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Constraints under organic farming on French sheepmeat production: a legal and economic point of view with an emphasis on farming systems and veterinary aspects



Constraints under organic farming on French sheepmeat production: a legal and economic point of view with an emphasis on farming systems and veterinary aspects



Veterinary Research 33(5): 613-624



Ovine meat production in France, which is continually regressing due to economic difficulties, is based on two main production systems. The first system is located in plains in which one part of the lambs born in the spring are fed grass, and the other part of the lambs are from out of the season parturitions following hormonal treatments and are fattened in sheep houses. The second system is represented by farms in the mountains using hardy breeds which have a natural faculty for out of the season breeding and whose lambs are fattened indoors, whatever the season of birth. Amongst the sanitary problems encountered, parasitism in particular of young animals, is crucial, especially for farms on plains practising grass fattening. These farmers systematically use conventional anthelmintic treatments, in particular against Moniezia and Strongyles. With organic farming, the limited number of conventional anthelmintic treatments is a strong constraint, especially for the management of young grass-fed animals. A study of 10 organic farming farms or farms converting to organic farming (six in the mountains and four in the plains) showed that the size of these farms is inferior to that of conventional ones and have technical performances which are comparable to the average with 20 to 30% extra over-prices on lamb sales. Despite this, the gross margins per ewe in organic farming are equal to the average of those for conventional farms. This is due to the high consumption of concentrate at a high cost (50 to 100% greater than that for conventional farms). Finally, to prevent sanitary risks, certain organic farmers use important amounts of feed supplements containing phytotherapy products whose costs burden a part of the financial results of the farm. On the contrary, other organic farmers are able, by adapting breeding and grazing managements, to significantly decrease animal health costs without increasing feed supplements nor decreasing zootechnical performances.

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Accession: 010377824

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PMID: 12387493

DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2002042



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