The final IMPRO workshop for dissemination and discussion
was held in Brussels on Friday, 9 September 2016.
After nearly four years of research on the topic of improving animal health in organic dairy farming a significant body of research data have been generated, together with a number of prospective decision-support tools.
The transdisciplinary IMPRO project has developed a participatory approach, which brings together farmers and their animal health advisors, to undertake a farm-centric analysis of dairy health management. The farm-centric approach employed a series of tools and approaches to help understand the specificities and reduce the complexity of individual farm systems, to develop farm specific strategies for improvements in health management practice.
More than 200 organic dairy farmer, together with their animal health advisors, participated in the project and contributed to the assessment of the level of extant production diseases, the estimation of the costs of these diseases and the benefits of animal health improvements, as well as undertake an examination of the motivation and attitudes of farmers, and their animal health advisors to a range of measures to improve animal health.
Decision-support tools have been developed to foster this participatory assessment of the farm system, bringing together the different perspectives and expertise of farmers and their animal health advisors. Furthermore, a pro-active monitoring process has been developed to improve the effectiveness of prevention and treatment strategies. With respect to the rules for organic farming and, in particular, the aim of reducing the use of antibiotics, the effectiveness and the practicalities of alternative treatments have been assessed.