Grazing management with suckler cows and regional marketing of beef products

Description

The organic farmer of the “Schornhof” keeps suckler cows and beef cattle of the races Grauvieh and Original Braunvieh on his dairy cattle farm since 2006. The cattle are kept on hay meadows and on ecologically valuable, extensive pastures without import of off-farm forage. The practiced grazing management system is a flexible rotational stocking. The agricultural area of the farm is 50 ha, of which 24 ha are used for forage production, consisting of 11.4 ha leniently grazed larch pastures (no fertilisation additionally to the animal dung) and 12.6 ha grassland combining mowing (1-2 cuts) and grazing. The animals are grazing from the end of April until the middle/end of October. In this period, they do not receive any additional forage. In the winter months, they only get hay from the own meadows. Breeds suitable for a grazing management on moderately steep slopes are crossed with a beef breed for meat production.

The meat of the 16 fattened oxes and -heifers is marketed under the regional label “BioBeef”. The marketing is done by the cooperative “Bioregio”, a group of 23 South Tyrolean organic mountain-farmers, conducting suckler cow keeping. The beef is slaughtered a6er 10-11 months by a butcher and divided up into mixed meat packages. The main customers of this packages are private persons, hosting companies and public facilities. The silage-free feeding with only hay is a
mandatory criterion for the cooperative members.

Reason for the innovation

  • Processing products (pasture-based meat)
  • Short marketi ng chain
  • Curiosity in the subject/technique, personal moti vati on about seeking for a nutrient cycle closed within the farm

Farm description

Environment

  • Main soil types: sandy loam, limestone
  • Climate: temperate continental climate
  • Average al titude (m a.s.l.): 1400
  • Average slope (%): 17

Grassland management

  • Grazing: Yes, parally combined with cut use
  • Grazing management type: flexible rotational stocking
  • Grazing dura tion (months/year): 6
  • Number of cuts on mowed areas: 1-2 cuts/year
  • Forage conserva tion type: hay
  • Average ferti lisa tion rate: ᴓ 96 kg N/ha; slurry in the areas surrounding the farm buildings; only animal dung on the ecologically valuable, extensive pastures

Structure

  • Annual Work Unit: 1.5
  • Agricultural Area (ha UAA): 24 ha
    • 11.4 ha pasture
    • 12.6 ha mowed pasture
    • 0.05 ha arable land (vegetables, crops, potatoes)

Animal performance

  • Breed name: Grauvieh, Original Braunvieh, Limousin (bull)
  • Total Livestock Unit (LU): 27
  • Average stocking rate (LU/ha UAA): 1.1
  • Average acquisi tion rate roughage: 0%

Why it is working

The whole family shares the aim of a sustainable, closed nutrient cycle within the farm.

The farm fulfils the requirements for grazing management (size and topographic features, water supply on the grazing areas) and uses animal breeds suitable for grazing under the given farm conditions.

Additional information

Farming system

organic farming

Domains of innovation

grazing management system, marketing

Main types of animal

beef cattle

Country

Italy

Product type

Farmer portrait

Language

English, German

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