Genetic improvement of livestock for organic farming systems

D. Boelling, A.F. Groen, P. Soerensen, P. Madsen, J. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Organic farming which experienced a constant rise over the last two decades is a system based on sustainability and on a concept tending towards functional integrity. Legislation as well as the wish to produce separately from conventional farming raise the question whether organic farming should be conducted completely apart from conventional farming or not. This paper discusses the aspects that affect animal breeding under these circumstances, e.g., maintaining genetic diversity by using local breeds and possible G X E interactions which might occur when breeds adapted to conventional farming systems are used in organic farming. Ways of modelling G X E are presented, moreover examples of G X E in dairy cattle, swine, and poultry are given. Trends in selection index theory-designing multi-trait breeding goals including functional traits on one hand, and developing methods for using customised selection indices on the other hand-support breeding work for organic farming systems. It is concluded that before the technical issues can be addressed, all parties involved, farmers, consumers as well as legislators, have to agree on the socio-cultural conditions under which organic farming should be conducted. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
JournalLivestock Production Science
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • milk-yield
  • environment interaction
  • holstein cattle
  • united-states
  • dairy-cattle
  • genotype
  • populations
  • selection
  • mexico

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