This CORE Organic Cofund project, in which the CRA-W is participating, was set up on 1 April 2018 to study the improvement of mixed organic farming in Europe.
The MIXENABLE CORE Organic Cofund project aims to identify measures for improving the efficiency of farms with mixed herds and polyculture. The main objective of this project, with 10 partners from 7 countries (France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Sweden and Belgium), is to develop the sustainability and resilience of mixed biological systems in Europe.
Why mixed farming?
There are currently few references that expand upon the literature on mixed livestock and polyculture systems compared with polyculture farming systems. However, the introduction of two or more animal species into the crop production within a farm can potentially offer many benefits, including more efficient use of grazing land and better management of parasitism.
Moreover, organic mixed farms tend to specialise, or have limited integration between their facilities, which may reduce the practical benefits of combining multiple livestock operations.
For this project, the CRA-W aims to:
- Define mixed organic farms by means of surveys. As a priority, assess the level of integration between their agricultural components (diversification facilities), their sustainability (environmental, economic, social) and resilience to adverse events, and to compare their performance with that of specialised farms;
- Combine the knowledge gathered from the surveys and experiments in research centres into models that can simulate their performance in the face of climate and economic variations. Co-build, through workshops with farmers, more sustainable and robust models for existing mixed farming systems;
- Design a system of indicators for the assessment of mixed organic farms, to relate the sustainability and resilience of the farms surveyed to their degree of integration;
- Simultaneously conduct experiments in research centres, to compare specific aspects of livestock farming (use of grazing land, animal health, etc.).
The results will be regularly shared in order to highlight innovative practices of breeders, the potential of mixed organic farms and the way in which they can be sustainably managed.
If you wish to apply the dynamics of this research project to your farm, contact us!
For further info: http://www.cra.wallonie.be/fr/mixenable-1