Lage krachtvoergiften en diergezondheid in de biologische melkveehouderij

R.L.G. Zom, E.A.A. Smolders

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


Organic dairy farmers have multiple reasons to choose a farm strategy with low concentrate input per unit of milk produced. First and foremost, concentrates and concentrate replacers of organic origin are expensive. Therefore, depending on the milk prices, concentrate feeding is often uneconomical. Some organic farmers have ideological reasons for a low concentrate input, they want to minimize the human food for animal feed competition as much as possible. Whereas in other situations, there is simply a lack of locally or regionally produced organic concentrates. Low concentrate inputs likely result in a reduced energy intake, thereby increasing the risk of a more severe negative energy balance (NEB) in high producing dairy cows. In the literature, a severe NEB is associated with metabolic disorders (e.g. ketosis, fatty liver), reduced fertility, immune suppression, and production diseases. These problems suggest that cows at dairy farms with a low concentrate input strategy (LCI) are probably at a greater risk for diseases associated with an NEB. However, this suggestion has not been verified with data from commercial organic farms. Therefore, a field study was conducted to investigate the farm management strategies, roughage quality, milk production, body condition score, animal health on organic farms that use a low concentrate input strategy (LCI) and to compare these data with other organic farms. The data were obtained from the “Weerstand” database, which contains information on farm characteristics, milk production, animal health, concentrate input, roughage quality, diets and body condition score (BCS) from 100 organic farms in the Netherlands. In our study, a farm was defined as a low concentrate input (LCI) farm when the concentrate input was less than 12 kg/100 kg milk produced. There were fifteen farms from the Weerstand database that met the definition of a LCI farm. These LCI farms were compared with a remainder group of other organic farms (OOF). Milk production on LCI was 6979 kg in 355 days, which was 750 kg lower than on OOF. The cows on LCI had a lower peak production (=3.5 kg/day), and a more persistent lactation curve. On both LCI and OOF, the cows were predominantly Holstein=Friesian. However, LCI farms had slightly more dual purpose breeds. The average BCS was slightly higher on LCI than on OOF. The LCI farms rely more on grazing, which resulted in a more seasonal= based production system with relatively more spring calving cows. The farm types did not different in the incidence of metabolic diseases and fertility rates, but LCI farms had slightly higher somatic cell count (20000 cells). The data indicate that a low concentrate input system on organic dairy farms does not necessarily result in more severe NEB or reduced animal health and fertility. The cows on LCI farms had a clearly lower peak yield and more persistent lactation curve. However, it is not clear if this is the result of feeding strategy or purposive selection and breeding. Further research on the effect of peak yield and persistency of the lactation curve should be initiated
Original languageDutch
Place of PublicationLelystad
PublisherASG veehouderij
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameRapport / Animal Sciences Group
PublisherASG Veehouderij
ISSN (Print)1570-8616


  • organic farming
  • dairy farming
  • animal nutrition
  • animal health
  • dietary minerals
  • forage quality

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