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Project start

October 2012


KBBE.2012.1.4-04: Improved management practices and alternative treatments to improve animal health in organic farming systems

Funding scheme

Collaborative project




Consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive about health and welfare problems in commercial livestock production systems. They expect their food to be produced with greater respect for the needs of farm animals. Organic farming is often directly associated with an enhanced level of animal health and welfare. However, animal health status in organic dairy farming does not in all respect meet consumers’ expectations. Improvements are crucial to support consumers’ confidence and their willingness to pay premium prices. These are urgently needed to cover the higher production costs. Previous herd health planning concepts have prepared the ground for further advancements. However, recommended measures are often implemented only to an unsatisfactory degree, differing widely between farms, and resulting in an improper animal health status.

The IMPRO project aims to substantially overcome weak points in current health management strategies on organic dairy farms and to increase the implementation of evidence based measures and to improve practice of health management. This will be achieved by a multidisciplinary and participatory approach to develop farm specific solutions regarding preventive measures and early treatment strategies. Researchers with a thorough experience in conducting applied research will aim for the following: 

  • to develop a participatory and farm-centric diagnostic tool for a sound diagnostic procedure at the farm level, identifying the most effective measures to improve animal health,
  • to evaluate farm-specific costs and benefits of recommended measures, to optimise farm-specific allocation of available resources, and to emerge incentives,
  • to examine the motivation and attitudes of farmer, advisor, and veterinarian directly involved in health management practice,
  • to elaborate reference values for achievable standards with respect to animal health status,
  • to develop a pro-active monitoring protocol aiming for improved effectiveness of preventive and treatment strategies and for a reduction in the use of allopathic remedies,
  • to assess the manageability of alternative treatments according to the state-of-the-art,
  • to develop a software-based tool including health monitoring, farm diagnostics’ procedures, cost-benefit calculation, and break-even analysis.


  • University of Kassel, Department of Organic Agricultural Sciences, Animal Nutrition / Animal Health (Coordinator)
  • Division of Ruminant Medicine and Veterinary Epidemiology at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE
  • Department of Farm Animal Health and Public Health, Veterinary School - INRA, Nantes, FR
  • Business Economic Group Wageningen University, NL
  • School of Veterinary Science, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, ES
  • dsp-agrosoft GmbH, DE
  • Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, University of Reading, UK