Economically viable and biodiversity-promoting milk production systems - is this even possible under the current framework conditions?
The GOBIOM project investigates what needs to be considered in this context and how it should be put into perspective. Among other things, it shows the complexity and multi-layered nature of the challenges and conditions in dairy production systems.
Along with being an important habitat for flora and fauna, grassland is the dominant land use in dairy production. There are certainly starting points for (more) biodiversity-friendly dairy farming, but always under the condition of profitability. At present, however, the pressure to operate a farm economically is predominant, which considerably restricts the farms' options for action. In addition, the success factors of classic dairy farms, such as milk yield or forage performance, are usually difficult to realise on low-yielding but often species-rich grassland. Pasture farming not only has a positive effect on biodiversity, but is also generally valued by consumers in accordance with the ideal of cows on pasture. In this respect, it represents a possible starting point that can offer economic advantages. Despite some existing incentives from dairies, food retailers or policymakers, e.g. for more biodiversity and/or sustainability, there is still considerable potential for development in this area. At present, however, there is a lack of practicable approaches and/or actual implementation.
Further project work will now have to concentrate on the aforementioned points for change in dairy production systems in order to initiate or support a paradigm shift.
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Contact persons at IfLS: Dr. Holger Pabst (pabst[at]ifls.de), Jörg Schramek (schramek[at]ifls.de)