Potentially beneficial traits of Dutch rare breeds for agro-ecological farming Focus on biodiversity in agriculture in the Netherlands is increasing. At the request of The Dutch Rare Breed Society (SZH) a study on traits of Dutch rare and local livestock breeds that may be of added value in agro-ecological agriculture for cattle, sheep, goats and horses was performed. A variety of interviews with experts and farmers of rare breeds was used to identify impacts of these breeds on agricultural ecology, and ways in which these breeds can be used in agroecological farming systems. There are six rare Dutch cattle breeds plus one colour variety, twelve rare Dutch sheep breeds, four rare Dutch goat breeds and four rare Dutch horse breeds in the Netherlands. All holders mentioned specific characteristics of these breeds which make them more suitable for nature-friendly agriculture in comparison to global high production breeds in the Netherlands. Traits such as robustness (being able to cope with changing circumstances), better health, and being able to cope with variations in diet were mentioned for cattle, some sheep and goat breeds. Horse breeds are not used in food production. Rare local horse breeds are mainly characterized by a calmer character. These differences were confirmed by experts. There are opportunities for the use of rare Dutch farm animal breeds in agro-ecological agriculture. Knowledge gaps are identified for investigation in the future, such as high and low input comparisons and research for poultry and swine breeds.
|Name||Rapport / Wageningen University & Research, Wetenschapswinkel|