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Book of Abstracts

11th IFOAM
Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996
Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract front page
Subject index
Athor index


Management routines in Danish organic dairy herds S6

Vaarst, Mette

Department of Animal Health and Welfare, Danish Institute of Animal Science, Research Centre Foulum, P.O.Box 39, Dk-8830 Tjele

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One of the fundamental goals in organic farming systems is to ensure a high level of animal welfare. Within the framework of the legislation rules, however, the organic herd can be managed in many different ways. Herd specific management routines are developed mainly on background of practical conditions, single cow characteristics, experiences, and goals of the stock person. Epidemiological studies in a number of organic herds showed wide variation with regard to health status and disease problems. Risk factors were described in multivariable regression models. `Herd included into the models as a fixed effect was a strong risk factor in most analyses. These herd specific characteristics were built of a complex pattern of management routines and the individual stock persons criteria for intervening in a given situation, e.g. a calving or a disease case. Management routines were described with regard to milking, calving, disease treatment and daily exercise. Three different types of interaction between man and animal and/or herd were described:

1) Passive management routines. Routines applied on whole herd level, regardless of the results of the herd.

2) Active management routines. Context dependent management routines that were strongly related to the stock persons observations within the herd as well as to the results of the herd. That is, a direct response to a given situation. In many cases, active management routines were applied intuitively and `sub-consciously in accordance with the stock persons own experiences and observation of the situation.

3) Taking care routines, which were applied to single animals, groups of animals, or the herd in order to support their well-being in general. They were very often little actions that were inherited from former generations of farmers or colleagues, or specific routines shown to have an effect in this particular herd environment. They were often actions without documentated effect seen from a natural science point of view.