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May 2005 No. 2

Contents


Results and updates

First Delphi Expert Survey on organic food processing

Report on organic rodent control strategies


QLIF Congress 2005

Health in focus

Consumer issues

Product quality and health

Crop production system

Livestock production system

Processing strategies


Related projects

Organic HACCP

Blight MOP


QLIF Notes

Congress in DK 2006

PhD summer school

PhD seminar on soil quality

Vacancies

ENVIRFOOD seminar


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Livestock Production System

The importance of animal welfare needs

Husbandry and feeding regimes

Beef and sheep
Trace elements and livestock health

Changes in feed regulations - impact on organic beef and sheep production systems

Pigs
Challenges in the nutrition of organic pigs

Effect of breed and husbandry system on performance and carcass quality of organic growing pigs

Effect of breed on sow performance in organic systems

Effect of breed and husbandry system on quality of meat and meat products from organic pigs

Lupins as an alternative protein source for livestock production - LISA project

Dairy
Sustainable organic milk production - the challenges

Extensifying dairy production system in Northern Europe

Poultry
Developments and problems in organic poultry husbandry and feeding

The Viability of 100% Organic Rations for Organic Table Birds

Management data and organic feed for poultry

Ethological investigation on moulting laying hens in organic farming

Improving health management

Beef and sheep parasites
Roundworm control in organic sheep and cattle

Dosing regimes for the treatment and control of roundworm in sheep

Pigs and enteric pathogens
Salmonella and Campylobacter in wild rodents and insectivores on organic livestock farms

Mastitis in dairy cows
Mastitis control in organic dairy herd - strategy components

Health and welfare assessment and benchmarking - a farmer’s perspective

Non-antibiotic strategy in organic dairy farming as a bridge between animal health and human health

Poultry disease and parasites
Strategies for parasite control in organic layer flocks

Stimulating health in organic laying hens

Herbs as growth promotors, microflora regulator, digestive enhancers and immunomodulator


The importance of animal welfare needs

Hans Spoolder

The concept of farm animal welfare can, for practical purposes, be translated into the so-called Five Freedoms (FAWC, 1993). Organic farming aims to meet animal welfare needs, and should therefore comply with these freedoms. The first Freedom, from hunger and thirst, is met in any system properly managed to organic standards. The Freedom from fear and distress is supported by e.g. extra (social) space. The Freedom from thermal and physical discomfort is challenged, as organic husbandry systems face more climatic extremes. However, they also provide more ‘control’ to the animal by offering a choice when seeking warmth or a cool place to lie. The Freedom to express normal behaviour is met through environmental enrichment and group housing. The final and most complicated one is the Freedom from pain, injury and disease. Organic farming virtually bans mutilations (e.g. de-beaking, tail docking) although some are still allowed and practiced (e.g. castration). Organic animals are more exposed to wildlife and at risk of contracting infectious diseases. Also, there is a risk that lack of preventive allopathic medication may result in more health problems. However, it is possible (although not proven), that organically managed animals are more resistant to illness. Later weaned piglets are better equipped for disease challenges, there are few metabolic problems in organic dairy herds (Klink et al., 1995) and slow growing broilers have stronger legs in relation to their body weight (Bokkers and Koene, 2003). In conclusion, if animal health can be maintained, organic farming is well placed to provide good welfare. This obviously benefits the animals, but there is also evidence that this may result in better quality products (e.g. more CLA’s in milk of pastured animals and less Salmonella in slow growing poultry meat (Wolf-Reuter et al., 2002)) making the pursuit of welfare friendly farming extra worthwhile.

References
Farm Animal Welfare Council, 1993. Second report on the priorities for research and development in farm animal welfare. MAFF, Tolworth

Bokkers, E.A.M., Koene, P., (2003). Behaviour of fast- and slow growing broilers to 12 weeks of age and the physical consequences. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 81: 59-72

Klink van, E.G.M., Ruyter, W.G. de, Spijkens, C.D.B. and Ham, P.W.M. van, 1995. Animal health on organic dairy farms [Diergezondheid op biologische melkveebedrijven], Tijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde 120: 144-146

Source
PLENARY SESSION: Animal health and Human health, Lecture 9

Related to QLIF Subproject 4



Husbandry and feeding regimes

Tracing health - the relationship between trace elements and livestock health

C. Wannop & T. Stockdale, Castle Creavie Rural Consultants, UK

Trace elements have often been regarded as of minor relevance, mainly for delicate crops and pampered pets. However more recently individuals are recognising that the health of both plants and livestock are dependant on a regular supply of trace elements, both to the plant to ensure that it is able to resist attack by fungal and some parasites. The animal is dependant upon trace elements to ensure that its immune system is able to withstand challenges of today’s agricultural management demands. This paper discusses these aspects and goes on to look at antagonistic relationships and what hinders trace element uptake from the soil. We question both accepted fertiliser recommendations and traditional soil pH analysis. This is particularly so in the west of the country and where soils are thin and rainfall is high. In addition, we discuss the importance of trace elements during pregnancy and why a continuous supply of trace elements is needed for the developing foetus.

The benefits of traditional and organic systems are outlined with regard to the availability of trace elements.

The relationships of macro and micro elements within the soil are discussed and conclusions drawn with some recommendations on how to ensure that livestock health can be improved and maintained.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 26: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Beef and Sheep, Talk 1



Impact of changes in feed regulations on organic beef and sheep production systems

Gillian Butler, Nafferton Ecological Farming Group, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

The organic ideal might be to aim for total self sufficiency on every farm, which can reduce livestock production costs, but this is not always an option, especially in marginal areas where concentrate supplements have traditionally been bought in the absence of land that can be cultivated. This paper considers options open to UK livestock producers which could minimise the financial impact on businesses when this bought in feed has to be fully organic after August 2005.

For cattle and sheep production the majority of stock diets, for most of the year, will be perfectly adequate using grazed or conserved forage although there are key times in production cycle when certain stock need a top up with more concentrated feeds, (which in the recent past may have include a small proportion of ‘permitted non organic feeds’). The most likely time to supplement forage is; late pregnancy for ewes, especially those with twin or triplet pregnancies, autumn calving suckler cows until safely in calf again, and growing cattle and sheep in the later stages of finishing. The need for supplementation is influenced by the expected level of performance and the quality of forage and in all cases; supplementation can be diminished by; possibly lowering performance or improving forage quality. Simultaneously, there is often potential to reduce the cost of any supplementation that is necessary – all improving viability of production systems on 100% organic diets.

On face value, the loss of the feed derogation will undoubtedly increase diet costs but there is much that can be done to minimise this impact. This paper will cite examples of farms using good quality forage and other UK sourced organic feeds, in all of the above situations, along with guidelines for practical organic diets for cattle and sheep.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 26: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Beef and Sheep, Talk 2

Related to QLIF WP 2.2 (2.2.1)



Challenges in the nutrition of organic pigs

Werner Zollitsch

Similar to conventional pig industry, the goals for organic pig production include homogeneous carcases within a narrow range of weight, with a relatively high lean meat percentage and adipose tissue of a certain consistency. These production goals can be met only if the production process is fairly standardized and controlled and if the necessary inputs are available.

However, if monogastric livestock such as pigs are integrated into an organic farming system, certain nutritional inputs may be scarce. For most circumstances, balancing supply and requirements of essential amino acids is the most critical factor. Due to this, highly digestible feedstuffs containing high amounts of potentially limiting amino acids are imported into the system. The use of modern, high potential-genotypes and a growing economic pressure increase the demand for feedstuffs of high nutritional value.

Nutritional deficiencies may result in a low level of animal health and welfare besides a decreased performance. This especially applies to young, growing pigs and lactating sows. If these deficiencies shall not increase further after the ban of conventional protein supplements by August 2005, feeding strategies must be developed which take into account the conditions of the specific organic system. Basically, three options are available: 1) diets based on grains and grain legumes produced on the farm and supplemented with external protein feedstuffs such as certain by-products; 2) incorporation of maximum amounts of grain legumes produced on farm, accepting a relatively unbalanced dietary amino acid pattern; 3) maximum use of "unconventional" feedstuffs such as by-products as a contribution to intact nutrient cycles. These strategies will face different limitations and therefore need different measures if they shall be implemented successfully.

References
Sundrum, A., L. Bütfering, M. Henning and K.-H. Hoppenbrock (2000): Organic pig production and carcass quality. J. Animal Sci. 78: 1199-1205.

Wlcek, S. and W. Zollitsch (2004): Sustainable pig nutrition in organic farming: by-products from food processing as a feed resource? Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 19: 159-167.

Zollitsch, W., T. Kristensen, C. Krutzinna, F. MacNaeidhe and D. Younie (2004): Feeding for Health and Welfare: the Challenge of Formulating Well-balanced Rations in Organic Livestock Production. In: Vaarst, M., S. Roderick, V. Lund and W. Lockeretz (edts.), Animal Health and Welfare in Organic Agriculture. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK. 329-349.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 27: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Pigs, Talk 1

Related to QLIF WP 4.4 (4.4.3)



The effect of breed and husbandry system on performance and carcass quality of organic growing pigs

S. A. Edwards et al., University of Newcastle, UK

The study compared performance and carcass quality of progeny from three maternal breed types which were kept either at pasture or in housing with an outdoor run and offered ad libitum concentrate, either alone or with fodder beet or grass/clover silage as additional forage. The sow breeds were “traditional” (Saddleback), “crossbred traditional” (Saddleback x Duroc), or “modern” (Camborough 12), and were all bred by Duroc boars. Each of the 18 treatment combinations was replicated in four groups of growing pigs from shortly after weaning (start weight 30 kg) until slaughter at a mean weight of 90 kg. Liveweight gain, feed intake and the proportion of intake comprised by the forages did not differ between genotypes. Carcass backfat thickness (P2) was lower for C12 progeny, and highest for the progeny of the traditional purebred (C12=11.4, S=14.3, SD=13.4, sem=0.27 mm, P<0.001). Under conditions where a cereal-based concentrate was available ad libitum, intake of the forage supplements was very low. Fresh weight intakes over the whole period averaged only 0.12 kg/day for the silage and 0.16 kg/day for the fodder beet (<2% of total dry matter intake). Although growth rate did not differ between housing systems, feed intake was increased for outdoor animals (OUT=2.47, IN=2.22, sem=0.05 kg meal equivalent per day, P<0.001), resulting in a significant deterioration in feed conversion efficiency (P<0.01). Paddocked animals, with grazing available, consumed a smaller proportion of their daily intake from the additional forages, and had a higher killing-out percentage. Carcass backfat thickness did not differ between finishing systems.

This work was funded by Defra (project OF0169) with additional contributions from PIC and Tesco.

References
Martins, A., Kelly, H., Day, J. E. L., Stopes, C., Browning, H., Edwards, S. (2002). Optimising organic pig production. A guide to good practice. ADAS Consulting Ltd, Terrington. 40pp.

Kelly, H.R.C., Browning, H.M., Martins, A.P., Pearce, G.P., Stopes, C., Edwards SA. (2005). The effect of breed on sow performance in organic systems. Congress on Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health, Newcastle (submitted)

Kelly, H.R.C., Browning, H.M., Martins, A.P., Pearce, G.P., Stopes, C., Leifert, C., Edwards SA. (2005). The effect of breed and husbandry system on quality of meat and meat products from organic pigs. Congress on Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health, Newcastle (submitted)

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 27: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Pigs, Talk 2

Related to QLIF WP 4.3 & 2.2 (2.2.1)



The effect of breed on sow performance in organic systems

S. A. Edwards et al., University of Newcastle, UK

The study compared maternal performance of three breed types: “traditional” (Saddleback), “crossbred traditional” (Saddleback x Duroc), or “modern” (Camborough 12). Twenty gilts of each genotype were introduced contemporaneously over 4-6 months on each of two commercial organic farms. They received standard feeding and management according to the farm’s normal commercial practice. All sows were served using the same cohort of Duroc boars, with individual sires balanced across genotypes. Reproductive performance and health were recorded over 4 parities. No genotype showed a greater incidence of health or welfare problems when managed to organic standards, with a similar proportion of sows successfully completing 4 parities (88-90%). Mean total litter size at birth was significantly greater for the C12 genotype (C12=11.5, S=10.7, SD=10.4, sem=0.25, P<0.01), as was the number of stillborn piglets per litter (C12=0.8, S=0.3, SD=0.6, sem=0.08, P<0.001). Total piglet losses during lactation were greatest for the more prolific, modern genotype (C12=1.9, S=1.2, SD=1.5, SEM=0.15, P<0.01). The net effect on the number of piglets weaned at 60 days of age favoured the traditional Saddleback (C12=8.4, S=9.1, SD=8.0, sem=0.24, P<0.01), but this was offset by a slightly longer farrowing interval (C12=194, S=200, SD=185, sem=3.6 days, P<0.05), giving similar annual piglet output from the three genotypes. These results confirm the greater prolificacy of the modern hybrid and the better maternal behaviour characteristics of the traditional Saddleback. They indicate that all three genetic strategies can be successful in organic production systems, and that choice of sow breed should depend on the ability of the farm to manage prolific sows.

This work was funded by Defra (project OF0169) with additional contributions from PIC and Tesco.

References
Martins, A., Kelly, H., Day, J. E. L., Stopes, C., Browning, H., Edwards, S. (2002). Optimising organic pig production. A guide to good practice. ADAS Consulting Ltd, Terrington. 40pp.

Kelly, H.R.C., Browning, H.M., Martins, A.P., Pearce, G.P., Stopes, C., Edwards SA. (2005). The effect of breed and husbandry system on performance and carcass quality of organic growing pigs

Congress on Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health, Newcastle (submitted)

Kelly, H.R.C., Browning, H.M., Martins, A.P., Pearce, G.P., Stopes, C., Leifert, C., Edwards SA. (2005). The effect of breed and husbandry system on quality of meat and meat products from organic pigs. Congress on Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health, Newcastle (submitted)

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 27: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Pigs, Poster 1

Related to QLIF WP 4.3



The effect of breed and husbandry system on quality of meat and meat products from organic pigs

S. A. Edwards et al., University of Newcastle, UK

The study compared performance and carcass quality of progeny from three maternal breed types which were kept either at pasture or in housing with an outdoor run and offered ad libitum concentrate, either alone or with fodder beet or grass/clover silage as additional forage. The sow breeds were “traditional” (Saddleback), “crossbred traditional” (Saddleback x Duroc), or “modern” (Camborough 12), and were all bred by Duroc boars. From each of the 18 treatment combinations two male and two female pigs provided a sample of fresh pork loin and a second pair of each gender provided meat which was used to produce bacon, ham and sausages according to the standard organic processing techniques of Eastbrook Farm Organic Meats. All samples were deep-frozen for subsequent organoleptic assessment by a trained taste panel of 10 assessors who scored a number of traits for each product on an 8-point scale, where low values signified low/weak/poor expression of the trait and high values signified high/strong/good expression. Overall, there were few significant treatment effects on product quality. In fresh pork all scores for ‘off aroma’ were low, but progeny of purebred Saddlebacks scored slightly higher for this trait (S=1.0, C12 & SD=0.7, sem=0.10, P<0.10) which might reflect their earlier maturity. Bacon from Saddlebacks was also scored as having darker colour (C12=4.8, S=5.5, SD=4.5, sem=0.26, P<0.01) and greater saltiness (C12=4.1, S=4.9, SD=4.1, sem=0.25, P<0.05), but no such differences were apparent in other processed products. No consistent positive or negative effects of housing and feeding system on product quality were found.

This work was funded by Defra (project OF0169) with additional contributions from PIC and Tesco.

References
Martins, A., Kelly, H., Day, J. E. L., Stopes, C., Browning, H., Edwards, S. (2002). Optimising organic pig production. A guide to good practice. ADAS Consulting Ltd, Terrington. 40pp.

Kelly, H.R.C., Browning, H.M., Martins, A.P., Pearce, G.P., Stopes, C., Edwards SA. (2005). The effect of breed on sow performance in organic systems. Congress on Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health, Newcastle (submitted)

Kelly, H.R.C., Browning, H.M., Martins, A.P., Pearce, G.P., Stopes, C., Edwards SA. (2005). The effect of breed and husbandry system on performance and carcass quality of organic growing pigs

§ Congress on Organic Farming, Food Quality and Human Health, Newcastle (submitted)

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 27: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Pigs, Poster 2

Related to QLIF WP 4.3 & 2.2 (2.2.1)



Developing lupins as an alternative protein source for livestock production in Northern Europe; the LISA project

R. Jones et al., IGER, Plas Gogerddan, UK

UK agriculture is faced with the need to reduce diffuse pollution, particularly of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), whilst remaining economically viable.

Spring lupins can provide a high protein grain of known provenance and source of oils and balanced energy for optimised ruminant and non-ruminant livestock production. Current information on the suitability of Lupins as livestock feeds will be discussed

Lupins also have the potential to increase the efficiency of N and P use in arable rotations and in mixed arable livestock systems.

This five year project is the first comprehensive evaluation of the benefits and dis-benefits of this crop for organic and conventional use in the UK. Comparisons with other grain legumes will analyse on farm nutrient budgets, feed utilisation, emissions from animal wastes and agronomic factors. Molecular markers for key traits will be identified and brought together as a ‘breeder’s toolkit’ available for lupin improvement.

References
Wilkins, R.J and Jones, R. (2000). Alternative home grown protein sources for ruminants in the United Kingdom. Animal Feed Science and Technology 85 23-32.

Lambert, H and Poot, P. (2003) Structure and functioning of cluster roots and plant responses to phosphate deficiency. Kluwer Academic Publishers Dordrecht. pp333

Strzetelski, J. Krawczyk, K. Kowalczyk, J. Osieglowski, S. Pustkowiak, H .,(2001) .Milk yield and Composition in cows fed rations with different energy and protein sources. Journal of Animal & Feed Sciences. 2001. 10: 4, 569-588.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 27: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Pigs, Talk 3



Sustainable organic milk production – the challenges

R. F. Weller & P. J. Bowling, IGER, Trawsgoed Research Farm, UK

In a Defra-funded project the long-term sustainability of an organic milk production system based on nutrient self-sufficiency is currently being studied. The parameters being evaluated include whole-system nutrient balances, crop energy output, plant mineral uptake, efficiency of feed conversion into milk, animal health and the quality of the milk marketed for both liquid consumption and processing.

The challenge of meeting the objective of 100% feed self-sufficiency has led to the establishment of a cropping rotation that includes different cereal species for grain production on 17% of the total land area to provide high-energy feed, with the total quantity of grain produced annually determining the level of concentrate feeding to the dairy cows. In addition different legumes, grasses, high-energy crops and herb species are being evaluated for forage production on the other 83% of the land area, with legumes contributing 92% of the total N-input to the system and all nutrients for crop growth supplied from resources within the system. Crop energy production (measured as Scandinavian Feed Units) is significantly higher from the forage crops compared with the energy production from the cereal grain crops. The nutrient balances for the system show an annual surplus of nitrogen that is lower than the majority of organic and conventional livestock farms (Kristensen & Kristensen, 1992). However, the annual balances for both phosphorus and potassium show an increasing deficit. Although the current mineral and trace element concentrations of the crops within the system are similar to those from either an organic livestock system reliant on the importation of high quantities of nutrients or from similar crops grown under conventional management (Whitehead, 2000), the longer-term implications are being studied, including the efficiency of nutrient uptake and the effect on the health and welfare of the dairy cow.

The system is based on very high-forage diets and a key challenge is to provide both sufficient feed energy during the early lactation period and the appropriate energy to protein balance throughout the year. Results to date show that a positive correlation between the energy density of the diets and milk persistency during lactation can only be achieved by the production of specific feed sources from within the crop rotation. Erratic feed protein supply during the year has led to new management strategies being implemented to increase the protein content of the forages conserved for the winter period and to reduce the surplus of protein in the herbage during the grazing season that has led to poor N-utilisation by the animal and increased environmental losses. Within the system a high proportion of the milk (>85%) is produced from forage, with the annual efficiency of feed conversion into milk ranging from 0.27 to 0.39 and the conversion of nitrogen into milk from the total N input into the system within the range of 0.15 to 0.25 reported by Aarts et al. (1992) and Kristensen & Kristensen (1992).

Producing high-quality milk for both the liquid market and processing is essential and the current results from the study show a significant relationship between the energy to protein balance of the diet, genetic potential of the dairy cow and stage of lactation. In the current study the relationship between the cow’s nutrient requirements and the nutritive quality of the diets fed has been found to influence the quality of the milk marketed from the system, with both the selection of appropriate crops within the rotation and the management strategy for feed allocation both critical factors. In addition the relationship has been found to affect both the health and welfare of the dairy cow, including the occurrence of sub-clinical health problems, reproductive efficiency and maintaining the appropriate body condition during the different stages of lactation.

References
Aarts, H.F.M., Biewinga, E.E. & Van Keulen, H. (1992). Dairy farming systems based on efficienct nutrient management. Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 40: 285-299.

Kristensen, E.S. & Kristensen, I.S. (1992). An analysis of nitrogen input, yield and loss in organic and conventional dairy farms in Denmark. Proceedings of the EC Workshop on the Potential and Limits of Organic Farming, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium 1992 (A. Peeters, A. & V. Van Bol, eds.). pp. 8-13. European Commission; Brussels, Belgium.

Whitehead, D.C. (2000). Nutrient elements in grassland: Soil-plant-animal relationships. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, Oxford, U.K.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 28: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Dairy, Talk 1



Extensifying dairy production system in maritime regions in Northern Europe; a way to improve profit margins, animal welfare, environmental impact and milk quality?

Buffy Wheatley et al.

Falling milk prices and EU/government intervention support have affected both organic and conventional production systems in Northern Europe. At the same time consumer demand for nutritional, environmental and ethical quality characteristics of foods has increased significantly. This has created extreme economic pressures on many dairy producers in Northern Europe, in particular in the UK, where the high British Pound has resulted in increased imports of milk and dairy products from Euro zone countries.

The paper will describe a business strategy developed and adapted by TWA Farmers to reduce costs (e.g. by introducing labour saving technologies and working practices) of production of milk while working towards satisfying consumer demands for more (i) environmentally friendly (e.g. by reducing stocking rates) and animal welfare focused (e.g. by breeding for smaller more resistant cross breeds) and (ii) milk with a higher nutritional value (e.g. by adapting a grass only feeding strategy). We will also describe the need recognised by the business to develop a diversified marketing strategy for milk produced by the business, and a wider product range, utilising the excess in manure based fertility now available on the farm.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 28: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Dairy, Talk 2



Current developments and problems in organic poultry husbandry and feeding

Werner Vogt-Kaute, Naturland e. V., Germany

In many parts of Europe conventional poultry production is a highly specialised, large scale, “industrial” process. Little transfer of knowledge/expertise from the conventional sector into the much smaller scale organic poultry production sector has been taken place. Insufficient knowledge transfer may have been one reason for some of the contradictory and questionable sections in the current organic poultry farming standards, e.g. EU-regulation 2092/91.

On the other side organic poultry husbandry is tighter regulated compared to that of other organic livestock groups. For example, there are limits for number of animals in a poultry house or standards for minimum age of slaughter.

Many problems in organic systems are associated with the choice of breeds available. The most dominant problem in laying hen systems are feather picking and cannibalism. Although significant difference were found between breeds in a one year comparison study of breeds, even the best breed available in Germany, “Lohmann tradition”, still showed unsatisfactory levels of feather picking and cannibalism. Some countries resort to cutting of beaks, but this is not appropriate under organic poultry standards.

Other challenges are associated with poultry husbandry: The provision of verandas has been introduced as an important component of organic poultry housing systems, which combines outdoor access and sanitary aspects. However, verandas are not yet mentioned in EU-poultry standards. Mobile housing systems have become more widely used and provide important benefits (e.g. for environmental, fertility, parasite and disease management), but in areas with strong winters they have often proved unsuitable for all year round use.

The provision of protein feeds (especially in completely organic diets) is another important problem. Many organic poultry diets currently contain maize gluten or potato protein as conventional components, with substitution in some diets by soybeans and soya cake. But soya based protein components are often imported from the America’s raising important environmental concerns (food/feed miles). The main aim in the development of organic diets therefore has to be to expand the production and inclusion of more locally produced, native organic protein components, such as grain legumes and oilcakes. Hydro-thermic and pressure-thermic methods can play an important part to reduce antinutritive substances in such feeds.

References
Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft (2002) Bavarian Random Sample Test for Layers in Floor Housing, Testing Period 2000/2001, Kitzingen, 2002, www.lfl-bayern.de

Dinzinger, L. and Kimmelmann S. (2003) Mit 120 PS den Platz wechseln (a mobile system with veranda for 1500 layers), In: Bayerisches Landwirtschaftliches Wochenblatt Nr 2/2003

Vogt-Kaute, W (2003) Qualitätssicherung bei der Geflügelfleisch- und Eiererzeugung nach den Vorgaben des ökologischen Landbaus (Securing quality of poultry meat and eggs in organic agriculture). In: Jahrbuch für die Geflügelwirtschaft, Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 29: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Poultry, Talk 1



The Viability of 100% Organic Rations for Organic Table Birds

J. O’Brien, Elm Farm Research Centre, UK

In August 2005 the current EU derogation that allows for the use of up to 20 percent non-organic component in the feed ration of broiler chickens (table birds) will be removed. As some ingredients currently being used within the 20 percent non-organic component of the ration may not be available from an organic source there are concerns that removing this derogation will impact on the nutritional quality of the ration, and result in poor animal health and welfare, as well as having an impact on performance, yield and quality of the final. There is however no evidence to support this at this stage.

Elm Farm Research Centre is currently running a series of trials utilising the organic silvo-poultry system was at Sheepdrove Organic Farm to investigate the impact of 100 percent of organic feed rations on the nutritional requirements, welfare, production traits and behaviour of table birds. Parallel to this, the performances of different breeds of table birds are being investigated. This paper will report the results from large and small scale trials. The evidence to date is that 100% organic rations can maintain productivity without any adverse nutritional, welfare or behavioural impacts and are compatible with commercial organic poultry production.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 29: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Poultry, Talk 2



Management data and producing organic feed for poultry

Ron Methorst & Renske Loefs, Agroeco

Organic poultry (layers) has shown a strong increase towards a total number of 500.000 layers at present. To increase the technical performance and knowledge exchange on management the Ekopluim project (headed by the Louis Bolk Institute) gathers and analyses data on production of 10 organic layer farms. The flocks taken into analysis vary in size form 1.200-12.000 birds (housed in groups of maximum 3000). These data will increase the awareness on management influences and will stimulate to develop the management according to organic principles.

Preliminary results show a large variance both between and within farms. All numbers below are based on the age of 68 weeks (starting from hatching). Number of eggs (per hen housed at the start of the cycle) range from 215-300 with most flocks at 250-260 eggs per hen. Mortality ranges from 6%-29%. Feed conversion ranges from 2,2-3,6 kg feed/kg eggs. At the congress the data will be further analysed and presented.

First impressions are that diseases and the appearance of feather pecking account for most of the variances observed. Especially feather pecking resulting in cannibalism causes high mortality and thus low performance. This problem has received and still receives high attention from researchers and poultry farmers.

Regarding feeding the focus of this sector in The Netherlands is on producing organic feed within the region/country to decrease the dependance on feed imports. An area of app 2000 ha is needed to produce half of the feed needed. It is estimated that at the moment app 750 ha is in use for growing organic (poultry)feed.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 29: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Poultry, Talk 3



Ethological investigation on moulting laying hens in organic farming

Veronika Maurer

Organic farmers mainly rely on the same hybrids, breeding techniques and production schemes as conventional egg producers. This includes annual replacement of laying hens. However, a longer life for laying hens is desired from an ethical point of view. Not only because the hens can be used for a longer period but also less male chicks would have to be killed at one day of age. A laying interval presents a recuperation period for the egg producing organs of the hen. In large flocks of laying hens moulting has to be induced to prevent social instability in the flock, this is often followed by cannibalism.

In this study, a method was investigated, to moult laying hens without too much stress for the hens. It included a reduction of the lighting period and some feeding restrictions whereas water was accessible ad libitum every day. The chosen method including daily access to a bad weather run had no negative effect on the behaviour of the hens. After the moulting phase, there was no more feather pecking than before and the other behavioural elements were also performed at the same frequency. The method succeeded in improving egg quality and plumage condition. It is therefore concluded that the positive effects of this moulting method justify the stress to which the hens are exposed.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 29: Husbandry and Feeding Regimes – Poultry, Talk 4

Related to QLIF WP 4.1 & 4.2



Improving health management

Roundworm control in organically managed sheep and cattle

R. Keatinge et al., ADAS Redesdale, UK

The standards for organic production emphasise preventive control strategies based on grazing management, appropriate breeding and good nutrition. The ultimate goal is to eliminate dependence on antiparasitic drugs, however this is rarely achieved in practice. Focussing on management, nutrition and novel crops, a defra-funded study (OF0185) combined epidemiological studies with replicated experiments in order to develop better systems of control applicable to UK organic farms. Five commercial organic farms (reflecting a range of production systems) were selected for in-depth epidemiological study, using standard techniques -including faecal egg counts, herbage larval counts and tracer animals, supported by management (grazing and veterinary records) and meteorological data. A programme of replicated experiments was conducted to assess the effects of novel crops e.g. chicory and Lotus on the pattern of parasitic gastroenteritis in grazing ewes and lambs. The grazing experiments were supported by small plot studies of pasture parasite ecology (larval development, survival and migration). Results from the study are presented to give a strategic overview of control methods appropriate to organic systems.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 31: Improving health management – Beef and Sheep parasites, Talk 1



A comparison of the efficacy of two dosing regimes for the treatment and control of roundworm in sheep

Ken Bairden, Scottish Agricultural College, UK

Sheep on an organic farming unit with a known benzimidazole resistance problem were used in a full season study to compare the efficacy of a single treatment at turnout of levamisole or moxidectin.

Twenty-eight lambs of mixed breed and sex were set stocked on a permanent sheep pasture from May to September 2004. Bodyweights were determined at turnout, mid season and end of season with faecal and herbage samples being monitored fortnightly.

The results in terms of weight gain and host/pasture parasite status are presented and discussed.

References
Hertzberg, H. and Meyer, A., 2001. Prevalence of benzimidazole resistant gastrointestinal nematodes of sheep and goats, 18th Int. Conference, WAAVP, Stresa, Italy)

Pye-Smith, C., 2003. Batteries not included, Organic farming and animal welfare, Soil Association, Bristol.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 31: Improving health management – Beef and Sheep parasites, Talk 2



Occurrence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in wild rodents and insectivores on organic livestock farms

Bastiaan G. Meerburg et al., Wageningen UR, The Netherlands

Wild small mammals (rodents & insectivores) are often seen as potential risks for transfer of zoonotic bacteria (e.g. Salmonella and Campylobacter) on livestock farms. In organic farming, risks may be larger because of two reasons. Firstly, organic livestock may go outdoors and therefore come into closer contact with small mammals. Secondly, organic farmers are less willing to use rodenticides, because it is not in compliance with their farming philosophy, although allowed by organic production rules. As yet, prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in small mammals on organic livestock farms has not been investigated and was therefore the purpose of our study. Small mammals were trapped on 10 organic livestock farms (9 pig farms, 1 broiler farm) using life traps between August and October 2004. In the laboratory, intestinal content samples were taken. Of the 282 samples taken, 9 were Campylobacter-positive. Only one Salmonella case was detected. All isolations were either in house mice (Mus Musculus, 83 animals caught, infection rates 9.6% for Campylobacter and 1.2% for Salmonella) or in Norway rat (Rattus Norvegicus, 8 animals caught, infection rate 12.5% for Campylobacter). In other rodent species and insectivores Salmonella or Campylobacter could not be detected. This difference may be caused by a distinction in key habitat of M. Musculus and R. Norvegicus compared to other species, as they live closer to livestock.

The results show that some rodent species can indeed carry Campylobacter and Salmonella.

Effective rodent control is therefore necessary on agricultural premises.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 32: Improving health management – Pigs and enteric pathogens, Talk 1

Related to QLIF WP 4.1



Strategy components mastitis control in organic dairy herds

Peter Klocke et al.

Since EU regulations provide a framework of a graduated herd health scheme detailed health control measures are to be elaborated for extensions services and veterinarians. Exemplary for all aspects of animal health, a strategy of udder health control in swiss organic dairy farms is presented. While in conventional strategies current health depressions can be regulated preliminary by using pharmaceutical products like antibiotics, the reduction of these drugs is a crucial concern of organic farmers. Thus, two major threads of strategies are preferred in organic mastitis control: specific organic herd level prevention measures and certain therapies minimizing usage of chemicals. These two threads are seen in respect to the EU Regulation 1804/99 and thus are implemented consecutively. The herd environment improvement (management, hygiene, feeding, and husbandry) is the precondition of the use of antibiotics free therapies. On the other hand, in the beginning of a herd health improvement programme it could be necessary to exceed antibiotic treatment level to provide a microbiologic charge decline within the animals. Furthermore untreatable cows have to be identified and culled, if necessary. After these basic measures antibiotic free treatment strategies (homeopathics, milking out, ointments, teat sealants etc.) can be successfully implemented. In different Projects in Germany and Switzerland these protocols are applied with long-term positive effects on herd udder health. The projects are presented. The lack of knowledge about the specific factors effecting udder health as well as the open question of most suitable therapies and dry off prevention strategies in organic dairy farms is the reason to conduct the mastitis work package within the QLIF project. These questions should be partially answered the next few years.

References
Notz C, Spranger, Jörg und Klocke, Peter (2003): Aufbau eines antibiotikaminimierten Eutergesundheitskonzeptes in Schweizerischen Biobetrieben nach Betriebssanierung. 7. Wissenschaftstagung zum ökologischen Landbau: Ökologischer Landbau der Zukunft, Wien, 24.-26. Februar 2003, pp. 281-284

Walkenhorst M, Notz C, Klocke P, Spranger J, Heil F (2004): Udder health concepts that comply with organic principles – how to reduce therapies?; Proceedings of the 2nd SAFO Workshop, Witzenhausen 25.-27.3.2004 (Germany); 71-76

Klocke P, Fidelak C, Garbe S, Rothe J, Paal K, Spranger J, Merck CC (2004): Are homeopathics able to replace antibiotics in the therapy of bovine mastitis? A placebo controlled randomized double-blind trial. Proc. of World Buiatrics Congress, Quebec (Canada), 11.-16.7.2004

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 33: Improving health management – Mastitis in dairy cows, Talk 1

Related to QLIF WP 4.5



Health and Welfare Assessment and Benchmarking : a farmer’s perspective

J. Burke & S. Roderick, Organic Studies Centre, Duchy College, UK

Comparative assessment of production performance has been activity used by many farmers. A protocol to apply this concept to health and welfare using animal based observations has been developed (Whay, H.R. et al. 2003). This type of assessment enables the identification of strengths and weaknesses and comparison between farms, thereby demonstrating what might be achieved and providing assistance to farmers and their veterinarians in the development of effective health and welfare plans. However, a survey of organic livestock advisors and inspectors recommended careful consideration regarding formal animal welfare assessment at farm level (Hovi, M. et al. 2003). Further, the success of welfare assessment in achieving enhanced welfare requires farmer ‘ownership’ of the process and the generation of results of use to the farmer as a management tool

Qualitative research interviews with organic dairy farmers who had participated in herd health and welfare assessment and benchmarking studies during the winter housing periods of 2002-03 (Burke, J. et al. 2004; Huxley, J.N. et al. 2003) and 2003-04 were conducted during August 2004. The interviews were recorded and transcribed and the data analysed to identify key cross cutting themes and provide descriptive analysis.

It was apparent that farmers, who took part voluntarily in the study, took the results of the herd health and welfare assessments very seriously and were clearly motivated by the process. Farmers’ responses to and the impact of the intervention on individual farming systems and dairy cow welfare will be discussed.

References
Whay, H.R., Main, D.C.J., Green, L.E. and Webster, A.F.J. 2003. Assessment of the welfare of dairy cattle using animal based measurements: direct observations and investigation of farm records. Veterinary Record 153. 197-202.

Hovi, M., Bennett, R., Kossiabati, M., Robertson, J., Edwards, S., Roderick, S. and Atkinson, C. 2003. Animal welfare in organic farming. Final report of a SEERAD funded research project. SEERAD 2003.

Burke, J., Roderick, S., Huxley, J.N., Whay, H.R. and Main, D.C.J. 2004. Health and welfare benchmarking as a tool for the development of dairy herd health plans on organic farms. In: Hopkins A. (ed.) Organic farming: science and practice for profitable livestock and cropping. Occasional Symposium of the British Grassland Society, 37, 153-156.

Huxley, J.N., Burke, J., Roderick, S., Main, D.C.J and Whay, H.R 2003. Herd health and welfare benchmarking on organic dairy farms in the south-west England. Cattle Practice, 11(4), 331-333.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 33: Improving health management – Mastitis in dairy cows, Talk 2



An explicit non-antibiotic strategy in organic dairy farming as a bridge between animal health and human health

Mette Vaarst et al., Danish Institute of Animal Science Foulum, Denmark.

Animals form an important part of many organic farming systems. Health and wellbeing should be promoted in each animal as well as on herd level and population level. We face potential conflicts and paradoxes within organic animal husbandry, as many drugs can be regarded as ‘artificial’ or ‘chemical products’. The use of chemical products is prohibited in all areas of the organic farm, except from the animal herd. From an animal welfare point of view, the justification for use of bio-medical treatment methods and medicine is that individual animals are not allowed to suffer from disease, and must be treated in a responsible way. From a human consumption and health point of view, improved animal welfare is expected compared to conventional herds, as well as no risk for medicine residuals or bacteria, which may either cause infection or may transfer antimicrobial resistance. In Denmark, a research project focuses on explicit non-antibiotic strategies, involving farmers who have actively expressed interest for phasing out antibiotics from their herds primarily through promotion of animal health. One way of reaching this goal is to form focused farmer groups in a so-called Farmer Field School approach, which is adopted from developing countries and adjusted to Danish conditions (eg bigger herds and well educated farmers). Experiences from forming these groups in two different projects in dairy herds are presented and discussed. The farmer field school approach is a valuable tool to promote health in cases, where complex farming situations are in focus, and problems can be identified and solutions proposed based on a context analysis oriented approach. The aim of this presentation is to present results and experiences from the farmer field schools as well as to discuss the concept of a non-antibiotic strategy in organic livestock production.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 33: Improving health management – Mastitis in dairy cows, Talk 3



Strategies for parasite control in organic layer flocks

Veronika Maurer

Internal and external parasites are among the major health problems in flocks of laying hens. According to the organic regulations, parasitic diseases have to be controlled by the selection of appropriate breeds, by husbandry and feeding practices and by treatments with natural compounds before chemically-synthesised antiparasitic treatments are allowed. In the case of external and internal parasites of poultry this demand is met to various degrees.

The chicken mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, is the most important external parasite of hens in Europe. The mite can be controlled by measures taken in the environment of the hens due to its temporary feeding behaviour. Mite populations can be substantially reduced by cleaning and disinfection of the houses between flocks. If necessary, mechanically acting substances are applied during the production cycle, and an acaricide of natural origin (pyrethrum) is available as a last option. In the future, the reliance on this acaricide/insecticide should be reduced, therefore new natural products are needed.

The situation in the case of internal parasites of laying hens is different. The control of the endoparasitic nematodes (mainly Ascaridia galli and Heterakis gallinarum) is almost entirely based on one registered anthelmintic (Flubendazole) in many EU countries. This compound is at present extensively used in organic egg production. Approaches to prevent and control gastrointestinal nematodes of poultry by proper run management and by the use of plant products are currently under development. However, these approaches are still less effective than in the control of parasites in ruminants.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 34: Improving health management – Poultry disease and parasites, Talk 1

Related to QLIF WP 4.1 & 4.2



Stimulating health in organic laying hens

Monique Bestman & Jan-Paul Wagenaar, Louis Bolk Instituut, The Netherlands

Because of the outbreak of Avian Influenza in the Netherlands (2003) there was a strong need for clear information about the importance and risks of a free-range area for poultry and how we should keep these risks to a minimum. Aims of these study (methods: literature and interviews) were to inform farmers, researchers and policymakers about how to get the organic and free-range farming practice as healthy (for chickens) and safe (for humans) as possible and to start new research together with farmers. Several recent studies showed a significant relation between the use of an outdoor run and feather pecking in laying hens, which is an indicator for the degree of welfare. If there is an outdoor run and the better it is used, the less feather pecking is seen. However, when compared to batteries, a higher mortality is seen in outdoor poultry (resp 5 and 15%), as well as a higher use of medicines. Because examples exist of organic farms performing well, it is not the system as such that causes problems. Breeding for general disease resistance is possible, though complicated. Moreover, we should look for possibilities in the field of developing the general immune system by bringing young chicks into well-controlled contact with micro organisms (hygiene theory). Example are administering gut flora to one-day-chicks, keeping young hens in contact with (healthy) older hens, providing compost, access to a free-range area at young age, feeding microbial fermented feeds, etc. This presentation covers some results from our literature study and a brief overview of our research.

References
Bestman, M.W.P. & J.P. Wagenaar (2003). Farm level factors associated with feather pecking in organic laying hens. Livestock Production Science 80: 133-140.

Bestman, M. (2004). Health in organic laying hens – facts and fairy tales. Proceedings of the 2nd SAFO Workshop 25-27 March, Witzenhausen, Germany.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 34: Improving health management – Poultry disease and parasites, Talk 2

Related to QLIF WP 4.5



Alternatives in animal nutrition: use of herbs as growth promotors, microflora regulator, digestive enhancers and immunomodulator

L. Mazuranok & C. Ionescu, Axiss, France

Herbs have been used traditionally for centuries as drugs. Nowadays, knowledge in analytical methods permits to identify the active components most of the time and standardise the used products.

Which type of activities have to be targeted ? Herbal medicines can be an efficient alternative in poultry as microflora regulator and performance enhancer. To have the wanted effects, it is important to know the used plants with their active principles and their effects. There is a wide range of activities. For example, phenols in essential oils and some monoterpen alcohols have antimicrobial effects when they are added at defined concentrations related to microbe species. But there is a resistance risk with this type of approach as with antibiotics, that’s why other effects have to be targeted. Plant extracts can protect microvilli via antioxidant effects (less peroxidation) to increase intestinal absorption surface. They can have also probiotic effects to obtain a better microflora equilibrium in Lactobacillus / pathogenic bacteria. In addition, plant extracts can be used as metabolism regulator and immunomodulator to improve animal well-being. They can promote a better digestion through the increase of digestive enzyme activities.

As a result of these different effects, plant extracts can improve performance with an increase of weight gain, feed conversion ratio, mean egg mass... They can also improve carcass quality and appearance through breast percentage, pigmentation... This efficacy should be standardised with a guaranteed inclusion level of active principles in the final feed. Moreover, it is essential to prove that the used products are natural.

References
Boullard B. 2001. Plantes médicinales du monde - Croyance et réalité. Paris.

Bruneton J. 1999. Pharmacognosie Phytochimie Plantes médicinales. Europe Media Duplication S.A., Paris.

Wichtl M and Anton R. 2003. Plantes thérapeutiques - Tradition, pratique officinale, science et thérapeutique - 2ème édition. Paris.

Source
TECHNICAL SEMINAR 34: Improving health management – Poultry disease and parasites, Talk 3