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Title: From evaluating sustainability performance to supporting agricultural management: case of intensive grazing versus zero-grazing dairy systems
Authors: Meul, Marijke
Marchand, F.
Fremaut, D.
Haesaert, G.
Issue Date: 2012
Source: 10th European IFSA Symposium, Aarhus, Denmark, 1-4 July 2012
Abstract: We performed an integrated evaluation of the sustainability performance of 10 intensive grazing and 10 zero-grazing specialised Flemish dairy farms, using a selection of sustainability indicators from MOTIFS(Monitoring Tool for Integrated Farm Sustainability). We put special effort in formulating useful management advice for farmers of both groups. Therefore, we used multiple regression to identify the most influential factors(independent variables) for each inicator value(dependent variable)and, through correlation analysis, related the selected factors to specific farm management indicators such as farm intensity or concentrate use; they were used to formulate general management advice. More detailed site- and case specifi advice was delivered to the 20 participating farmers through an extended feedback report including a detailed representation of the MOTIFS results and comparison of the farm results to the means of the grazing and zero-grazing group. Afterwards, all farmers were invited to participate in a discussion group with the researchers, farm advisors and an invited expert. Through this approach, we adressed the suggestions made in previous validation studies of MOTIFS (i) to combine a detailed analysis of the sustainability indicator values with an intensive interaction between researchers and farm advisors and (ii) to support social learning among farmers through a discussion meeting with an invited expert. This allowed us to focus on the essential farm management aspects with the highest potential to increase farm sustainability and to provide a better translation of the indicator results into practical advice for farmers.
Keywords: sustainability performance; management advice; intensive grazing; zero-grazing; dairy systems; Flanders; MOTIFS
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Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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