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Wit, J. de, U. Prins and T. Baars. 2006. Partner Farms; experiences with livestock farming system research to support intersectoral cooperation. p. 317-321. In: Proceedings of 6th Livestock Farming System Symposium, EAAP publication No. 118.

Number of pages: 4

Type of document: Conference Proceedings

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More information on authors/freelancers connected to LBI :
Udo Prins MSc.;
Jan de Wit MSc.


Language of document: English

Title in English: Partner Farms; experiences with livestock farming system research to support intersectoral cooperation

Abstract / summary in English:

For more than five years, the Louis Bolk Institute has been developing Partner Farms in cooperation with a growing number of, now more than 50, organic farmers. The Partner Farm concept, mixed farming at a distance, is aiming at the utilization of several advantages of mixed farming while retaining the farmer’s autonomy and specialized farm structure. While farming in the Netherlands is highly specialized, increased intersectoral cooperation is essential in organic agriculture as legislation concerning the use of inputs of non-organic origin is tightening. Experiences of the participatory action research developing the Partner Farm concept are summarized, particularly relating to the exchange value of organic manure and grass-clover production.
It is shown that Partner Farms are a viable possibility to increase intersectoral cooperation, particularly exchanging grass-clover as ruminant feed from arable farms with increasing amounts of animal manure from livestock farms. Organic concentrate production at arable farms in the Netherlands is hardly an option due to the low economic returns incurred, thus leaving organic pig and poultry farms little options than producing animal manure mainly on imported feed.
During the action research various development concepts emerged such as grass-clover derived N as a realistic alternative to the limitedly available manure-derived N, and animal manure being hardly used on grassland but mainly on arable land. These development concepts were not merely devised but technical, economical, practical and ethical implications were explored, thus producing results that are not only technically sound but also acceptable and applicable in organic agriculture. This was possible due to the simultaneous use of various research techniques in which farmers were closely involved in all stages of the research.