Designing complex and sustainable agricultural production systems: an integrated and reflexive approach for the case of table egg production in the Netherlands

  • P.W.G. Groot Koerkamp
  • A.P. Bos
Keywords: laying hens, naturalness, new husbandry concepts, reflexive interactive design (RIO), societal concern, structured design method, robustness

Abstract

The poultry sector in the Netherlands is confronted with the EU ban on conventional cages, the public debate on the welfare of hens in furnished cages, the limited perspectives of currently used more welfare-friendly single- or multi-tiered systems (either indoor or outdoor), and with questions about the natural behaviour of animals and the robustness of current production systems. To arrive at new and sustainable husbandry systems for laying hens a new design approach was developed and applied. The work-scheme of the approach consisted of four phases: (1) collecting information and network building, (2) a thorough analysis of problems followed by making strategic choices, (3) developing a structured design, and (4) reporting and communication. The approach incorporated interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder interactive methods, integrating scientific and tacit knowledge. The main results of the study were (1) a Brief of Requirements for the laying hen, the farmer and the citizen/consumer as key players in a sustainable development, and (2) two new attractive and feasible husbandry concepts for future egg production. The approach succeeded in identifying the underlying needs and requirements of actors, bridging the gap between seemingly conflicting requirements and stimulating new initiatives towards sustainable development.

Author Biographies

P.W.G. Groot Koerkamp
Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University and Research Centre, P.O. Box 65, NL-8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands & Farm Technology Group, Wageningen University and Research Centre, P.O. Box 17, NL-6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
A.P. Bos
Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University and Research Centre, P.O. Box 65, NL-8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands & Faculty of Humanities - Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Published
2008-03-10
Section
Papers