The CORE Organic Cofund project MIX-ENABLE aims to deepen our understanding of organic mixed livestock farming (i.e. integrating two or more animal species) in Europe, to find sustainable and robust forms of the production, and to propose improved strategies.
Integrating two or more animal species with crop production or agroforestry on a farm potentially provides various benefits, including more efficient pasture use and parasite management. However, most organic livestock farms are specialized and the few organic mixed livestock farms tend to display limited integration between farm components (crops, pastures and animals), i.e. limited interactions over space and time between these components. This limited integration may reduce the potential benefits of having more than one animal species. Therefore, the MIXENABLE project explores the conditions of sustainability and robustness of organic mixed livestock farms in Europe, especially the influence of integration between farm components on the aforementioned factors.
In this project, 10-30 farms per country has been surveyed to assess the level of integration between farm components. An indicator system for integrated assessment has been developed and applied to associate the sustainability and robustness of the surveyed farms with their level of integration among farm components. In parallel, farm-level experiments comparing specialized and mixed livestock production are conducted for the comparison of specific aspects of animal husbandry (e.g. pasture use or animal health). The obtained knowledge will be integrated into models that can simulate organic mixed livestock farm performances against climatic and economic variability.
The results will be communicated to practice and policy-makers to shed light on the potential of organic mixed livestock farms, and more specifically on the ways to manage these farms sustainably. Some results can be found on the project’s FaceBook page.
BOKU (Austria), CRAW (Belgium), FIBL (Switzerland), Forschungsring (Germany), IDELE (France) , ITAB (France), INRA (France), SLU (Sweden) , Thünen Institute (Germany), Tuscia University (Italy).
Coordinator of the project : Guillaume Martin, INRA, France