Mix-Enable

Project Facts

Date
01/04/2018 30/04/2021
Payment Mechanisms / Support

Core Organic Cofund + regional funds

Country
France
Region
West Europe
Site
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland
Contact

Guillaume MARTIN, project leader



Case overview/description

Main Challenges
Knowledge sharing, Improve sustainable livestock production, Sustainable grassland management
Starting point/ Challenges

Integrating two or more animal species with crop production or agroforestry on a farm potentially provide a large number of benefits (enhanced animal health, improved use of pastures, etc.). However, organic mixed livestock farms (OMLF) tend to specialize or display limited integration between farm components. The project will provide the organic sector with key insights about the features of the most sustainable and robust mixed livestock farms and innovative layouts of such farms.

Purpose/ Objectives addressed, Results expected

We aim to (i) characterize OMLF in Europe, especially their level of integration between farm components, (ii) assess their sustainability and robustness to adverse events, (iii) compare their performances with those of specialized farms, (iv) integrate the knowledge developed on OMLF into models that can simulate their performances against climatic and economic variability, (v) conduct farm-level experiments to generate knowledge about OMLF (to feed into the models) and (vi) co-design with farmers more sustainable and robust OMLF.
We analyze mixed livestock farms, focusing on integrations between enterprises (livestock enterprises btw them but also livestock enterprises with crops).  In Mix-Enable, Integration refers to the management of interactions over space and time between farm enterprises from the point of view of production, work and sales.

Type of Case
Research, Capacity building
Agroecological zone
Temperate
Land area size (km2)
7 european countries
Number of people
155 farmers, 10 research institutions
Land ownership
Private
Livestock system
Mixed farming
Livestock Type
Cattle, Goats, Horses, Other, Sheep
Comment livestock systems

Mixed livestock enterprises (of max. 3 species): dairy cattle and/or beef cattle and/or meat sheep and/or dairy sheep and/or pig and/or poultry and/or goat and/or horse

Operating environment

free market, european agricultural policy

Participants in the case/project

Scientist researchers, extension, farmers, universities/schools

Methods / Approaches applied to reach objectives

surveys on farm, indicators of sustainability and robustness, modelling, workshops, farm level experiments

Outcome/ Beneficiaries/ Issues

Sustainability regarding economic issues

We will inform farmers on the ways to manage mixed farms to reach economic sustainability regarding its inner and external characteristics.

Sustainability regarding social issues

We will inform about the impacts of integrations btw enterprises on farmer's workload.

Sustainability regarding ecological issues

We will review e.g. the impact of mixed livestock on environmental diversity

Knowledge Exchange

The project will target end-users through specific dissemination actions (WP6) including farmer field days, information sheets describing project results, videos presenting innovative, sustainable and robust farms, etc. Another important part of the dissemination process will be the farmer participation through surveys and workshops.
the project has a strong participatory component and involves organic farmer associations, chambers of agriculture, etc. Communication of the research outputs and outcomes will include information sheets summarizing the key features of the most sustainable and robust mixed livestock farms, decision trees displaying consistent combinations of practices, and a handbook of good practices for organic mixed livestock farming. We will also organize researcher exchange among partner countries to facilitate transnational knowledge transfer in the framework of farmer field schools. Dissemination actions, feedback provided by farmers and farm consultants, and innovative ideas will be continually reinjected in the project.

Key Conflicts / Problems

Conflicts/Problems identified at the first year: to standardise the methods at the european level, to find farmers willing to participate to the surveys, the duration of each survey on farm, 10 partners to collaborate and find commitments to go further.

Lessons learnt

Ongoing project

Research Gaps

We analyze mixed livestock farms, focusing on integrations between enterprises (livestock enterprises btw them but also livestock enterprises with crops).  In Mix-Enable, Integration refers to the management of interactions over space and time between farm enterprises from the point of view of production, work and sales.
Only few publications exist regarding impact of the level of integration btw enterprises on workload and economics.



Keywords

Mixed Livestock farm, Organic, diversified farms, diversification, integration, interaction, sale channels, work organisation

Source of information