Farming strategies in organic dairy farming: Effects on breeding goal and choice of breed. An explorative study

W.J. Nauta, T. Baars, H.W. Saatkamp, D. Weenink, D. Roep

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Organic farming principles give rise to multifunctionality: different activities are combined at farm level to create ecological and economic synergies. These principles do however allow for different operationalisations and different farm development strategies, for example with regard to the use of external inputs or the decision whether or not to use advanced breeding technologies such as artificial insemination. Maintaining and improving diversity are therefore characteristic to organic farming. Since organic farming took off in the early 1990 s, many specialised dairy farms which tend to be more mono-functional in nature, have converted to organic, adding a new farming strategy to the diverse collection of farming strategies in organic dairy farming. All these farming strategies actually create different organic production environments for cows, which might result in different demands on selective breeding and breeding technology. This differential demand was explored in a survey, among 151 organic dairy farmers, on general farm strategy, milk production, breeding goal, choice of breed and approach to reproduction. Farmers were divided into one of two groups on each of three strategic options: a) diversification in farm business¿Specialised Dairy Farming vs. Multifunctional Farming; b) intensity of milk production¿Low Input vs. High Input Farming and c) naturalness of breeding¿Farming with Artificial Insemination vs. Farming with Natural Service
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-199
JournalLivestock Science
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • organic farming
  • dairy cattle
  • dairy farming
  • farming systems
  • breeding aims
  • breeds
  • crossbreeding
  • farmers
  • welfare
  • traits

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