Sustainable Organic and Low-Input Dairying

SOLID is a European project on Sustainable Organic and Low Input Dairying financed by the European Union. The project runs from 2011-2016. 25 partners from 10 European countries participate in the large project described below.

Project purpose

The project aims to improve the technical performance and economic competitiveness of organic and lowinput dairy systems in Europe, while maximising their potential to deliver environmental goods and enhance biodiversity.

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A total of 25 institutes and organisations in ten different countries are included in the project which runs for five years from April 2011 and is co-ordinated by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University, UK.
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Dairy farming to the benefit of agricultural industry and society

Organic and low-input dairy farming systems are increasingly noted as delivering multi-functional benefits to the agricultural industry and society but technical and economic constraints prevent widespread adoption.
SOLID delivers an innovative toolbox of novel methodologies that contributes to the competitiveness of the dairy industry and increase the effectiveness with which these benefits are delivered.

The project facilitates the use of breeds and feeding strategies to maintain productivity, improve animal health and welfare while meeting the market requirement for high quality milk.

Novel strategies at farm level and in the supply chain

A multidisciplinary team comprising academic and stakeholder (SME) partners from across Europe, encompassing dairy cows and goats, have identified and applied novel strategies at the farm level and throughout the supply chain.

Innovative science and models, combined with a participatory approach, tackle practical issues, and assess competitive sustainability and integration across a range of scales and geographical contexts.

Proteomics combined with genotyping and calorimetry have been used to characterise and quantify dairy cow and goat breed adaptation to organic and low-input systems.

Sustainable feed resources and new decision-models

SOLID has developed novel and sustainable feed resources and designed a decision-support model to optimise the management of on-farm forage supply.

Life cycle assessment tools assess environmental sustainability of grassland-based multi-functional dairy systems.

Analysis of the supply chain from fork to farm quantifies the acceptability of new strategies and enhanced collaboration.

An integrated assessment tool and socio-economic modelling assess innovations on farms and along supply chains, and can predict the impact of more widespread adoption of low-input practises.

Dissemination and communication is key

Effective knowledge dissemination and exchange activities target key stakeholder groups to ensure exploitation of outputs at animal, farm, region, sector and European levels.

How to improve sustainable organic and low-input dairying