Developing robust and economically viable models for cow-calf suckling in organic dairy systems, fulfilling high standards for animal health, welfare and ethics.

\r\n\tDevelop the design elements of an &#34;ideal&#34; organic rearing system for dairy and meat production calves 0-12 weeks of age (combined dairy and meat production), with special reference to naturalness, animal health, welfare and ethics, robustness and economic viability, and investigate consumer attitudes and possibilities for marketing of extra value-products from these such systems such as animal welfare.<br />\r\n\t<br />\r\n\tThis will be done by probing the perspectives of five stakeholders: producers, the organic movement, the consumer, the cow and the young calf.<br />\r\n\t<br />\r\n\tSub-goals, in relation to the different stakeholders:<br />\r\n\tI. The producer: The main aims will be to describe experiences and common practices used by organic producers with different calf rearing systems, focusing on cow-calf contact, as well as key producer values and concerns. We will also evaluate the economic performance of farms with different rearing systems.<br />\r\n\tII. The organic movement: The main aims will be to analyze the relevant principles and philosophy of organic farming and discuss how these apply to the design of an “ideal” rearing system for organic calves, with special reference to concepts like “animal welfare”, &#34;naturalness&#34; and “natural behaviour”.<br />\r\n\tIII. The consumer: The main aims will be to determine what consumers value in various production methods (e.g. natural cow-calf interactions, calf health, anti-biotic free meat), and compare these values to those of the producers and the organic movement. A secondary aim will be to determine which product attributes or production methods are sufficiently important that consumers are willing to pay a premium.<br />\r\n\tIV. The cow: The main aims will be to measure how cow health and well-being is affected by the variation in practices typical in organic production (e.g. early versus later separation; methods of separation, health benefits from prolonged nursing).<br />\r\n\tV. The calf: The main aims will be to measure how calf health and well-being is affected by the variation in practices typical in organic production (e.g., does prolonged contact with the cow accentuate the distress response when calves are eventually separated; do calves benefit in other ways from continued contact; how can separation distress and distress associated with weaning from milk be reduced using management procedures such as fence-line weaning and creep-grazing)?


NFR Prosjekter
Samfunnsøkonomi, Klinisk veterinærmedisinske fag