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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Duval Julie

Herd health advisory services in organic dairy cattle farms

abstract :

Improving herd health on organic dairy farms is often needed, since organic dairy farms do not consistently meet the organic principles and consumers' expectations of high animal health and welfare. This thesis explores ways to improve the pertinence of herd health advisory services in order to improve animal health on organic dairy farms. The results of our studies show that veterinarians most often have a role of therapist on organic dairy farms. Obtaining a more advisory role was hampered due to specificities of the organic sector, such as differences between farmers and veterinarians in animal health management objectives and practices.
An intervention study was performed testing a herd health and production management (HHPM) program on organic dairy farms in France and Sweden, based on herd health monitoring and disease prevention activities. The program was built using a participatory approach, making farmer and advisor work together; the adaptability of the program allowed to design farm specific herd health monitoring tools. Although no effect on herd health by its users. The program fulfilled most of its intended functions in herd health monitoring and disease prevention and stimulated dialogue between farmers and their advisors. We consider that dialogue promoting and tools adaptable to farm specific situations are a possible way forward for the development of advisory services in animal health.

Key words :

Organic farming, dairy cows, animal health planning, farmer decision-making, advisors, extension services