IMPRO - improve health status in organic dairy farming

Last changed: 11 August 2017

IMPRO – Impact matrix analysis and cost-benefit calculations to improve management practices regarding health status in organic dairy farming

Consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive about health and welfare problems in commercial livestock production systems. They expect their food to be produced with greater respect for the needs of farm animals. Organic farming is often directly associated with an enhanced level of animal health and welfare. However, animal health status in organic dairy farming does not in all respect meet consumers’ expectations. Improvements are crucial to support consumers’ confidence and their willingness to pay premium prices. These are urgently needed to cover the higher production costs. Previous herd health planning concepts have prepared the ground for further advancements. However, recommended measures are often implemented only to an unsatisfactory degree, differing widely between farms, and resulting in an improper animal health status.

The IMPRO project aims to substantially overcome weak points in current health management strategies on organic dairy farms and to increase the implementation of evidence based measures and to improve practice of health management. This will be achieved by a multidisciplinary and participatory approach to develop farm specific solutions regarding preventive measures and early treatment strategies.

The overall aims of IMPRO are to:

  • develop a participatory and farm-centric diagnostic tool for a sound diagnostic procedure at the farm level, enabling the identification of the likely most effective measures to improve health,
  • evaluate farm-specific costs and benefits of recommended measures, to optimise farm-specific allocation of available resources, and to emerge incentives for health improvements,
  • examine the motivation and attitudes of the stakeholders (farmer, advisor, and veterinarian) directly involved in health management practice,
  • elaborate reference values for an achievable minimum standard with respect to animal health status,
  • develop a pro-active monitoring protocol adapted to organic dairy herds aiming for improved effectiveness of preventive and treatment strategies,
  • assess the manageability of alternative treatments according to the state-of-art,
  • develop a software-based tool including health monitoring, farm diagnostics‟ procedures, cost-benefit calculation, and break-even analysis,
  • expansively disseminate the results of the project to farmers, veterinarians and other stakeholders. See

Financier: EU/FP7
Collaborator: University of Kassel, Veterinary School of Nantes, Wageningen University, Institut de Recerca i Tecnología Agroalimentàries, Data Service Paretz GmbH, University of Reading.