ARGE Berg-Milchvieh

Further development of the husbandry systems for a future-oriented dairy-farming in mountain areas

Topic area
Agriculture and forestry, incl. value chain

Disaggregation level
Animal welfare
Alpine pasture management & mountain agriculture
EIP European Innovation Partnership

Project region
Upper Austria

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period
2019-2022 (geplantes Projektende)

Project costs overall

EN - 16.01.1. Unterstützung beim Aufbau & Betrieb operationeller Gruppen der EIP für lw. Produktivität & Nachhaltigkeit

Project initiator
ARGE Berg-Milchvieh

Short description

In the mountain areas in the western Federal Provinces of Austria up to 80 % of the dairy farms practice a type of husbandry which is a combination of pasturage, free-range farming, and temporary tethering. A reconstruction of the stable constitutes for small dairy farms in narrow mountain areas an enormous economic challenge. The project aims at supporting these holdings in two respects: On the one hand already implemented innovative solutions for stable reconstructions are well documented, processed, and made available as knowledge and experience. On the other hand, it shows holdings, where a reconstruction of the stable is not possible, alternative types of business development strategies.

Point of departure

About 70 % of the milk produced in Austria originates from small-scale dairy farms in mountain areas with an unfavourable starting position, such as a small number of cows, their location on a slope, or difficult climatic conditions. The majority of these farms keep their dairy cows in combination. Throughout the year, animals have the opportunity to move around freely and are fixed at certain times on stands with feeding, drinking and lying facilities. Most recently food retail chains, milk processing enterprises, and animal welfare associations have exerted increasingly pressure on these holdings to convert to loose housing stables. For example deadlines are fixed for the conversion to a loose housing stable, or higher allowances for branded milk are only paid to loose housing stable holdings any more, and also in the case of a combined type of husbandry the daily time for exercise is prescribed from now on. These requirements threaten the existence of numerous mountain farms, because firstly it is not always possible to build a loose housing stable in a narrow mountain area, and secondly, if there is enough space, there are no cheap, well-established standard solutions for mountain areas, as there are for lowland areas, so that the stables have to be planned and built individually for the respective holding. The project aims at supporting these dairy farms concerned in a targeted way.

Project implementation and measures

1. Systematic recording of 30 already implemented construction solutions by means of recording methods and documentation templates worked out
2. Assessment of these construction solutions as regards their animal welfare and emission risk potential, their sustainability and their potential in terms of business economics
3. Monitoring and documentation of 10 model farms in the course of the implementation of alternative types of business development
4. Preparation of a construction brochure and of a brochure on alternative types of business development
5. Creation of a homepage and of various materials for multipliers for the purpose of spreading the results