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CO Cofound call 3: Robust Animals in sustainable mixed free-range systems

Alternativ tittel: Robuste frittgående husdyr i bærekraftige blandede produksjonssystemer

Tildelt: kr 4,0 mill.

I løpet av 2022 har vi som partner i prosjektet hatt god progresjon i henhold til arbeidsplanene. Vi har utviklet vurderingsprotokoll for studier av frittgående gris og startet velferdsstudiene av gris på norske gårder i samarbeid med de andre prosjektpartnerne. Videre har vi kommet i gang med studiene av biodiversitet i tilknytning frittgående griser i Norge, Italia og Slovenia ved at insekter har blitt fanget i insektfeller nært til de frittgående grisene og i kontrollområder. Dette insektmaterialet blir nå analysert vha DNA barcodinganalyser for artsidentifisering. Vi fått utviklet intervjuguide til bruk for alle prosjektpartnerne for intervju av bønder om hold av frittgående husdyr. Videre har analysene av økonomisk og miljømessig bærekraft (livsløpsanalyser) av denne driftsformen kommet i gang.

Raising organic pigs on free-range complies well with consumer expectations and support the organic principles of natural living. Free-range access may reduce inputs needed, but managing pigs free-range is also challenging in terms of biosecurity and land requirements. Across Europe, free-range access is declining in organic farming. We believe Mixed production systems of pigs with other livestock or crop production may offer a framework to solve some of the issues with free-range systems while supporting farm self-supply of feed and biodiversity. Thus, the overall objective of ROAM-FREE is to investigate how mixed free-range production systems can improve animal robustness, environmental and economic sustainability and biodiversity in organic pig farming, and thereby support a wider adoption of organic farming across Europe. In ROAM-FREE, existing mixed free-range pig systems will be identified by partners in Norway, Denmark, Romania, Italy and Slovenia to cover the diversity in climate, diseases present as well as local traditions and different economic framework. Together with the owners, these farms will characterized and evaluated in terms of animal health, welfare, productivity, feed-sufficiency, biodiversity, economy, and environmental impact. A specific focus will be on potential benefits on welfare and immunity when animals are free-roaming. Animals will also be more exposed to parasites in the outdoor environment and we will look into developing preventive strategies, including use of bioactive crops or trees. We expect that ROAM-FREE will expose benefits and challenges in a variety of mixed systems and form the basis for knowledge-based practical guidelines to improve existing mixed systems. Innovative mixed farming concepts will be developed and discussed with pig producers at meetings and trainings session, facilitating a wider adoption of mixed farming strategies in organic pig production.