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How livestock farmers define robust dairy cows

Abstract : Animal robustness has been identified as an adaptive tool in the agroecological transition; it is the ability of an animal to maintain performance at expected levels in a fluctuating environment. The objective of this study was to analyse how dairy farmers characterise and assess the robustness of their animals. From interviews with 39 dairy farmers emerged 4 main definitions of robust daily cows: "adapted to the environment and environmental variability", "tough with a strong temperament.", "productive and economical", or "less productive but displaying endurance". These definitions differed based on i) the phenotypic traits of the animals upon which farmers based their descriptions (e.g., production, morphology, docility); ii) the time scale considered; and iii) the farmer's relationship with the environment (i.e., control vs. adaptation). This diversity of viewpoints should be accounted for in exchanges between farmers and agricultural advisors.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 3:06:59 AM
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E. Ollion, Fabienne Blanc, Carine Chassaing, Stéphane Ingrand. How livestock farmers define robust dairy cows. Fourrages, Association Française pour la Production Fourragère, 2018, pp.219-227. ⟨hal-02621638⟩



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