Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 549564
Title Structural characteristics of organic dairy farms in four European countries and their association with the implementation of animal health plans
Author(s) Blanco-Penedo, Isabel; Sjöström, Karin; Jones, Philip; Krieger, Margret; Duval, Julie; Soest, Felix van; Sundrum, Albert; Emanuelson, Ulf
Source Agricultural Systems 173 (2019). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 244 - 253.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2019.03.008
Department(s) Business Economics
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Keyword(s) Animal health, farm typologies - Cluster analysis - Multiple correspondence analysis - Organic dairy system - Tailored advisory services
Abstract

The aim of the present study was to classify the diversity of organic dairy farms in four European countries according to their structural characteristics and investigate the association of these farm types with implementation of herd health plans. A Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA), followed by Agglomerative Hierarchical Clustering (AHC), was used to classify the farms. Data for the analysis came from a survey of 192 organic farms from France, Germany, Spain and Sweden and contained farm and farmer descriptions from which the typologies were derived. Herd health plans was agreed for each farm, via a participatory approach involving the farmers, their veterinarians and other advisors (e.g. dairy advisors) by the use of an impact matrix. The MCA yielded two principal component axes explaining 51.3% of variance. Three farm groups were identified by AHC using the factor scores derived from the MCA. Cluster 1, the most numerous group (56.7% of the sample), had medium herd sizes with moderate use of pasture and moderate intensity of input use. Cluster 2, representing 17.7% of the sample, were the most extensive system and mainly of very small farm size. Cluster 3 (25.5% of the sample and only found in Sweden), had an intensive management approach, but relatively low stocking rate. The analysis also showed that organic dairy farms adopted differentiated strategies towards economic assets and animal health status, according to group membership. The typology therefore provides insights into the potential for advisory strategies relating to husbandry practices, different housing, pasture management and intensity, etc. adapted to different groups of farms. Regarding herd health plan implementation, Cluster 1 was the group with most implemented actions and Cluster 2 with lowest rate of implemented actions. These results may be used as background for directing (tailored) advice strategies, i.e. different types of organic dairy farms (clusters) may require different types of advisory services and recommendations adapted to the specific farm situation in order to deliver future improvements in animal health.

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