More than a niche? The potential of dam rearing for marketing of milk and male calves
Some consumers ask for milk that is produced without separating cow and calf shortly after birth. We ask if dairy farmers will get more chances to market their products by dam rearing their calves.
More and more consumers as well as animal rights organisations criticise repeatedly the early separation of cow and calf in modern dairy farming. Meanwhile, some dairy farms rear their calves by suckling at dam or foster cows and studies address the effects of cow-calf contact on animal health, performance and behaviour. Although positive effects on calves were detected, this rearing method reduces the amount of deliverable or processible milk. To be profitably, farmers thus have to gain higher prizes for their products – like milk or calves for fattening. However, until now information is lacking how milk and calves, which are produced in such systems, are market, and whether farmers use dam rearing as an argument in product marketing. The project will gain information concerning the acceptance as well as the refusal of such products along the whole processing and market chain. At the end, ideas of marketing strategies shall be developed which will be transferred back to the stakeholders of the whole value chain. All together a comprehensive picture of the potential of dam rearing will be gained.
In the first part of the project we address the issue how milk and calves, which are produced in dam rearing systems, are market, and whether farmers use dam rearing as an argument in product marketing. If possible, all German dairy farmers practicing dam rearing will be interviewed to reveal the status quo of production and marketing of milk and calves from dam rearing systems. In a second step, the awareness of dam rearing in dairies, cattle dealers and fattening farms will be inquired. As little is known about the pros and cons of dam rearing mainly qualitative analysis like semi structured interviews or expert interviews will be carried out. Finally, retailers and consumers will be surveyed. In case of consumers the survey will be based on the findings of the former interviewed stakeholders. A quantitative survey will be carried out and will contain closed and open questions.
1.2018 - 10.2020
Project funding number: 2815NA094
Funding program: Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau und andere Formen nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft (BÖLN)
Project status: ongoing