at the farm and must be promptly adapted in reaction to the weather course during the growing season; this requires good planning of grazing and mowing, but also a certain flexibility

Strengths

  • Operating in a sustainable nutrient cycle, closed within the farm
  • Ulization and conservation of the leniently grazed larch pastures

 

Technological factors

Prerequisites/weaknesses

  • Efficient use of the existing equipment as well as targeted and cost-efficient investments
  • Machines, Tools
  • Conversion of a e-stall into a loose housing system (if necessary)
  • Effective barn drying method to ensure the achievement of a high forage quality
  • Efficient use of energy (for example no large-scale, but targeted use of overseeding), minimization of energy consumption (photovoltaic plant is an advantage)

Strengths

  • Consumption of the agricultural fuel was approximately the half of the quantity of the price-reduced fuel, provided by the law (UMA)

 

Legal factors

Prerequisites/weaknesses

  • The area covered by the larch trees is deducted from the payments due for grazing the larch pasture

 

Political factors

Prerequisites/weaknesses

  • Support of the local media is desirable

 

What the innovator says
about his innovation


Would you do it again?

The farmer answered to this question with “yes”. He would do it again, because he is convinced of the ecologically sound operation mode with a closed nutrient cycle within the farm.

The operation mode fits well to the local, small-structured situation and is well combinable with a part-me job.

 

What would you do differently?

The farmer wouldn’t do anything different. It’s his wish for the future to invest more me into the management of the forest which is part of the farm.

 

Would there be enough market available in your village for three other farmers implementing your innovation?

Yes, principally the potential exists, as the market for organically produced meat is growing.

Prerequisites are the organic farming as well as the guaranteed purchase of the production by the customer. Suckler cow husbandry represents a good alternative to the traditional dairy farming.

Additional information

Farming system

organic farming

Domains of innovation

grazing management system, marketing

Main types of animal

beef cattle

Country

Italy

Product type

Innovation analysis

Language

English, German

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