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Increasing productivity, resource efficiency and product quality to increase the economic competitiveness of forage and grazing based cattle production systems


Challenge - The productivity of milk and meat production from European cattle has increased considerably in recent decades. However, the sustainability of this intensification is questioned due to environmental and animal welfare trade-offs and growing reliance on edible food and imported soy as feed.

Objectives - This project aims to evaluate the productivity, resource-use efficiency and consumers’ acceptability of a transition to high forage and pasture diets for European cattle. It will focus on dairy, integrated dairy/beef and specialized beef production systems, hereby addressing: productivity, product quality, animal health and welfare, economic performance, resource use efficiency and consumer appreciation.

Expected results - The main hypotheses are that transition to high forage and non-food diets will enhance product quality, animal health and welfare, resource efficiency and consumer acceptability, by matching appropriate diets, breeds and production systems and by rearing all dairy bred calves. The project involves modelling, experimental and participatory R&D activities.

Potential ImpactResearch findings will increase our knowledge on how European animal production can improve profitability, societal acceptance and environmental credibility, as well as becoming more resilient to external influences such as global markets.

Coordinated by: Dr. Håvard Steinshamn - The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NORWAY) - Contact

Funded by: RCN, BMEL, MIPAAF, NCBR, FORMAS and DEFRA as part of the ERA-NET Cofund SusAn through a virtual common pot model including EU Top-Up funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no 696231).

6 research partners:

  • GERMANY: Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding, Kiel University
  • ITALY: University of Padova
  • POLAND: Istytut Genetyki i Hodowli Zwierzat PAN Jastrzebiec
  • SWEDEN: RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • UNITED KINGDOM: Newcastle University

More information: 

This project has been funded by RCN, BMEL, MIPAAF, NCBR, FORMAS and DEFRA as a part of the ERA-Net Cofund SusAn (grantnr 696231) through a virtual common pot model with EU top-up.