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Wagenaar, J. 2012. Herbs in grassland and health of the dairy herd - Part 2: Using free-lists to explore farmers’ knowledge about herbs and cows health. Louis Bolk Instituut, Driebergen. 6 p.

Number of pages: 6

Type of document: Pamphlet / Brochure

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Related to: Herbs in grassland and health of dairy cattle

Dutch version

More information on authors/freelancers connected to LBI :
Jan-Paul Wagenaar MSc.


Language of document: English

Title in English: Herbs in grassland and health of the dairy herd - Part 2: Using free-lists to explore farmers’ knowledge about herbs and cows health

Abstract / summary in English:

In the period April - October 2011 the research project 'Herbs in grasslands and health of the dairy herd' was carried out by the Louis Bolk Institute. In this project the relation between pasture herbs and health of dairy cattle was studied on 22 dairy farms. Participating farmers expressed a special interest in the inclusion of pasture herbs in the cows' diet to promote the health of their dairy cattle. The extent to which today's dairy farmers have knowledge of how to use herbs towards animal health is unknown. This study explored the existing knowledge of farmers on herbs used for animal health using the free-lists method. Results show that farmers know a number of herbs in their pastures. However, they do not fully know the potential medicinal value of the present herbs. Closing the gap between what farmers know already (that there are many herbs in their pastures) and the existing information (which herbs can have beneficial effects on the health of their dairy cows), through extension services or information campaigns, could have an ample impact on the way the health of dairy cattle is achieved today and maintained in the future. To evaluate if their animals are healthy, farmers rely mostly on their 'eyes and experience' and less so on data which need to be measured with external devices. This suggests that Dutch dairy farmers possess a wide range of stockman ship skills.


Keywords in English: grassland, herbs, animal health
Herbs in grassland and health of   the dairy herd - Part 2: Using free-lists to explore farmers’ knowledge about herbs  and cows health