Edited by Petr Konvalina

Organic Farming and Food Production Edited by Petr Konvalina Contributors
Marcelo De Andrade Ferreira, Stela Urbano, Rubem Rocha Filho, Cleber Costa, Safira Valença Bispo, Mehdi Zahaf, Leila Hamzaoui Essoussi, Karmen Pažek, Crtomir Rozman, David Frank Kings, Petr Konvalina, Albert Sundrum, Costel Samuil, Vasile Vintu, Ewa Rembiałkowska

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Dagmar Janovská. Petr Konvalina. Ladislav Bláha and Martin Káš Option Models Application of Investments in Organic Agriculture 47 Karmen Pažek and Črtomir Rozman Organic Food Quality and Sustainability 63 The Quality of Organically Produced Food 65 Ewa Rembiałkowska. Hana Honsová. Aneta Załęcka.Contents Preface VII Section 1 Chapter 1 Organic Farming 1 Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania 3 Samuil Costel and Vintu Vasile Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production 25 Ivana Capouchová. Evženie Prokinová. Zdeněk Stehno. Maciej Badowski and Angelika Ploeger “Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows 95 Albert Sundrum Organic and Conventional Farmers' Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability 121 David Kings and Brian Ilbery Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values 145 Leila Hamzaoui-Essoussi and Mehdi Zahaf Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Section 2 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 .

Safira Valença Bispo.VI Contents Section 3 Chapter 8 Alternative Feed 167 The Use of Cactus as Forage for Dairy Cows in SemiArid Regions of Brazil 169 Marcelo de Andrade Ferreira. Rubem Ramos Rocha Filho. Stela Antas Urbano and Cleber Thiago Ferreira Costa .

Simultaneously. Organic food quality and sustainability and Alternative feed. is faltering and the domestic purchasing power of many people is increasingly constrained (Reed. etc. economic optimalization of organic farming. 2011). nor find the solution to every problem in an artificial chemical spray. the European Union and Japan. is built on the sustained effort of academic researchers to demonstrate. It contributes to environmental protection and helps biodiversity to increase. where crops and animals can grow and thrive. human health or animal health. The book is divided into three parts: Organic farming. the sales of organic food are going through a trough and the organic industry is consolidating as it learns how to operate in a new environment. A recent report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. and at the same time enhances the living conditions of animals. quality and distribution of organic products. The aim is not to eradicate all pests and weeds. In this way the farmer creates a healthy balance between nature and farming. which recommends the global adoption of agro-ecology. problematic organic seed production. in order to work with nature. organic agriculture. under the name of agro-ecology. North America. as well as various techniques and materials available to them. Many of the farming methods used in the past are still useful today. At present. It produces organic foodstuffs.Preface Organic farming is a modern way of agriculture management. Olivier De Schutter. providing comprehesive information on all aspects of organic farming and food production. the potential of organic agriculture (De Schutter. not using any chemical treatments which have negative effects on the environment. . teachers and students in the agricultural field in particular will find this book to be of immense use. 2012). through high quality research. but to keep them down to an acceptable level and make the most of the benefits that they may provide. is increasingly being presented as an answer to producing food sustainably. The big boom in the key markets for organic products. To be a successful organic farmer. the farmer must not see every insect as a pest. Organic farmers do not let their farms to be taken over by nature. Organic farming takes the best of these and combines them with modern scientific knowledge. every weed plant as out of place. Researchers. In the book there are chapters oriented towards organic farming and environmental aspects. they use all their knowledge. The book contains 8 chapters written by acknowledged experts. That is what makes it such a fascinating subject to study. Organic farming does not mean going ‘back’ to traditional (old) methods of farming. The future development of organic food is never easy to predict. and improving the livelihood of farmers in the global south.

making it easy for the reader to compare methods.D. Finally. Petr Konvalina. Slovenia. results and conclusions. Finland. I hope that our book will help researchers and students all over the world to attain new and interesting results in the field of organic farming and food production. Ph. As a result. Mexico.VIII Preface The goal was to write a book where as many different existing studies as possible could be presented in a single volume. Faculty of Agriculture University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice České Budějovice Czech Republic . The Czech Republic. studies from countries such as Romania. I believe that the opportunity to compare results and conclusions from different countries and continents will create a new perspective in organic farming and food production. have been compiled into one book. etc. Ing. I would like to thank the contributing authors and the staff at InTech for their efforts and cooperation during the preparation of this publication. Poland.

Section 1 Organic Farming .


0).doi. distribution. clothing and housing. which permits unrestricted use. living things and other economic and social re‐ alities. Organic agriculture is a production method that takes into account the traditional knowledge of farmers and integrates the scientific progress in all agricultural disciplines.Chapter 1 Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania Samuil Costel and Vintu Vasile Additional information is available at the end of the chapter http://dx. the aim of organic farming can be expressed as a function of mini . Also. for a long period of time. provided the original work is properly cited. answering the social concerns of the environment and providing high quality products to consumers.5772/52006 1. and reproduction in any medium.max type: maximizing yields and minimizing the negative side effects of agricultural activities. organic agriculture deals with the systematic study of material and function‐ al structures of agricultural systems and the design of agro-ecosystem management capable to ensure the human needs for food. economic and social potential. The principles underpinning organic farming are Organic farming methods to obtain food by means of culture that protect the environment and exclude the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. as well as intuition. energy and information resources of the agricultural systems. resources and local traditions. without diminishing the ecological. but the techniques used are adapted to the climatic conditions. Organic agriculture is a creation of farmers who love nature. No doubt that organic farming can also be defined as the activity of assembling the theoretical knowledge about nature and agriculture in sustainable technological systems based on material. Being a type of sustainable agriculture. moderation in choosing and implementing measures in practice. it involves detailed knowledge of land. Introduction Organic farming is both a philosophy and a system of agricultural production. Its roots are to be found in certain values that closely reflect the ecological and social realities. as an al‐ © 2012 Costel and . organic farming is based on wisdom and as such. In other words. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons. licensee InTech.

7 %). The regions with the largest areas of organically managed agricultural land are Oceania (12. Organic farming emerged in Europe as a result of health problems and negative experiences caused by the use of synthetic chemicals generated by the intensive industrial technologies.3 to an estimated 7. with areas of over 367. Romania has been using the term organic farm‐ ing. Italy (1. The countries in central and eastern Europe.3 %) and Austria (19. Improvement of biodiversity is often the result of good practices of organic agricul‐ ture.2.91 mio ha). The highest shares of organic agri‐ cultural land are in the Falkland Islands (35. Europe (10 million hectares of 27 % of the global organic farmland) and Latin America (8.4 million hectares or 23 %). The area under organic agriculture has increased significantly in the last years. In the pe‐ riod 2000-2008.58 mio ha). in particular. 10 million hectares in Europe were managed organically by almost 280'000 farms. ranked by the percentage of the agricultural land cultivated in organic system. according to the regulations stipulated in the Emergency Ordinance 34/2000.7% of the total agricultural land. Organic farming is a dynamic sector that has experienced an upward trend. Argentina (4. from the smallest micro-organism from the ground up to the largest tree that grows above. In Europe According to the study of World of Organic Agriculture. are becoming increasingly important on the market of organic products [38].9 million hectares). Netherlands and Portugal) and ecological agriculture (Denmark. This farming system is practiced in over 633 890 farms [38].6 mio ha (+7. Since 2000. with the same meaning. biological agriculture (Greece. Germany and Spain). As of the end of 2010. Liechtenstein (27. EU countries use. the United Kingdom (0. economically.1 million hectares of 33 % of the global organic farmland). Germany (0. each step of the ecological chain is designed to maintain. both in the plant and animal production sector. Respect for every living or‐ ganism is a general principle of organic farming. 1. France. representing 0. The Member States with the largest areas in 2008 are Spain (1. nearly 31 million hectares are used for organic production. to increase the diversity of plants and an‐ imals.72 mio ha) and France (0.2 mil‐ lion hectares) and the United States (1. like Poland. 1. the total organic area has increased from 4. The countries with the most organic agricultural land are Australia (12 million hectares).000 hectares cultivated organically and the Czech Republic.9 %).4 Organic Farming and Food Production ternative to intensive farming of industrial type. . the terms of organic agriculture (England). In the world Worldwide. Because of this. are in the European Union [38]. as well as respect for the EU Regulation on organic agricultural production [39. 40]. which had a market growth of 11% in 2009.00 mio ha). and where possible. based on efficient production methods and means.4% per year). In accordance with the Council Regulation (EC) 834/2007 and Commission Regulation (EC) 889/2008.1. Italy.13 mio ha). based on the forcing of production by over-fertilization of agricultural land and the use of stimulators in animal nutrition. seven of the first ten countries of the world.

Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania http://dx. Permanent grassland represents 2.51 mio ha (45.000 ha. The area under permanent pastures is the highest in absolute terms in Germany. the cereals 56. Consumer food demand grows at a fast pace in the largest EU markets.2 mio ha in 2007. Permanent grasslands.5% in Portugal.doi. are weakly productive and have an improper flower composition.8% in the Czech Republic. 16. The data from 2011 show that the area cultivated organically was of about 300.0% in Greece. situated on soils with low natural fertility. permanent grasslands and meadows 89.000 ha.825 ha. the arable land occupies 158. and the collection from spontaneous flora 47. The permanent grasslands from Romania. The higher level of permanent pastures in the organic sector stems from the more extensive production systems employed. Spain and Germany. 15.1% of the whole organic area and arable crops). The largest producers are Italy and Germany. 12.3% of all EU organic land. permanent crops 54. in 2006. Britain.489 ha. cereals represent the most important category with 1. The organic fertilization and the rational use lead to substantial increases of the production.000 ha.0% in Austria and 11. Spain and the United Kingdom where it is around 0.2% in Latvia.9 million ha [37]. In the EU-15. Currently. The importance of perma‐ nent grasslands in Romania is shown by the area they occupy and by their comparatively high biodiversity. In Europe extensive grazing by livestock and fertilization with their manure is considered an appropriate management strategy to conserve biodiversity value. i. Each permanent grassland sward can be considered as a unique mixture of species at differ‐ ent growth stages and this complexity makes it difficult to characterize and understand their feed value.101 ha [37].e. biodiversity and the fodder quality im‐ provement. Romania occupies fifth position after France.4 mio ha. yet the organic sec‐ tor does not represent more than 2% of total food expenses in the EU. of the total area where organic farming was used. permanent pasture in Romania covers 4.5% in Slovakia. which investigated the effects of different management practices on grasslands. are an impor‐ tant land use in Europe and cover more than a third of the European agricultural area.3. 18.15 in 2007 [38]. Of this area. In terms of area occupied by natural grasslands in Europe. oleaginous plants and protein plants 30. The main means for improving these grasslands consist in adjusting soil fertility. 1. which are traditionally used as forage for Floristic composition influences the nutritional value of permanent grasslands . permanent pastures and forage crops represented 60. In six Member States the organic sector amounts to more than 10% of the total area of permanent pastures: 25. have demonstrated that changes do occur in species diversity and the composition of plant functional groups depending on management practices. while the collection and certification of plants and flowers from the spontaneous flora 59. Previous studies have dem‐ onstrated the positive effects of organic fertilizers on grassland.000 ha. permanent pastures have represented more than 40% of all organic land. Comparative studies.5772/52006 5 Among arable crops. Increasing the productive potential of these grasslands can be achieved through fertilization with different rates and types of organic fertilizers. changing the dominance in the vegetal canopy and their good management. This area accounts for 33% of the total agricultural area of the country. In Romania In 2008. 16.000 ha.840 ha.

Dehéreim. Groningen. Often. The experience of the developed countries underlines the fact that taking decisions in the problem of biodiversity must be made only after conducting thorough. without making a deep analysis of the long and medium -term con‐ sequences. which allow the projection of a sustainable management of the natural resources. Importance of organic fertilizers In the twentieth century numerous studies were made on the role of organic matter in defin‐ ing soil fertility. that farmers try to minimize these negative effects as much as possible. Denmark (1894). organic farming aims to increase the microbiological activity of the soil. which is the focus of organic farming. There are numerous technical solutions for making a compromise between the function of produc‐ tion of the meadows and maintaining their biodiversity. These long-term researches conducted worldwide established the utility of organic fertiliz‐ ers for maintaining or increasing the organic component of the soil. Soil.1. inter‐ disciplinary studies. France. to maintain and increase its fertility. Germany. The introduction of or‐ ganic residues in soil means turning to good account the energy included in these livestock excreta. is considered a complex living environment. among which the permanent pasture lands occupy an important place.S. Fundulea. the preoccupations concerning the productivity left no place for the quali‐ ty of the products or for the environment's health. Experimental fields were established in Rothamstead England (1843). Consumption of organic products is a growing process. . Mor‐ row. where significant percentages of macro and micro. 2. digestibility of individual species and varia‐ tion in the growth rate of different species. so agriculture must keep up and produce ever more. regarding the Romania's pasture lands' vegetation from almost 40 years ago. Halle / Saale. closely interacting with plants and animals. The problem of the biodiversity reached in the top of the actual preoccupations because the modern agriculture was lately focused on developing some methods and procedures to al‐ low the management of a relatively restrained number of species. the immediate economic interest being primary. we will observe that many of those aspects have modified. (1876) Askov. Compar‐ ing the data from the specialty literature. Romania.elements are to be found [20]. One thing is sure. Podu Iloaiei Suceava. The long-term experiments made in these fields contributed importantly to the knowledge of the effect of organic and mineral substances on improving soil fertility [20]. professional. Management of organic fertilizers 2. By its specific techniques. Netherlands. Obtaining products by producingno harmful effects to nature is al‐ most impossible. About 49% of the chemical energy contained in the organic compounds of the food consumed by animals is excreted as manure. the U.6 Organic Farming and Food Production due to differences in the chemical composition.

doi. the role of animals in the organic system facilitates nu‐ trient recycling. By grazing. The nitrogen losses as ammonia or nitrogen gas in the fertilizer can be of 10% of the total weight when it is tamped in the pile and reach 40% when the pile is loose and turned.5 to 3 units of cattle / ha. which respect specific production rules. The potential for recycling the nutrients through fertilizer application is high. Therefore.2. Thus.Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania http://dx.2. green manure crops or deep-rooting plants in an appropriate rotation. which depend largely on how these fertilizers are managed. when using organic fertilizers it is very easy to overcome the nutrient dose that needs to be applied. Manure The manure is composed of animal manure and bedding material. The gaseous losses of urine can be of 10-20% and even higher when it is shaken. Not all initial nitrogen in manure is used by herbs in the production of dry matter in the crop. the fertility must be maintained by incorporating organic substances in the soil as compost or from the production units. The fertility and biological activity of the soil must be maintained and improved by the cul‐ tivation of legumes. Organic fertilizers used in Romania 2.1. Also. It should be mentioned that. storage and fermentation of vegetal wastes so as to decrease their volume and improve their physicochemical properties are a require‐ ment of organic porosity and brittleness. For many considerations. both the nutrients from the grazing period and the nutrients from the stall period are concentrated in solid manure and urine which are available for redistribution.5772/52006 7 The organic substance used as fertilizer is an important component in order to maintain or restore the soil fertility. in variable amounts and in different stages of decomposition. Together with the manure. the amount applied for a complete rota‐ tion of the cultures should be limited to the equivalent of nutrient from the manure pro‐ duced by maximum 2. aeration. immobilized in organic matter in the soil or lost by leaching or denitrification. For fertilization. the application in spring is more efficient because the leaching losses are lower than in the case of application in autumn or winter. Be‐ cause of this. . they remove about 70% of nitrogen in the urine and 30% in the solid manure. The organic fertilizers positively contribute to the modification of physical conditions in the soil by increasing the field capacity for water. Besides the use of legumes in rotations. the animals retain only 5-10% of the nitrogen existing in the grass consumed. Fertilization is an important means of increasing the amount of organic products and the methods of fertilization used vary from one farm to another. Also. and the black colour of organic matter will lead to easier and faster heating of these soils [20]. the organic fertilizers are preferred in organic farming as poorly soluble nutrients are mobilized with the help of soil microorganisms. 2. the natural fer‐ tilizers represented by animal or vegetal remains are used in organic farms. Collection. the loss of nutrients during storage may oc‐ cur due to leaching and volatilization. Much of the nitrogen may be retained in roots.

The ammonia is lost each time the manure pile is moved. It should be noted that the standards of organic farming prohibit the use of manure derived from breeding systems. and after a few weeks the pile is turned over to allow a second heating. where the manure is carefully stored and compacted. The losses by leaching from piles of uncovered manure can be considerable. A traditional approach to storing manure in central Europe is the “cold manure” technique. being of only 4-6%. At the same time. During storage. methane and hydrogen). however the crops use less nitrogen of the manure applied in high doses. but usually not later than six months. because the material must be left at the soil surface for the toxic products synthesized during fermentation not to prevent root growth and microbiological processes from the soil. while inside the well compacted piles de-nitrifi‐ cations can be caused due to the anaerobic conditions created. However large losses are recorded during administration. The insects present in compost will eat the eggs of cabbage root fly. Al‐ though the application of high doses of manure results in increasing the production of nitro‐ gen. when compared to the losses of 10-14% in the case of unprotected piles [20]. thus creating complete conditions of anaerobiosis. The high temperatures developed during composting help destroy the weed seeds and pathogens. while carbohydrates from the bed‐ ding after the fermentation are converted into energy. There are two essential ways of approaching the manure management used in organic farming practices. At first. the long time of composting increases the biological stability of the nitrogen compounds and the nitrogen availability decreases accordingly. The careful control of the conditions in which the decomposition takes place allows the decom‐ position process to be optimized. The alternative is the storage of manure in a wide range of possible conditions and its use in the moment it attained the over-maturation stage. In the aerobic composting of manure. ethically unacceptable. such as batteries of cages and intensive poultry units. in various amounts. The increased microbiological activity means that a larger amount of nu‐ trients can be synthesized from the organic matter present in the soil. in case of the covered heaps. the chemical composition of manure can vary widely. Some farmers laid great emphasis on composting manure as a way of approaching the use of fresh manure. The highest losses during waste storage are those occurring in gaseous form. The experiences showed that 60 to 90% of ammonia nitrogen from cattle manure can volatilize between the 5th and 25th day after the application on the soil surface. and the animals are fed on different diets for long periods. The nitrogen losses by washing are reduced.8 Organic Farming and Food Production Because different types of bedding are used. The losses by administra‐ tion can be reduced by incorporating the manure in the soil as soon as possible. The first approach involves the application of fresh manure in dose of about 10 t ha-1. due to the microbiological activity associated with the decomposition oc‐ curring in the soil. different gases (e.g. The microbiological activity increases rapidly at tempera‐ tures around 60°C. CO2. but the . the urea is converted into ammonia compounds. several important chemical processes take place in the pile of manure. the proteins from the bedding are decomposed in simple ni‐ trogen compounds and the nitrogen is assimilated and fixed by different bacteria.

where their accumu‐ lation is allowed for a certain period of time.2 Table 1. .6 18.29 0.8-1. and the product is very sta‐ ble in time and does not have storage problems. % % % % % % % % % % % % Average values 61-63 39-37 1. Vinassa Vinassa is a by-product obtained after the evaporation of waste waters from factories that produce bakery yeast [11].2. Dickschlempe).04-0.1-1.475 0.011 0.28-1.11-0.06 13.5 2. mg/100g % % % % % % % % % % Average values 0. Vinassa has a very low level of fermentable sugars (1.M. 2. The vinassa product looks like a dark brown liquid.006 0. In case the composting was made too strongly it results a paste that can be used only when it corresponds to the proposed specific goals.47-0.08-1.6 U. encapsulating material for fertiliz‐ ers and feed additive for ruminants. Chemical composition of vinassa [32]. The valuable composition of vinasse makes it widely used in western Europe as an organic fertilizer.57-4.001-0.Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania http://dx.5-2 18-21 21-23 5-7 0.03-2. with relatively low viscosity. CMS (Condensed molasses solubles) FEL (Fermentation end Liquor).005-0. In Britain.3-14.2 0.29 1.5 to 2.60-0.1 7-8 27-30 0.2.1 0.76 0.99-1. The waste waters from production. turning into a valuable product called vinasse.28-0. This is one of the reasons why the standards of organic agriculture recommend manure be composted before use.12 0. caramel odor slightly unpleasant because of the presence of phenols and sweet bitter taste. 32].5-0.doi.281 0. after the separation of yeast from the culture medium.65 Quality indexes Zinc Organic carbon Lactic acid Formic acid Acetic acid Malic acid Glucose Fructose Betaine Glycerin Total nitrogen Free amino acids glutamic acid methionine lysine g/kg g/kg g/kg 4.5 0. large quantities of organic fertilizers are produced on stubble.0%).8-3.26 1. Quality ratios Dry matter Humidity Sugars Raw protein Ash Potassium Calcium Magnesium Sodium Phosphor Nitrites Nitrates Ph Iron Copper mg/100g mg/100g U.07 2. are subject‐ ed to concentration by evaporation. pigs and poultry [6. represented by molasses derived from sugar factories.M.3-0. 21.5772/52006 9 problem can be solved only if the distribution of compost is made in the adequate stage of fly development [20].05-0.

The climatic conditions were characterized by mean temperatures of 9. it can replace all the chemical fertilizers [15. with beneficial effects on productivity and quality of the for‐ age. on a Festuca valesiaca L.10 Organic Farming and Food Production Vinassa has a complex chemical composition (Table 1). in an Agrostis capillaris+Festuca ru‐ bra grassland. 30]. This property recom‐ mends vinassa for use in direct spraying on the stubbles left after harvesting the cereals. the most important reduction in their productivity is due to unfavourable climatic condi‐ tions and bad management [29. 3.99 to 1. situated at the height of 707 m at Pojorata-Suceava County. on 20% slope.5 %).1%). Following the research carried out. on Agrostis capillaris + Festuca rubra grassland.11 to 0. from the forest steppe area. “vinassa” re‐ acts as a semi-organic fertilizer.3 to 0. Manure used on Festuca valesiaca and Agrostis capillaris+Festuca rubra grasslands The experiment has investigated the influence of organic fertilizers. An important role of “vinassa” is also present in the formation of bacterial flora responsible for the degradation of cellulose material in the soil and due to its content of potas‐ sium and nitrogen it can replace totally or partially the application of mineral fertilizers.65 mg/100 g soil) and zinc (from 0. copper (0. iron (27-30 mg / 100 g soil). Increasing the grassland productive potential can be achieved by different fertilization rates and types of organic fertilizers [2. both sites present a weak botanical composition. Organic fertilizers used on permanent grasslands: an example of Romania 3. and the one from Pojora‐ ta – Suceava. which highly diminishes their productive potential. In addition. at rates of 10-30 t ha-1.60 to 0. on 18-20% slope. calcium (0. because of the high content in potassium and nitrogen. Due to its chemical composition.1.0 to 6. in a Festuca valesiaca grassland. situated at the height of 107 m.4 mm at Ezareni – Iasi. and at rates of 10-30 t ha-1. It also contains appreciable quantities of sodium (6.2%). and Pojorata – Suceava site. being rich in total nitrogen (3.50 to 0. 28].2%). These trials was set up at two different sites: Ezareni – Iasi site.Suceava.3 0C and total rainfall amounts of 675 mm at Pojorata .12%). The trial from Ezareni – Iasi was set up at the height of 107 m. grassland. from the boreal floor.0 to 3. and by mean temperatures of 6. applied each year or ev‐ ery 2-3 years. at the height of 707 m. vinassa is considered a valuable organic fertilizer. Even if permanent grasslands from north-eastern Romania are found at a rate of 70% on fields affected by erosion.60 mg/100 g soil) etc. on yield and flow‐ er composition. vinassa leads to the formation of bacterial flora in the soil which accelerates the degradation of cellulose material and enables fast incorporation in the natural circuit of vegetal residues in the cellulose material. very rich in potassium (5-7%) and low in phosphorus (0. magnesium (0. 33]. the product was approved in 2003 as the vinassa-Rompak or just “vinassa”. Used in dilution with water in 1:5 ratio on permanent pastures. if applied reasonably. The investiga‐ tions carried out until today have demonstrated the positive effects of manure on grasslands and. An im‐ .5 0C and total rainfall amounts of 552. at Ezareni-Iasi County.

65 t ha-1 at the control and 4. applied every 3 years.12 1. 32% in le‐ gumes and 29% in other species (Table 5). Ezareni.09 1.17 t ha-1 DM at 30 Mg ha-1 manure fertilization.68 20 t ha-1 sheep manure applied every 2 years V4 .56 2.16 2. and the climatic conditions were unfavourable to the good development of vegetation on grasslands.69** 1. **=P≤ t ha-1 in case of fertilization with 30 t ha-1 manure.04 1. the yields were of 2. applied every 3 years.57** 1.84 t ha-1 in case of fertilization with 30 t ha-1 manure.95 t ha-1 DM at the control and 4.91 1. In 2007.57 t ha-1 DM in case of sheep manure and 2.34 t ha-1 at the control and 5. NS= not significant Table 2. The mean yields during 2006-2007 have been influenced by cli‐ mate and the type and level of organic fertilization. applied every 3 years (Table 3). the effect of fertilization on production becoming negligible.001.33 2007 0.56 t ha-1 DM at the control and 2.02 Average 1.69 2. every 3 years. the vegetation from permanent grasslands was highly affected by the longterm draught that dominated the experimental area from Ezareni.09 t ha-1 DM at the control and 1. Iasi [29].28 2.40 t ha-1 cattle manure applied every 3 years Average *=P≤0.Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania http://dx. applied every 3 years. Analyzing the production data concerning the Festuca valesiaca grassland from Ezareni.12 2. In 2007. 13% in legumes and 19% in other species (Table 4) and 39% in grasses.57 2. In the trial conducted on the Agrostis capillaris+Festuca rubra grassland from Pojorata in 2006.71 t ha-1 DM at the fertilization with 40 t ha-1 cattle manure.10 t ha-1 sheep manure applied every year V3 - 2006 1. Fertilization variant V1 .10 t ha cattle manure -1 V7 .05.50 2.02 1. The mean yields during 2006-2007 were comprised between 1.35 2. being comprised between 3.61 0. the yields were between 2.85*** 1.20 t ha-1 cattle manure applied every 2 years V8 . The analysis of canopy has shown that the mean values of the presence rate were of 68% in grasses.doi.71** 1.30 t ha-1 sheep manure applied every 3 years V5 . Influence of organic fertilization on DM yield (t ha-1). so that the productivity of these agro-ecosystems was greatly diminished.54* 1.71 2. ***=P≤0.40 t ha sheep manure applied every 3 years -1 V6 .71 t ha-1 DM in case of cattle manure. applied every 3 years (Table 2). since September 2006 un‐ til August 2007.5772/52006 11 portant fact was that the year 2007 was very dry at Ezareni – Iasi.21 1. we have noticed that in 2006.30 t ha-1 cattle manure applied every 3 years V9 .96*** 1.09 1. being comprised between 4. .01.Unfertilized control V2 .80*** 1.01 1. The highest yields were found in case of 40 t ha-1 manure fertilization. the yields were higher than in 2006. they were comprised between 1.87*** 1.13 1.96 t ha-1 DM in case of fertilization with 40 t ha-1 cattle manure.

90 5.72 At Ezareni – Iasi. **=P≤0.01. Festuca rubra (7%).90 4.86 second year+0 t ha-1 manure applied in the third year 20 t ha-1 cattle manure applied in the first year+0 t ha-1 manure applied in the second 3.36** 20 t ha-1 cattle manure applied in the first year+10 t ha-1 cattle manure applied in the 3.78 year+10 t ha-1 cattle manure applied in the third year 20 t ha-1 cattle manure applied in the first year+10 t ha-1 cattle manure applied in the second year+10 t ha-1 cattle manure applied in the third year 4. Trifolium repens (16%). Trifolium pratense (8%) and Taraxacum officinale (5%).03 10 t ha-1 cattle manure applied in the first year+20 t ha-1 cattle manure applied in the 3. while at Pojorata – Suceava. 10 species from Fabaceae and 24 species from others. 3.98 Average 3. and from Pojorata – Sucea‐ va.05.63 second year+10 t ha-1 cattle manure applied in the third year Average *=P≤0.42** 4.50 3. Agrostis capillaris (14%). Pojorata.95 3.51 4.05 4. Trifolium pratense (7%). Suceava [30]. ***=P≤0. a total number of 40 species was registered. The species with the highest presence rate from Ezareni – Iasi were Festuca valesiaca (39%). Plantago media (3%). Influence of the organic fertilization on the canopy structure (%).84*** 4. Iasi [30].52** 4.65 4.25 4.38** 4. of which 6 species from grass family.34 5. the total number of species was of 45. Influence of organic fertilization on DM yield (t ha-1). NS= not significant Table 3.12 Organic Farming and Food Production Fertilization variant Unfertilized control 10 t ha-1 cattle manure applied every year 20 t ha-1 cattle manure applied every 2 years 30 t ha-1 cattle manure applied every 3 years 2006 2.37** 4. Ezareni. Fertilization variant Unfertilized control 10 t ha-1 sheep manure applied every year 20 t ha-1 sheep manure applied every 2 years 30 t ha-1 sheep manure applied every 3 years 40 t ha-1 sheep manure applied every 3 years 10 t ha-1 cattle manure 20 t ha-1 cattle manure applied every 2 years 30 t ha cattle manure applied every 3 years -1 Grass 69 76 59 70 67 62 68 71 69 68 Legumes 10 13 16 11 15 11 16 12 11 13 Other species 21 11 25 19 18 27 16 17 20 19 40 t ha-1 cattle manure applied every 3 years Average Table 4.17 2007 4.40** 4.001.81 5. of which 12 grasses.87 5. Trisetum flavescens (6%). 9 legumes and 24 species from others.12 4. Achillea setacea (4%). .28** 4.

in four repetitions blocks with 20 sq.000 hectares. vegetation stage at harvest and level of fertilization [1. Manure used on Nardus stricta L. meter randomized plots on Nardus stricta L. the grassland area. Pojorata. The yields obtained were influenced in both experiencing sites by climatic conditions. 17. estimating that they could get effi‐ cient yields without technological inputs. the main aim of our study was to im‐ prove the productivity of natural grasslands by finding economically efficient solutions that respect their sustainable use and the conservation of biodiversity [1. grassland management. The organic fertilization has a special significance for permanent meadows if their soils show some unfavourable chemical characteristics. 31]. 4. To accomplish the objectives of these studies we have conducted an experiment in the Cosna region. mor‐ phological characteristics of plants. Suceava [30]. we noticed that the highest number of species (24 species) was rep‐ resented by others. biodiversity and productivity in the studied permanent grasslands. proving that the management of organic fertilizers did not affect the bio‐ diversity of these grassland . Within this context. Our results demonstrated the positive effects of organic fertilizers on canopy structure. type and level of organic fertilization. 3.Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania http://dx. 8. the productivity and fodder quality are influenced by the floristic composition. The investigations carried out until today have demonstrated the positive effects of reasonably applied manure on grasslands. Meadow degradation is determined by changes that take place in plant living conditions and in the structure of vegetation. covers 200. Influence of the organic fertilization on the canopy structure (%). 34]. For a long-term period no elementary management meas‐ ures were applied on permanent meadows in Romania. Grasslands in Romania’s Carpathians In Romania. On the other hand. dominated by Nardus stricta L. In both trials.5772/52006 13 Fertilization variant Unfertilized control 10 t ha manure applied every year -1 Grass 44 38 43 37 36 Legumes 25 33 30 33 36 Other species 31 29 27 30 28 20 t ha-1 manure applied every 2 years 30 t ha-1 manure applied every 3 years 20 t ha-1 manure applied in the first year+10 t ha-1 manure applied in the second year+0 t ha-1 manure applied in the third year 20 t ha-1 manure applied in the first year+0 t ha-1 manure applied in the second year+10 t ha-1 manure applied in the third year 20 t ha-1 manure applied in the first year+10 t ha-1 manure applied in the second year+10 t ha-1 manure applied in the third year 10 t ha-1 manure applied in the first year+20 t ha-1 manure applied in the second year+10 t ha-1 manure applied in the third year Average 42 30 28 36 33 31 33 39 37 32 30 29 Table 5..

48ns 3.01.33** % 100 140 186 236 312 147 162 167 188 Manure rate Unfertilized control 20 t ha-1. has determined the increase in the CP (crude protein) content by 45.86* 2.59*** 4. applied once every 2 years. every year 30 t ha-1.86-3.42% total N.14 Organic Farming and Food Production grasslands. every 2 years 40 t ha-1. and applied each year or every two years at rates of 20-50 t ha-1 (ta‐ ble 6). respectively (Table 6).77 2.39* 2010 t ha-1 2. The organic fertilization of Nardus stricta L.05. every 2 years 50 t ha-1.34* 3.60 ns 2. every year 50 t ha-1. ns= not significant Table 6.14** 4.53 t ha-1 DM. every year 20 t ha-1.28 ns 2. compared with the control variant. All fodder analyses have been performed on samples taken from the first harvest cycle.28** Average of 2009-2010 t ha-1 1.74*** 6. The influence of manure has been analysed.78 2. The forage obtained from these grasslands is mainly used to feed dairy cows.55* 2. situated at an altitude of 840 m. we obtained yields of 3.25 2. **=P≤0. DM: dry mater production (t ha-1). a significant yield increase. the DM yield recorded a significant increase. 0. The use of 20-50 t ha-1 manure accounted for. the photometrical method for the determination of total phosphorus. species number and Shannon Index (SI) were processed by analysis of variance. where N: plant nitrogen content (%). .40 4. with moderate rates of 20–30 t ha-1 manure.9 g kg-1 DM. ash was determined by igni‐ tion. and 2. especially when applying 30-50 t ha-1. at rates of 30-50 t ha-1.13 ns 4.32*** 2. The vegetation was studied using the method Braun-Blanquét. the control variant recorded values of 1.23** 4. ***=P≤0. Considering the average of the two years.92 ns 3. Data regarding the sharwe of economic groups. every 2 years 30 t ha-1. 2009 t ha-1 1. at the beginning of grass growth. every year 40 t ha-1.36 mg/100 g soil PAL and 38. For floristic data were calculated the mean abun‐ dance-dominance (ADm).29-5. (1989): NNI=100 x N/4. on districambosol with 1. based on the average values of the years 2009-2010. every 2 years *=P≤0. The Kjeldahl method was used for the determination of crude protein.59* 1.73*** 2. alongside the climatic factors. Influence of organic fertilization on the yield (t ha-1 DM) of Nardus stricta grasslands from the Carpathian Mountains of Romania [34]. applied on a yearly basis.29** 4.77 t ha-1. the Weende method for the determination of crude fiber.96* 3. At these rates.17*** 5.32.19% P2O5 and 0. grasslands.53*** 2.001.33 t ha-1 DM at the same rates.30 2. whereas by fertilization.1 mg/100 g soil KAL [13].27% K2O was applied by hand. The manure with a content of 0. early in spring. whereas the nitrogen nutrition index (NNI) was determined by the method developed by Lemaire et al.8 x (DM)-0.

both in terms of the number of species as well as in their percentage in the veg‐ etal canopy [4. every 2 years -1 30 t ha-1. because modern farming.1 g kg-1 DM.2 270. More‐ over. in comparison with the control variant (Table 7).2 71.01. the legume species increased by 5-28% (Table 8a).53*** 2.6 79.3*** Ash 61. forestry and meadow culture focussed. applied once every 2 years (table 2).2-422. every year 30 t ha .52 (Table 8b). Phosphorus.2 81. every 2 years 40 t ha-1.13** 2. while the percentage of Nardus stricta L. applied once every 2 years. Thus.5 228.77 2.2 533.3 g kg-1 DM) and the lowest at the variant fertilized with 50 t ha-1.7 357. when manure was added every 2 years.4 g kg-1 DM at the control to 2. respectively. 8. every year -1 t ha-1 DM 1. The NNI presented values comprised between 25-53.3 263. every year 20 t ha .07 and 2. Ptotal= total phosphorus.96* 3. The organic fertilization on permanent grasslands has resulted in some changes in the cano‐ py structure.95* 2.5 241. of 228. Shannon weaver index (SI) was compared to the control with the value between 1.8 218.3*** 106.3 Ptotal 1. an important element in animal nutrition.7 79. one enlists human .6 88.5 80.5*** 97. The crude fiber content (CF) was the highest at the control variant (285.60 2.0 NNI 25 39 53 52 55 37 43 48 52 40 t ha-1.1 78.5772/52006 15 compared with the unfertilized control variant.48 3. recorded an increase from 1. The rates of 40-50 t ha-1 diminished the per‐ centage of dominant species and the increase of CP yield with 246.22** Kg ha-1 CP 110.0 77. every year 50 tg ha-1. the number of species has increased from 18 at the control variant to 25-31 at fertilization rates.for all fertilization variants.2 g kg-1 DM at the control variant.0 83.1 253. CF=crude fiber. Biodiversity has become one of the main concerns of our world.001 CP=crude protein.4 258. varying between 71. on developing methods and proceedings for achieving high productions.6 16.05.04* 1.29** 4.86* 2.2*** 101.33** CP 62.5*** 82. in these latter years.8 kg ha-1 when man‐ ure was added once a year and 189.17* 1. 22. The ash content increased in all fertilized soils. without being interested in the quality of pro‐ duces or environment health. 24.0-243. ** P≤0. 34].3 264. species plunged from 70% at the control to 14-33% in the case of the fertilized experiments.2 kg ha-1. Manure rate Unfertilized control 20 t ha-1.6 247. compared to merely 61. every 2 years 50 t ha-1.0–83. NNI= nitrogen nutrition index Table 7.7 299. mean 2009-2010 [34].92* 2.8*** 92.doi. Species number increased towards the control.86* 2.9*** 96.2*** 108. thus.0 408. Among the factors threatening biodiversity.8 354.2 CF 285. every 2 years * P≤0. indicating a deficiency in nitrogen nutrition.41 1. Influence of organic fertilization on yield (t ha-1 DM) and NNI and CP quantity (Kg ha-1) and on chemical composition of the fodder obtained from Nardus stricta grasslands (g kg-1 DM).05* 2.3 g kg-1 DM.2 g kg-1 DM with the use 50 t ha-1 manure.Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania http://dx.6 215. *** P≤0.17*** 5.

division. high pressures on natural resources. 5. change or even destruction of habi‐ tats. 25. excessive use of pesticides. Plant ADm1 degree % V1 + + + 70 + 70 + 0 + + 6 2 1 2 3 2 V2 5 4 6 + 1 32 7 55 18 10 + 28 3 + 2 3 + + 2 2 + V3 3 + 6 10 + 15 2 36 13 5 + 18 12 + 6 + + + 3 + 3 1 + V4 2 5 6 3 14 30 2 3 5 35 + 2 + + + + + 3 V5 1 + 6 3 2 3 15 30 3 5 + 8 40 + 6 + + 3 + 2 V6 + 3 8 3 + 41 55 5 3 2 10 20 + 3 + + + + + 2 + V7 + 6 7 + 5 32 50 5 4 3 12 9 + 6 + 5 + + 4 + V8 + 4 8 2 5 33 52 5 3 2 10 6 + 3 2 3 3 + + 6 V92 5 5 10 3 31 2 56 + 5 + 5 5 + 6 4 + 3 + + 6 + - Species Agrostis capillaries Anthoxanthum odoratum Briza media Cynosurus cristatus Dactilys glomerata Festuca pratensis Festuca rubra Nardus stricta Phleum pretense Grasses Lotus corniculatus Trifolium pretense Trifolium repens Legumes Achillea millefolium Ajuga reptans Alchemilla xanthochlora Chrysanthemum leucanthemum Campanula obietina Centaurea cyanus Cerastium semidecandrum Cruciata glabra Fragaria vesca Hyeracium pilosella Hypericum maculatum Leucanthemum vulgare Luzula multiflora . 9. 10. many specialists are concerned with adapting the technologies of fodder production to the new economic and ecological requirements. chemical fertilizers etc [36]. 35].16 Organic Farming and Food Production activities. whilst the maintaining of biodiversity occupies an important place [3. Nowadays. 14.

. The low yield can be explained through the reduced quantities of rainfall from spring and through the reduced trophicity of the soil. The latter is influenced by the soils 23. done in different climatic and managerial conditions proved that there is a relationship between biodiversity and pastures productivity. 12. ** = P<0. The maintenance activities ar only manually performed. intensity of grazing.1. ***= P<0. amount and distribution rainfalls [7. 18.96 2. [34].50* V92 + + 2 + + 1 7 5 39 27 2.05. V2-V9 are the manure rates applied.28* ADm – mean abundance-dominance. altitude.Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania http://dx. chemical reaction.07 V2 + 4 1 0 + + + 17 25 2. The species diversity ot the studied phytocenosis is medium.27* V3 + + + 5 + + 2 2 12 + 46 30 2. situation wich explains one of the reasons for the abandon‐ ment of oligotrophic grasslands in the area. Influence of organic fertilization on the evolution of the vegetal canopy. The management applied on oligotrophic grasslands from Garda de Sus (Apuseni Moun‐ tain) is a traditional one.5772/52006 17 Species Lychnis flos-cuculi Prunella vulgaris Polygala amarelle Polygala vulgaris Plantago lanceolata Potentila ternate Rumex acetosa Rumex acetosella Ranunculus acer Taraxacum officinale Thymus pulegioides Tragopogon pratensis Veronica chamaedrys Veronica officinalis Viola tricolor Forbs Number of species Shannon Index (SI) 1 2 Plant ADm1 degree % V1 + 5 1 2 2 1 1 2 30 18 1. among them the fertilization with stable manure being the most important one [26]. Previous research. 31]. The grassland type of the untreated witness is Agrostis capillaris L Festuca rubra L The productivity of the respective meadows is very low.01 Table 8.93 V5 + + 3 4 + 2 + 2 62 26 2.41* 1. and usage. V1 is control. 19.52* V4 + + + + 2 + + 23 + 65 25 1. *= P<0. and the number of species ranges from 20 up 24.15* V6 + + + + 5 + 1 1 3 + + + 35 31 V7 + + + + + 4 + + 10 + 38 28 V8 2 2 + 2 4 + 5 + 38 26 2.

in the case of vinas‐ sa with total application in spring. using “vinassa” as a fertilizer. there was a steady increase in dry matter production (Ta‐ ble 9). In 2002 we noticed that the uneven distribution of rainfall during the vegetation period. ranged from 3. when due to bad weather conditions.15 t ha-1 at 5 t ha-1. The experiment was conducted on a permanent pasture of Festuca valesiaca. The meadow of Festuca valesiaca positively reacted to the use of “vinassa” by-prod‐ uct in normal vegetation conditions. In 2002 the recorded productions were lower than in 2001. determines production increase. The exception was 2002. the productions recorded a slight decrease in comparison with 2000. being statistically ensured.18 Organic Farming and Food Production The floristic structure of the trated variants is significantly correlated with the general cover. Vinassa used as a fertilizer on Festuca valesiaca grassland The objective of this study was to identify new opportunities to improve the permanent grassland. The administration of technological inouts produces a considerable decrease of the phytodiversity. the production increased between 23 and 69% (2 t ha-1 “vinassa” and 7 t ha-1 “vinassa”). in 2000. statistically ensured of 23-69% (2 t ha-1 “vinassa” and 7 t ha-1 “vinassa”) at total application in spring and 13-46% in fractionated ad‐ ministration (2 t ha-1 “vinassa”).5 to 7. in the layer of 0-20 cm.99 t ha-1 DM.86 t ha-1 at 7 t ha-1 “vinassa”.25. in variants with total application of the sub-product in spring.07 t ha-1 in the control samples and 4. 2001 was characterized by in‐ creased lawn productivity in both applications of vinassa. The soil was of cambic chernozem type with loam-clay texture. but also the results were conditioned by the climatic factors. mainly water shortages in spring.6-1. mobile potassium (KAL) of 333-400 ppm.22-4. while the fractional application yielded smaller increases of 13-39% (2 t ha-1 “vinassa” and 7 t ha-1 “vinassa”). with increased production for the variants of full implementation in spring when the average productions were 5. In 2000. located on a land with a slope of 7-11% in 2000. In comparison to the control sample. low leachated with pH values from 6. 3. especially in case of the variants treated with larger quantities of fertilizers [27]. the productions ranged from 3.97 t ha-1 in the control sample and 10. Thus.3. the humus of 3.35 t ha-1 DM in the control sample and 3. The administration of the by-product was made after the dilution with water in 1:5 ratio and the way of using lawn was that of a grassland. the production. The analysis of the average productions obtained in the three years shows that “vinassa” sub-product had a positive effect on the productivity of meadows. to 7 t ha-1 “vinassa”. in the variants with fractional application of fertilizers. positively influenced the produc‐ tion increases. Using the “vinassa” sub-product as nitrogen-potassium fertilizer on permanent meadows of Festuca valesiaca L. that is heavy rains in the second half of the year. During the three years of study. . The content in mobile phosphorus (PAL) was of 28-46 ppm.85% and total nitrogen (Nt) of 0. due to less favorable weather conditions.1. especially in the variants with fractional application.

Conclusions Organic farming is a dynamic sector in Romania recording an upward trend.39 8. The highest biodiversity was found in the grassland from Pojorata.04 7.24 10.93 4. productivity and quality.07 10. Fertilization with manure contributed to the improvement of the botanical structure by in‐ creasing the percent of grasses.24 3. ***=P≤0.07 3.06 8. **=P≤0.29* 6. Influence of vinassa on production of dry matter a meadow of Festuca valesiaca [32].17 7. One of the essential conditions for the development of organic farming is to promote the concept of organic farming so as to make the consumer aware of the benefits of organic food consumption.17 7.47 9.97 5.06 8.95 5. has contributed to obtaining rather high productions and conservation of the biodiversity of the meadows from Romania.86 6.10** 7. 4.99 3.001.49 5.94 6.92 5.45* 6.16 6.44 3.67 ns 5.59 5.74 5.77*** 8.58* 6.63 2001 t ha-1 5.15 3. both in the vegetal and animal production sector in recent years.36 3.86 8.67 8. characterized in time by low inputs and stability. covered with Festuca valesiaca.47 9.doi.38 ns 5. covered with 45 species of Agrostis capillaris + Festuca rubra.90 3. The fertilization of mountain grasslands with organic fertilizers leads to an improvement in terms biodiversity.03 % 100 123 132 136 149 164 169 146 100 113 120 122 130 136 139 127 a1 4 5 6 7 Average 1 2 3 a2 4 5 6 7 Average *=P≤0.54 9.80 3.5772/52006 19 Period Variant 1 2 3 2000 t ha-1 3.28 Average 2000-2002 t ha-1 4.40 7.65 7. thus disfavouring the leguminous plants.01*** 6.01. ns= not significant Table 9.60 4.97 8.63 5.76 ns 6. compared to 40 species found in the grassland from Ezareni.48 9.69 3.76 3. The used manage‐ ment.47 3.16 ns 6.45* 7.05.11 8.59 3.35 3.75 6. .08 6.02* 6.18 2002 t ha-1 4.48 9.94 8.Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania http://dx.

Production was influenced by climatic conditions. and by diminishing the CF con‐ tent from 285. on land considered to be regionally representative of large parts of the Romania.3 g kg-1 DM. Trifolium pratense and Trifolium repens) and forbs. The results presented in this study.3 to 228. indicated that fertilization treatments were able to maintain a high diver‐ sity of species. improving its quality significantly. this being also caused by less favora‐ ble climatic conditions.. The period of vinassa application.65 .41 to 2. fertilizer application rate and the combination fertilizers applied. Long-term enhancement of agri‐ cultural production by restoration of biodiversity. 44(1). the total phosphorus from 1. M. Journal of applied ecology. Author details Samuil Costel * and Vintu Vasile *Address all correspondence to: csamuil@uaiasi. 6-12. The best results were obtained when using doses of 6-7 t ha-1 “vinassa”. when fractioning. The application of 20-50 Mg ha-1 manure determined important changes in the flower com‐ position as well. The administration of “vinassa” sub-product in doses of 4-7 t ha-1 by 1:5 dilution with water does not determine spectacular increases in the production of DM. J.22 g kg-1 DM and ash from University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Iasi. & Walker.6 g kg-1 DM (control) to 108. Pywell. thus increasing fodder digestibility. F. (2007). K.2 to 83. applied once every 2 years). R. the dosage used and the climatic conditions affect the productivity of permanent meadows.20 Organic Farming and Food Production The fertilization of Nardus stricta grasslands with 20-50 Mg ha-1 manure influenced the yield increase by 40-212% and brought along important changes in the chemical composition of fodder. Romania References [1] Bullock.. by increasing the CP content from 62.5 (30 Mg ha-1 manure.01 t ha-1 DM). the vinassa production was low‐ er than in variants with total application in spring. In quantitative terms we noticed that. with total application in spring (7. Using a low input-based management system can be a sol‐ ution that will lead to higher yields and contribute to biodiversity conservation. .8.1 g kg-1. by lowering the percentage of Nardus stricta species from 70% to 14-33% and increasing the percentage of legumes (Lotus corniculatus. J.

A simplifies for characteristing agronomic services provided by species-rich grasslands. 34(6). Grass and Forage Science. INRA. M.Environmental Impact and Yield of Permanent Grasslands: An Example of Romania http://dx.. Editor McGillo‐ way D. (2010). & Oomes. 61(5).Z. [11] Ionel.. M. P.. [13] Janssens. Halga.. Strategy of organic fertilizer use on permanent grassland.V. P. B.. P. syn‐ these des résultats d’essais multilocaux et de longue durée.. A. J. P. 62(2). [7] Hector.. [5] Elsaesser. M. V.. M.. Bull. 580-582. J.5772/52006 21 [2] Cardaşol. The Rengen Grassland Experiment: Plant species composition after 64 years of fertilizer applica‐ tion. . B. Tallowin. Lucrări ştiinţifice. 163-173. Plant and soil. Enhance‐ ment of botanical diversity of permanent grassland and impact on hay production in Environmentally Sensitive Areas in the UK.. A. 81-91. R. Grassland Science in Europe. F. 295-304.. Szakova. R. & Theau.. (2002). C. P. 54. Johnson. & Honsova. Klaudisova. J. [12] Isselstein. France. & Venerus. and their uptake. Griffith.results of a 22-year-old experiment on meadow and mowingpasture. 862-866.. Vinasse”. R. Relationships between biodiversity and production in grasslands at local and regional scales. & Bowling... S. S. P. J. M.A. [6] Haden. Aliments liquides a base de vinasse de levurerie et sans urée pour compléter les rations de fourages pauvres distribuées a des genisses d’élevage”. [10] Hopkins.fertilizant şi aditiv furaj‐ er. H. [4] Duru. A.. Peut-on augmenter la diversité botanique d’une prairie perma‐ nente en supprimant la fumure? Revue Suisse d’Agriculture. 163-179. [9] Hejcman.R. (1998). [8] Hejcman. Vintu. 420-433. G. (2007). 13.. (1994). Pywell. J. (2008).. Nutritive value of herbage and livestock performance.. 259-266.. Tech. C. Biodiversity evaluation in agricultural landscapes: An approach at two different scales. (2007). Crop and pasture science. J. M. amount of el‐ ements applied. 43-44. 202(1). 62(2-3). J. Bekker. Editura “Ion Ionescu de la Brad” Iaşi. G. Peeters.. & Briemle. (1999). (1997). 287-292. F. The Rengen Grassland Experiment: relatioship between soil and biomass chemical properties. Grassland: A Global Resource. F.. [14] Jeangros. A.-Teix. & Loreau. Ecosystems and Environment. A.. P. J. Plant and soil. (2010). Schellberg. M. Seria Zootehnie. R. Agriculture ecosystems and environment. & Samuil. 69-78. H. D. M. Agriculture. 139.. Cruz. B. 383-390. Relationship between soil chemical factors and grassland di‐ versity.doi. & Jourmet. J. Bakker. Pradel.. (2005). M. Fertilisation organique des prairies permanentes roumaines. M.. Peel. & Tlustos. P. Grass and Forage Science. Kunz. 333(1-2). 122. (1980). Effects of livestock breed and grazing intensity on biodiversity and production in grazing systems. Revue Fourrages. V. (2000). Schellberg. [3] Duelli. Fillat.. 145-158.

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it can be assumed that the area is larger than shown here [1]. Common oat is mostly used as a fodder crop [9].) in particular. There is a relatively wide range of use of oat. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( and reproduction in any medium. Oat is one of the most suitable cereal species for organic farming [6]. The organically grown bread wheat yield rate achieves 62 % of the conventionally grown bread wheat. 0. It is the second most frequent crop (just after bread wheat) in the Czech organic farming system. Petr Konvalina. Naked oat is a suitable food crop [8].org/licenses/by/3. China and the Russian Federation) did not provide land use details. Wheat (Triticum L..0).26 t. Evženie Prokinová. which permits unrestricted use.000 hectares and its average yield rate represents 2. Comparing this figure with FAO’s figure for the world’s har‐ vested cereal area of 384 million hectares [2]. it is a suitable crop for organic farming in Central Europe [7]. The common oat growing area represents 5.5772/53073 1. it represented almost 25 % of the organic farming land [3]. Foreign literary sources often mention the organically grown bread wheat achieving up to 80 % of the yield rate pro‐ vided by the conventionally grown bread wheat [5]. It is grown on a total area of more than 700 000 ha [1].5 t/ha [3]. Ladislav Bláha and Martin Káš Additional information is available at the end of the chapter http://dx. As for the conven‐ tional farming. Bread wheat is the most important crop in the Czech Republic as well. Introduction At least 1.ha-1 [4]. the same as in conventional farming. An or‐ ganically grown bread wheat provides a low yield rate (3. licensee InTech.doi. is the most frequent crop in organic farming.8 million hectares of main cereal species are under organic management (includ‐ ing in-conversion areas). Dagmar Janovská. As some of the world’s large cereal producers (such as India. distribution. provided the original work is properly cited.ha-1) [3]. © 2012 Capouchová et al. Zdeněk Stehno. Hana Honsová. As it has low require‐ ments on growing conditions.Chapter 2 Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production Ivana Capouchová. In 2010. the yield rate amounts to 5.24 t.) in general and bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.5 percent of the total cereal area is under or‐ ganic management. .

Organic farmers may use certified organic seeds or farm seed in order to establish the crop stand. is considered and granted by a public authority (it is usually an accredited organisational unit of the Czech Ministry of Agriculture). Such fees are lower than the standard price for the license (it is even included in the price for the certified organic seeds). each member state of the Euro‐ pean Union has regularized the amount of the fees with legislative regulations. 834/2007 of the 28th of June 2007.1. An application for an exception to be made. . The total amount of exceptions tends to be limited. Seed multiplication is an extreme‐ ly difficult process. and are binding for all member states of the European Union. Conventional seed use If there are not any organic seeds available. of the 5th of September 2008. For this reason. They lay down the law to solely use organic seeds in order to estab‐ lish organic crop stands. The fees (which are usually obligatory but reasonable) for the application of the farm seeds and pota‐ to seedlings are not obligatory for small farmers. and the Commission Regulation (EC) No. a question of quality in various provenances of seed is to be answered in this chapter. however. The seed must originate from plants being grown in compliance with the organic farming rules for at least one generation. the seed needn't be treated with any plant treatment. They may also apply for an exception (derogation) and use the conventional un‐ treated seed. etc. 889/2008. Moreover.2. a farmer must pay fees to the owner of the breeding rights. Farm saved seed use Use of the farm seeds (the seeds produced at a own organic farm) is allowed and any obliga‐ tory application for authorization is not required. Legislation of use of seed in organic farming The Council Regulation (EC) No. or left from the previous farming years.26 Organic Farming and Food Production The paragraph above indicates a lower productivity of the organically grown cereal crop stands. The reproduction crop stand and seed must meet the requirements of the seed certification and authorization procedure as conventional plants and seed do. 2. are the most important Europe‐ an legislative instructions addressing organic farming. A farmer should. which are not allowed by the organic farming regu‐ lation. A deficiency of certified organic seeds and a serious necessity of an application of own farm saved seed are the factors that might provoke it. seeds coming from the conventional crop stands are allowed. 2. but organic farming does not allow the use of any pesticides or mineral nitrogenous fertilizers.regarding the use of the conventional seeds within the organic farming system. 2. If the farm seeds of a registered variety are used. but there is a deficiency of the organic seeds available on the market. Anyway. take into ac‐ count that repeated application of the farm seeds may have a negative effect on the yield rate and health of the crop stand.

281 ha). the farmer has to provide proof at a review he was put under. The total area of land where the organic cereals are grown amounts to almost 30.1. e. If the variety is missing in the official Data‐ base.Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production http://dx. Before registering the variety (i. covers only 12.ha-1. Arable land. nevertheless. There is a list of the obligatory items: the scientific name of the species and variety.920 and the organic farms cover a total area of 482. 3.27 % of the total area (it means 59. the farmer must prove his seeds meet all the legislative requirements for reproductive material.ha-1.000 ha. It has arisen from the previous setting of subventional instruments but also the fact that the arable land farming has always been very difficult and required specific knowledge. 3.3. bread wheat – 3. A producer or a supplier of the organic seeds is obliged to insert all the varieties into the Database (the variety missing in the Database is considered as an unavaila‐ ble variety). oat – 2. inserting it into the Database). the amount of seeds.ha-1. rye – 2.ha-1. The number of Czech organic farms amounts to 3.ha-1. the country which the variety has been registered in.26 t. Information on the availability of the certified organic seeds Each member state of the European Union is obliged to set up „a database of organic seeds“ (Database). The control system must comply with the regulations of the European Union. Production of cereal seeds .82 t.927 ha which represents 11. In 2010. certified seed and the range of seed at the market.5772/53073 27 2. Although it belongs to the most demanding cereal species. Supply of organic seeds in the Czech Republic Data concerning the structure of multiplication crop stands. The above-mentioned data reflect an unsuitable structure of the organic farming. There is a list of the certified organic seeds databases available in EU member states (Table 1).82 t.54 t. an exception can be granted and the conventional seeds are allowed to be applied.ha-1. Moreover. it is able to provide an even higher yield rate than the other organically grown cereal species ( were obtained from the Department of seed and planting materials of the Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture and the Ministry of Agricul‐ ture of the Czech Republic. barley – 2.40 % of the whole agricultural land area [4]. all the above-mentioned yield rate values were measured in 2010). triticale – 2.95 t.An example from the Czech Republic An increasing number of existing organic farms indicates that certified organic farming has been becoming more and more attractive. the date the seeds have been available from. Data inserted into the Database are regu‐ larly updated. Each member state of the European Union has set up its own database. spelt wheat – 2. . g.872 ha of the organic land and rep‐ resented 22 % of all the organically grown cereal species in the Czech Republic [4].91 t. it covered 8.doi. the supplier’s name and contact. the name and number code of the control institution which has executed the least control and has issued the certifi‐ cate on the organic seeds and potato seedlings. Bread wheat is the most frequent cereal species grown in accordance with the organic farm‐ ing principles in the Czech Republic. http://www.008 t of seed to plant the entire area of cereals in a particular http://www.semences-biologiques.organicxseeds. It means we would need a multiplication area of http://www.ha-1[10]. http://www.94 http://www. It is unrealistic that 100% of grown seed will .organicxseeds.703 ha pro‐ viding that 100% of the seed were certified as organic http://www.5 % (349 ha) of the total organic land area in 2009 in the Czech Republic.evira.28 Organic Farming and Food Production Country Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Luxembourg Netherlands Poland Portugal Slovak Republic Slovenia Spain Sweden United Kingdom Link http://www. Database of the certified organic seeds registered in each member state of the European Union (data updated within 1st July 2012) Between 2008/09 and 2010/11 there was a gradual increase in the land area used for or‐ ganic cereal seed http://www.magrama. we would need Table http://www. seed were repro‐ duced on 20.plant.dgadr.dlbr. the average grain yield of organic cereals in the Czech Republic represented 2.5% of the required land http://www.nebih. Regarding the average model seeding rate of 220 http://www. they represented In 2009. In

The range of the reproduced organic cereal species is very narrow. this winter wheat was grown on 125 ha of land. 90. In the same year.664 t of seed were granted (Table 3).95 t of the winter wheat seed were certified as organic. The share of each seed type is presented in Figure 1. the organic farmers also used their own (saved) seed in order to establish the crop stands.ha-1 = 1. amount of conventional untreated seed = 1.227 ha . Since 2009. However.7. Seed production and certified seed offered in the Czech Republic The use of organic seed becomes more important in many European countries thanks to the legislative measures and increasing demand for the organic products [11].5772/53073 29 be certified as organic. nevertheless. It means that the major part of the harvested material did not meet the requirements of the seed certification procedure (same as the major part of the other ce‐ real species). Except for the certi‐ fied organic seed (Table 2) and conventional untreated seed (Table 3).22 t. 2008-2009 Species 2009-2010 2010-20112 Seed production NV 4 1 3 3 8 8 28 40 254 2 2 1 2 18 ha 102 15 143 20 45 37 15 44 422 Seed production Certified seed Seed production Certified seed NV 1 ha 72 13 66 21 28 27 227 NV 4 1 2 1 2 10 t 73 23 159 21 23 299 NV 7 2 2 1 1 2 2 17 ha 125 89 26 18 8 34 50 349 NV 5 2 1 1 2 2 13 t 91 79 Winter wheat Spring wheat Spelt Spring barley Triticale Winter rye Naked oat Oat Total 5 1 2 2 2 2 14 Remark: 1NV = number of varieties. It is.762 ha .org/10. The area of grown cereals represent‐ ed 22.664 t/ seeding rate of 0.277 ha of the seeded surface.1. There is not enough information on the applied amount of farm saved seed.564 ha of the sown surface. Therefore.564 ha = 13.Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production http://dx. organic farmers have asked for permit to use a lot of conventional untreated seed. In 2009. A comparison between the allowed multiplication land surface and amounts of allowed winter wheat seed shows that the major part of harvested seed have not been certified as organic seed in 2009 (Table 2).971 ha where the farm saved seed were used. However.doi.ha-1 = 7. one of the most developing parts of organic agriculture [12]. The growing of the suitable varieties on the local farm land and under local climatic condi‐ tions is strongly limited. 2no seed certified Table 2. the following model amount of seeds was used for 2009: amount of certified organic seed = 281 t/seeding rate of 0. 398 exceptions for 1. the total supply of . because of limited organic seed availability.22 t.

consultan‐ cy. [15]. The questionnaires were converted into electronic ver‐ sions and assessed by the contingency tables in the Excel program. Exceptions for conventional untreated seed use in the Czech Republic Figure 1.30 Organic Farming and Food Production organic seed is still quite low. The farmers were asked to answer nine questions. 329 questionnaires were sent to organic farmers working on arable land. The seed certification process is very demanding. The high proportion of common farm seed coming from re‐ peated seeding contributes to a reduction of the yield rate of the crop stands [13].cz/Folders/2295-1-Ekologicke+osivo. of which 42% were sent back. A further part of the questionnaire aimed to find out how organic farmers find and gather information on seeds.ukzuz. Preference and expectations of the Czech organic farmers related to seeds A questionnaire survey was carried out between 2009 and 2010. The obligation to document the absence . 2009 Number of exceptions 66 5 47 86 23 161 398 Seed (t) 271 78 129 651 12 523 1664 2010 Number of exceptions 112 9 77 76 20 174 468 Seed (t) 515 8 319 455 42 444 1783 Species Bread wheat Spelt Barley Triticale Rye Oat Total Table 3. The main information resources are as follow: the internet.aspx) is al‐ so frequently used by the organic farmers (Table 4). from the Association of Organic Farmers and seed companies. etc. The official database of the certified organic seed (http://www. as the organic seed undergo the review of the Cen‐ tral Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture of organic farming [14]. but organic farming regulations do not allow the use of any pesticides. Seed use in organic farming in the Czech Republic (2009) (%) 3.2.

Rows were 125 mm wide.European Council Regulation (EC) No. The plots were treated in compliance with European legislation . I use the database Yes.) – Neklan and Vok vari‐ eties. Methods Field trials were sown during the experimental years 2010 and 2011 in a randomized. com‐ plete block design on organic certified trial field in two locations in Prague (Czech Universi‐ ty of Life Sciences Prague. the conventional un‐ treated seeds (C) and the organic farm seeds (Farm seed I. The following ce‐ reals species were tested in the research trials and analysed: bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.1. I sometimes use I know but I do not use I have no access Others 51 16 20 7 6 Table 4. Only 14% of the farms explicitly prefer conventional untreated seed. 4.Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production http://dx.).1. I would not I do not know 75 14 11 Reason for farm saved seed use (%) Suitability of varieties Seed price Transport distance Supply Others 16 37 18 24 5 Use of organic seed database (%) Yes.1. . and spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L. Organic farmers‘ attitudes to seed issues 4. The suitabili‐ ty of varieties and transport distance are other reasons for the farm saved seed preference (Table 4). Crop Research Institute in Prague) and in Ceske Budejovice (University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice). 834/2007 and European Commission Regulation (EC) No.. Quality of organic seed – Results of experiments Data and outcomes being analysed in this chapter have resulted from the trials executed by the authors. is one of the important reasons. and they are described in detail below.) – SW Kadrilj variety. B) results of the field trials. 889/2008. Most of the organic farmers (75% of the farms) would prefer the certified organic seed if the supply was sufficient and prices favourable (Table 4).5772/53073 31 of the certified organic seed when applying for a exception in the conventional untreated seed use. 4. naked oat (Avena nuda L. Farm seed II. The seeding rate was adjusted for a density of 350 germinable grains per m2. They are based on A) results of standard seed laboratory test (biological traits and health). I would Would you prefer organic seed ? (%) Yes.doi. Three categories of seeds were collected in the Czech Republic: the certified organic seeds (O).) –Izak and Saul varieties. two varieties of hulled oat (Avena sativa L.) –Pribina variety. Material Used varieties and seed provenances are described in Table 5.

conventional untreated (C). soil type . Mixed colonies were cleaned and sorted before the determination. Laboratory germination and energy of germination (before seeding and after harvest): 100 caryopses of each sample were used and repeated four times. altitude of 295 m. they were put into plastic bowls with perforated caps. four times. there‐ fore. The Crop Research Institute in Prague . kind of soil . Analyses of seed contamination with fungi (before seeding and after harvest): The method of isolation of micromycets inside an cultivation media was applied in order to evaluate the rate of grain contamination with microscopic fungi. kind of soil . Seven days later.brown soil. 3 cm deep. soil type – pseudogley cambisols. The number of isolated colonies was visually determined. Incubation lasted from seven to ten days and it was run in a dark room and in a temperature of 20oC. The University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice (48°98´N.clay and loamy soil. Laboratory emergence and energy of emergence (before seeding and after harvest): 100 car‐ yopses of each sample were put in coarse sand. Farm saved seed from worse growing conditions (Farm seed II. altitude of 340 m. the laboratory emergence was deter‐ mined by deduction of the emerged caryopses.32 Organic Farming and Food Production Crop Naked oat Cultivar Saul Izák Vok Neklan SW Kadrilj Pribina Seed provenance Organic certified (EC). The caryopses were put onto the sand layer. altitude of 388 m. Each sample was repeated five times.loamy clay soil. Farm saved seed from better growing conditions (Farm seed I. clean isolates of fungi were determined. soil type . A universal cultivation media .Ruzyne (50°08´N.degraded chernozem.) Hulled oat Bread wheat Barley Table 5.).14°30´E): warm mid-dry climate. kind of soil . Analysed cultivars and provenances Characteristics of the trial stations: The Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (50°04 ´N. they were slightly pressed and covered with dry sand. there were ten grains included in each repetition.14°62´E): warm and mid-dry climate. 14°45´E): Mild warm climate. the en‐ ergy of emergence was assessed.loamy sand soil. The energy of germi‐ nation was assessed four days later (by counting of usual germinated caryopses).HiMedia) was used in the experiment.PDA (Potato Dextrose Agar . and 14 days later. Laborato‐ ry germination was assessed by the same procedure eight days later. on wet folded filtration paper. The laboratory emergence was determined at the temperature of 15°C. the determination of micro‐ mycets was executed with microscopes and it was based on the microscopical morphological traits. . A 1 cm wide wet sand layer (characterised by 60% humidity) was placed at the bottom of the bowl. The bowls were placed into a ventilated air-conditioned box where 20°C was the inside temperature.

fungi. which caused a higher rate of grain contamina‐ tion. a difference in the occurrence rate of Fusarium spp. As for the following seed generation (Tables 9 and 10). As for the following seed generation. The hulled oat was more seriously contaminated than the naked oat. [16] gives a possible explanation.g. The seeds were most seriously affected by Penicillium spp.. Inc. They were not affected by any other pathogens being trasmitted by seeds No varieties or localities were affected by any diseases being caused by the pathogens we had determined on the seeds. colonies.doi. The individual varieties were affected by a similar situation. it was not significantly influenced by the seed origin – Tukey HSD test (P < 0. There were not any significant correlations between the microscopical fungi contamination rate and the biological traits of seeds (Table 11). it was caused by a . Regres‐ sion and correlation analyses provided the evaluation of interdependence. Oat (Avena sativa L. The research was aimed also at the detection of the transmission of fungi micromycets onto the following seed generation.we found that the seed contamination rate was not influenced by the growing technology ap‐ plied on the parent seed crop stands (Tables 6 and 7). The total rate of contamination of the caryopses with microscopical fungi was influenced by weather conditions during vegetation period. farm seeds originating from or‐ ganic production) seen from the seed origin point of view. The hulled oat is harvested despite the affected hulls. The common oat caryopses‘affection was double to the naked oat caryopses. The hulled oat was more seriously affected than the naked oat. The influence of seed health conditions on an expansion of diseases throughout the growing period has not yet been ascertained.). The microscopical fungi occurrence is stronger on the surface of hulls. When studying and evaluating the first generation of seed. conventional untreated seeds. Alternaria spp.05) (Tukey HSD test)..) occurring on the seeds before to direct seeding.. whereas the naked oat caryopses lose their hulls during harvest. Rhizopus nigricans was also detected in most of the samples. the harvested grains are less contaminated with fungi. Avena sativa var. colonies between the oat species has been found out. We have also detected a positive middle correlation between the occurrence of Alternaria spp.5772/53073 33 The Statistica 9. Differences in Alternaria spp. There were negligible differences between the seed catego‐ ries (certified organic seeds. The comparison of varieties and their division into statistically different categories were provided by the Tu‐ key HSD test. Neklan was the most seriously affected variety.05). nuda) Results of the evaluation of the microscopical fungi occurrence on seeds. 4. 6. are shown in Table 6.. occurrence rate between the individual oat species were detected (P < 0. The hulled oat was more seriously affected because of the harvest of grains covered with the contaminated hulls [16].3 colonies per 10 grains – this was the mean number of colonies (Fusarium spp. Results of the correlation analysis (Table 8) show a strong relationship between the individual biological traits. Both oat species were characterised by a similar rate of contamination with the other micro‐ scopical fungi species (e. Penicillium spp. therefore.2. USA) program was used for statistical data analysis.Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production http://dx. The year of 2010 had been wetter. Penicillium spp. germination and emergence rate. found out by isola‐ tion and cultivation of colonies on the cultivation media.0 (StatSoft.

1±3.2a 4.0±0. colonies usually leads to a reduction of germination and emergence.8 a 0.3a 1.0±1.8b 1. The detected amount of Fusarium spp.0±0.1±2.3±0.6±0. Fusarium spp. nevertheless. rele‐ vant to oat which is extensive [17] and less bred than the other cereal species.4a 0.7±2.2a 5.0 a 0.1±3.1±0.3b 3. colonies/10 grains) 2.4a 5.2a 0. (no.1±0.8±3. does not stipulate any limits of the rate of occurrence of Fusarium for oat grains. that makes ideal conditions for an expansion of the fungi pathogens [16]. the occurrence of Fusarium spp.4b 0. as these fungi are considered as waste disposal pathogens. The strong rate of caryopses‘ contamination with Penicillium spp.7±2.5±0.5±0.4a 4.8 Remark: Different letters show the statistical differences in Tukey HSD test between varieties.4±0.6±0.6 a Factor Alternaria spp. Such a finding is. colonies did not cause any serious reduction of germination or emergence during the trials.2±2.2±0.0a 3. colonies/10 grains) 4.3a 0.7±0. As for the other cereal species. The average rate of contamination of the nak‐ ed oat grains with Fusarium reached 1.0±0. whereas it reached 8.7±1.9 Oat 0.7 a 0. However. The experiment has also shown that the rate of contamination with Fusarium did not reach the limit of 10 percent in the organic farming system in 2011 either.9±1. which played a posi‐ tive role for Fusarium expansion within spikes.4a 4.3 percent in 2011.6a 0. We have based our research on the fact that the same limit may be accepted by oat too. (no.3 percent .6±0. 369/2009).7±3.2a 4. The contamination of caryopses with Fusarium spp. Table 6.7a 1.5a 2. Contamination of seed by microscopic fungi colonies .6a 2. (no.6a 0.3±0.05. did not have any negative effect on the seeds. colonies was surprising.2±0. P < 0. was one of the studied and evaluated pathogens.7 b Penicillium spp. The Czech legal notice on the marketing of cereal seeds (Regulation No.5 1. the limit of 10 % has been set by law.3±2.seed before seeding (mean + SD) Our research has not ascertained any transmission of micromycets or pathogens onto the emerged plants or the following seed generation either.6 a 1. The contami‐ nation of seeds with Penicillium spp.1a 1.5±4. the year of 2011 was characterised by a high precipitation rate in June and July. based on the European Union legislation.5 a 1.8±0.34 Organic Farming and Food Production fact that the hulled oat caryopses get less dry.5±0.4 a 1.7 a 0.6a 4.8±0. colonies/10 grains) Hulled Naked Izak Variety Saul Vok Neklan Organic Seed Conventional Farm saved seed Year Total 2010 2011 0.5±0.4±0.3±2. Concerning the health conditions of seeds.8a 2.4a 3.5±0.5 a 2.

5±0.36ns Remark: *P <0.6±0.05.32ns 0.5772/53073 35 within the common oat grains the same year.01.2± 78±25 84±19 67±21 74±21 1 2 3 4 5 6 -0.10 0.41* 0.5 1. a parcel rid of post-harvest residues. ns not significant. Therefore.05. Results of the correlation analysis (seed before seeding) .04ns 0. We have to take the rate of occurrence of Penicillium spp.83** 0. Penicillium spp. into account. such principles in‐ clude a good-quality cropping.doi. Energy of Germination (%) 77±24a 78±28 93±7 a Factor Parameter Hulled Naked Izak Germination (%) 85±13a 82±25 96±2 a Energy of Emergence (%) 69±12a 65±28 84±4 a Emergence (%) 78±11a 71±28a 87±3b 55±3a 73±13ab 82±8ab 74±21a 79±24a 70±18a 82±6a 66±27a 74±21 Oat a a b Variety Saul Vok Neklan Organic 63±33a 69±30 a 68±29a 81±16 a 46±30a 65±12 ab 85±14a 75±30 a 90±8a 84±18 a 74±10ab 67±21 a Seed Conventional Farm seed 86±25a 71±21 92±8 a 88±23a 79±17 93±7 a 73±25a 62±19 73±7 a Year Total 2010 2011 a a a 63±29b 78±25 75±23b 84±19 61±28a 67±21 Remark: Different letters show the statistical differences in Tukey HSD test between varieties.29 * 0. it is highly recommended to use own farm saved seed in order to establish a crop stand if there is a deficiency of the certified organic seeds. According to [14].86** 0.Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production http://dx.95** 0. P < 0.23ns -0.07 ns 0.seed before seeding (mean + SD) Parameter Fusarium spp. How‐ ever.33ns 0. **P <0.24ns -0.42 0.10ns -0.2EE = energy of emergence Table 8.98** ns ns Emergence(%) 0.97** 0.35 ns 0. Table 7. Biological traits .44* 0. Alternaria spp. the proper farm seeds must come from the crop stands being grown in accordance with the principles of rmultiplication agrotechnology.1EG = energy of germination.93** 0.33ns 0. ideal land-climatic con‐ ditions. EG1(%) Germination(%) EE (%) 2 Mean+SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 0. etc.9 4. a careful harvest.

3±1.9a 3.9 0.7a 0. Table 10. Contamination of seed by microscopical fungi colonies .0a 2.05.2±0.0b 4.5a 2.4a 4.3 3.1a 4.8a 1.7 a a a a a Alternaria spp.harvested seed (mean + SD) .8±1. colonies/10 grains) 1.6±2.5±2.7 1. (no. Farm Year 2010 2011 CULS Locality Total USB CRI Energy of Germination (%) 88±17a 92±5a 93±4 a Germination (%) 90±16a 93±4a 95±3 a Energy of Emergence (%) 78±14a 78±11a 81±8 a Emergence (%) 84±13a 85±8a 88±4a 83±12a 82±10a 87±15a 86±10a 84±5a 85±16a 86±7a 84±14a 86±8a 87±4a 82±17a 85±11 90±13a 84±5a 92±20 a 92±10a 87±4a 94±20 a 75±13a 76±13a 81±15 a 90±12a 89±8a 90±16a 93±4b 87±16a 91±4a 94±4a 85±20a 90±12 93±9a 91±7a 92±16a 95±3b 89±15a 93±4a 95±3a 87±18a 92±11 79±12a 76±5a 78±17a 77±7a 79±16a 80±9a 82±7a 73±17a 78±12 Remark: Different letters show the statistical differences in Tukey HSD test between varieties.6a 3.1±0.0±0. P < 0.5ab 0.2±2. Biological traits of seed .05.7±0.6±3.7a 0.7±2.9±0.6a 3.8 1.7±0.2±2.9a 3.8b 0.8a 2.9b 1.4±1.6±2.2±2.9±2.8a 3.3±2.9±2.1a 2.4±0.9a 4.0a 2.8a 1.2±0. P < 0.1b 3.harvested seed (mean + SD) Factor Oat Hulled Naked Izak Variety Saul Vok Neklan Organic Seed Conv. (no.2b 2.0 1.3a 3.0±0.7±2.3±2.9b 4.8 a a a a a Penicilium spp.6a 3.3±1.5a 1.3 Remark: Different letters show the statistical differences in Tukey HSD test between varieties.4a 3. colonies/10 grains) 4.6±0.6±2.8a 3.7±3.3±2.0a 0.4±1.4±2.7 3.5±2.3±3.9±1.0 3.4±2.6 3.4±0.4±2.9±2.36 Organic Farming and Food Production Factor Oat Hulled Naked Izak Variety Saul Vok Neklan Organic Seed Conventional Farm saved seed Year 2010 2011 CULS Locality Total USB CRI Fusarium spp.5±2.8±0.8a 3.7 1.2±3.8 3. (no.5±1. Table 9.6±1.colonies/10 grains) 2.3±0.4a 4.

5±2. and Alternaria spp. Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum 0.05ns 0. The experiments aimed at the evaluation of selected diseases and seed quali‐ ty were organised in 3 localities for 2 years (2010 and 2011).0±1. (seed before seeding) Factor Year Seed origin 2010 2011 Organic Conventional Farm seed Total Energy of Germination (%) 98±1a 82±25 98±2 96±1 a a a Germination (%) 98±1a 86±20 98±2 97±0 a a a Energy of Emergence (%) 78±2a 68±32 83±5 54±31 82±7 a a a Emergence (%) 79±1a 74±26a 83±5a 61±24a 85±7a 77±17 76±32 81±26 a a a 90±18 92±15 73±21 Table 13.5a 1.2a 0. farm saved seed and conventional untreated) whose health state and quality is described in Tables 12 and 13.16ns -0.11ns -0.47** -0.05. ns not significant.6±2.01ns -0.4±1. Penicilium spp.5 a Alternaria spp.01ns -0.) The spring wheat cultivar SW Kadrilj registered in the Czech Republic has been selected as a model variety.1a 0.0a 0.03ns 0.3.01ns -0.0±1. Biological traits (seed before seeding) .4±1.93** Remark: *P <0.0 Table 12.12ns 0.99** 0.2±0. Factor Year 2010 2011 Organic Seed origin Conventional Farm saved seed Total Fusarium spp.8±1.4a 2.0 0.7a 1.0a 0.Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production http://dx.6±0. colonies/10 grains) 2.01.03ns 0.8 3.04ns -0.07ns 0.1±0.5±1.7±1. (no.83** 0. EG1 (%) Germination (%) EE2 (%) Emergence (%) 6 1 2 3 4 5 Mean + SD 1.doi. Results of the correlation analysis (harvested seed) 4.2EE = energy of emergence Table 11.84** 0.5±0.5772/53073 37 Parameter Fusarium spp. **P <0.3a 1.3 3.7±1.06ns 0.72** 0. Contamination of seed with Fusarium spp.1EG = energy of germination.1±0.04ns 0. (no.01ns -0.7 90±12 92±11 78±12 85±11 1 2 3 4 5 6 0. Alternaria spp. colonies/10 grains) 1.74** 0. Experimental plots in particular localities were sown with seeds of different origin (organic certified.

mainly as it concerns Fusarium spp. In grain after the harvest of experimental plots.7±0.9a 5. Farm Total 0. The farm seed was more infested in both years (Table 12).. we can observe that in grain harvested from plots sown with farm saved seed.6 Alternaria spp. that widely infested seed in that year.9a 5. Nevertheless.3±0. contaminated harvested grain lightly.9±0.6±0.5a 1.8a 4. On the other hand seed quality parameters were very similar in categories of seed origin in 2010 but in 2011 the conventional seed had very low seed quality growing to bad conditions during har‐ vest.9±1.8±0. colonies/10 grains) 4. A higher occurrence has been observed in the case of Alternaria spp.6±1. In 2010 there was evaluated in addition to Fusarium spp. Micromycets of all three species appeared on seed used for seeding in very similar quantities (Figure 2). there were determined the same parameters as in the initial seed and the obtained data were statisicaly evaluated (Tables 13 and 14). also the occur‐ rence of Cladosporium spp. A similar situation as in 2010 was observed in 2011. Instead of Cladosporium spp. Consequently. was higher than in the other two categories (Table 15).8±0.38 Organic Farming and Food Production Infestation of the seed used for seeding with Fusarium spp. depended on seed provenance. and Alternaria spp. no significant differences within the categories were identified (Table 15).7a 0. (no.4a 0. the infestation with Fusarium spp. the Penicilium spp.1±0.9±1.5a 5.6±1. was prevailing in the CRI localilty. Fusarium spp. Table 14.05.7a 4.6a 0. .5 Factor Remark: Different letters show the statistical differences in Tukey HSD test among parameters within categories. (Figure 3).8a 4. year and seed origin) was relatively high. Contamination of seed by microscopical fungi colonies .4a 0.0±0.9±0. (no.4a 0. P < 0.4±0. and Alternaria spp.9±1. Fusarium spp.9a 5. was prevailing at that year be‐ cause it contaminated harvested seed relatively strongly.7a 0.6±0. colonies/10 grains) CRI Locality USB CULS Year 2010 2011 Organic Seed origin Conv.0±0.2±1.7a 0. Cladosporium spp.8a 4.harvested seed (mean + SD) Variability within particular categories (locality.

Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production http://dx. C la d o sp o riu m sp p . Comparison of infestation in harvested seed of different provenance in 2010 (no.doi. Comparison of infestation in harvested seed of different provenance in 2011 . Figure 2.5772/53073 39 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Type: Organic Type: Organic Type: Organic Type: Organic Farm Farm Farm Conventional Conventional Conventional Conventional Farm -2 L o ca tio n : C R I L o ca tio n : U S B L o ca tio n : C U L S L o ca tio n : O rig in a l F u sa riu m sp p . Alte rn a ria sp p .org/10.of colonies/10 grains) Figure 3.

8±0. Biological traits . higher seed quality was determined in seed from CULS – locality Prague – Uhřiněves. P < 0.4±1.6a 5.7b 3.8±0.7 88±4a 89±7a 85±5 a Year 94±4a 97±4a 97±4 a 96±2a 98±2a 98±3 a 89±5b 77±13a 84±6 a 92±2b 87±8a 88±5 a 97±5a 97±4 98±3a 98±2 88±4a 83±9 91±2a 89±5 Remark: Different letters show the statistical differences in Tukey HSD testbetween varieties. Nevertheless. final values (germination and emergence) were higher than the energy of germina‐ tion and energy of emergence.3±1. was affected more by year (Table 16).2±1.8a 4. organic farm farm saved and conventional untreated) whose health and quality is described in Tables 16 and 17.) The spring barley variety Xanadu registered in the Czech Republic has been selected as a model variety. On the other hand. The quali‐ ty of the seed used for seeding depended more on the year – values of all the evaluated pa‐ .3±2. infestation of barley seed used for seeding with Alternaria spp. Differences between the individual seed provenances were mini‐ mal. Different conditions during the vegetation peri‐ od in 2010 and 2011 caused significant differences between the years.40 Organic Farming and Food Production Energy of Factor Germina-tion (%) Location CRI CULS 2010 2011 Organic Seed origin Conventional Farm saved seed Total 95±5a 97±1b 99±0 b Germina-tion (%) 97±3a 99±1b 100±0 b Energy of Emergence (%) 82±7a 85±11a 77±8 a Emergence (%) Yield (t. respectively.harvested seed (mean + SD) Differences among localities in seed quality parameters were not significant. Table 15. In general. 4. de‐ pended particularly on seed provenance – farm saved seed was more infested in both years. Experimental plots in both of the localities were sown with seed of different origin (organic certified. As in the case of spring wheat.9b 4. Infestation of barley seed used for seeding with Fusarium spp.05.4. depended more on the year than on seed provenance. the experiments aimed at the evaluation of the most important diseases and seed quality were organised in 2 experimental localities (Crop Research Institute Prague – CRI and Czech University of Life Sciences Prague – CULS) for 2 years (2010 and 2011).ha-1) 2. Barley (Hordeum vulgare L. Infestation of the seed with Penicillium spp.8±1.0a 4.6a 4.8±1.9a 4. Higher germination and energy of germination was not manifested in higher energy of laboratory tested energy of emergence and emergence. Different origin of seed did not influence significantly seed quality parameters.

4±0.1 a Factor 2010 2011 Organic Seed origin Conventional Farm saved seed Total Alternaria spp. In the case of Alternaria spp.4 a Penicillium spp.7±0. Variability within particular categories (locality.7±0.1±0.1±0.1±1.8a 0.4±1.0a 0.2±0.3 1.8a 1. (no.Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production http://dx.3 a 0.9±0.8±0.2±0. Differences between the seed origins were relatively small and insignificant. infestation of harvested grain (in 2011 was higher.4a 0. colonies/10 grains) 0.6a 0.7±1. harvested on both of the experimental localities. colonies/10 grains) 1.4±0.6 a 0.4±0. It is evident from the comparison of fungal infestation in harvested seed and seed used for seeding of different provenance (Figure 4). Contamination of seed by microscopical fungi (seed before seeding) Factor 2010 2011 Organic Seed origin Conventional Farm saved seed Total Energy of Germination (%) 99±1a 68±3b 85±20a 84±22 a Germination (%) 99±1a 89±3a 96±5a 93±8 a Energy of Emergence (%) 82±3a 70±2a 76±5a 77±8 a Emergence (%) 87±2a 76±3a 82±4a 81±11a 81±9a 81±6 Year 81±23a 83±16 92±8a 94±6 76±10a 76±7 Table 17.3a 0. Biological traits (seed before seeding) In grain. there was observed a relatively high (but not significant) difference between both years.2±0. In Penicillium spp.doi.8±1. but the differences between both years were not significant). statistically significant difference between both localities was also observed. The effect of the seed provenance on evaluated seed quality parameters was minimal.9a 1. Fusarium spp. statistical‐ ly significant difference between both years was observed. (no. Obtained data are given in Tables 18 and 19 and in Figure 4. and a significant differ‐ ence between both localities.3a 0. year and seed origin) was not high in Fusarium spp. colonies/10 grains) 0.4±0.. there were determined the same parameters as in seeds used for±0.4a 0. On the other hand. the effect of the seed origin was lower (Table 18).0 Year 0.1a 0. (no. infestation of barley seed used for seeding with .5772/53073 41 rameters in 2011 were lower and worse in comparison with the year 2010.9 Table 16. infestation of harvested grain was relatively high.2b 1.

6 a Factor Alternaria spp.8a 0.7±1.9±0.2±1.8±2.2±2.1±1. The same situation was observed in the .2±3.8±0.3±0.8 4. colonies/10 grains) 5. Comparison of infestation in harvested seed of different provenance Results of quality evaluation of harvested seed are given in Table 18.5a 3. A l te rn a ri a s p p . colonies/10 grains) 2. was in general lower than infestation of harvested seed on both localities. and Penicillium spp.42 Organic Farming and Food Production Fusarium spp.4a 5.6a 3.2a 0.6±3.8 b Location 0. Figure 4.9±1. Contamination of seed by microscopical fungi .6a 4..1a 2.9a 0. colonies/10 grains) 2010 2011 CULS CRI Organic Seed origin Conventional Farm seed Total 0.7 a Penicillium spp.6±3.harvested seed (mean + SD) 10 8 6 4 2 0 Conventional Conventional Farm seed Conventional Farm seed Farm seed Type: Organic Type: Organic Type: Organic -2 Locat ion: CULS Locat ion: CRI Locat ion: O riginal Fu s a ri u m s p p .1a 4.7a 6.4±2. (no.6 Table 18.1a 0.1±2.6a 1. Fusarium spp.2±2. that the effect of locality and year on values of all of evaluated seed quality parame‐ ters was higher than the effect of the seed origin. P enic illium s pp. It is evident from these results.0b 5.7 Year 2.0a 3.7±2.5±2.9±0. (no.7±0.9 a 1.6 a 3.2±2.3a 4. Alternaria spp.5±1.7±2.8b 2.9±2. (no.4±0.

the European Union currently started putting perma‐ nent pressure on the conventional untreated seeds to be limited.5±1.05. etc. .org/10.1a 3. Biological traits of seed . Therefore.0±1.5±2.0±0. neverthe‐ less. Farm Total 81±6a 92±3b 87±10 a Factor Germination (%) 87±3a 94±2b 92±4 a Energy of Emergence (%) 73±10a 77±14a 66±9 a Emergence (%) Yield (t. pesticides. The parcels intended for multiplication of seeds cover an insufficient area. The own farm saved seed or the conventional untreated seeds are usually used in order to establish the crop stand because there is a serious deficiency of certified organic seeds. Conclusion The organic farming has been developing very fast worldwide. Energy of Germination (%) CULS CRI 2010 2011 Organic Origin Conv. if the deficiency of organic seeds persists.7 Year 86±5a 84±12a 88±4 a 89±5a 90±6a 91±4 a 83±7b 74±14a 79±12 a 86±7b 80±10a 83±8 a 88±5a 86±7 91±5a 90±4 71±12a 75±12 78±10a 80±9 Remark: Different letters show the statistical differences in Tukey HSD test between varieties. There has been the longtime deficiency of the certified organic seeds in the Czech Repub‐ lic too.4±1.1a 4. Therefore. P < 0.Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production http://dx.2a 5. Strict norms for the organic seed certification proc‐ ess should be changed in the near future.harvested seed (mean + SD) 5.).2a 4. It also concerns the cereals belonging to the most frequent crops being grown on the organic farms. the same norms are valid in the or‐ ganic and conventional farming but any supportive instruments being applied by the conventional farming system are not permitted by the organic farming system (e.ha-1) 77±7a 83±10a 74±6 a Location 6.doi. However. min‐ eral fertilizers. Most of the seeds have not been certified because they are highly infected with the diseases transmitted by the seeds themselves.2b 4. a percentage of the applied uncontrolled own farm saved seed is to increase.4b 3. the application of conventional untreated seeds does not comply with the or‐ ganic farming principles.0±1. effect of the seed origin on yield of harvested grain was low.5±2.5772/53073 43 yield of harvested grain – effect of year and locality was relatively high and statistically sig‐ nificant. Table 19.9±2. Nowadays.4a 4. There has been. g. a serious deficiency of certified organic seeds of most of the crops in most of the coun‐ tries.

Grant No. Czech Republic 2 University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. Czech Republic References [1] Willer H. editors. Bonn and Frick: IFOAM and FiBL.. the conventional untreated seeds.44 Organic Farming and Food Production Our trials aimed at the evaluation of the influence the seed provenance (the certified organic seeds. 2009. Praha 6-Ruzyně. Ladislav Bláha3 and Martin Káš3 1 Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague. the deficiency of the certified organic seeds will have to be com‐ pensated by the own farm saved seed supply. bread wheat. The World of Organic Agriculture. Czech Republic 3 Crop Research Institute in Prague. Petr Konvalina2. The seeds originating from certified organic seeds have the best biological characteristics of all. Moreover. Budějovice. Č. and barley). Evženie Prokinová1. Praha 6-Suchdol. Statistics and Emerg‐ ing Trends 2009. the farm saved seed) had on the seed parameters and health. Dagmar Janovská3. Study of the influence of biological characteristics on the following seed generation has shown that all the seed categories achieve a good-quality level. There is not any corre‐ lation between the intensity of seed infestation with pathogens and the health state of the following seed generation. the farm seeds must be reproduced on the parcels having good qualitative parameters and careful agrotechnological methods will be indispensable. Acknowledgements Supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic – NAZV. a possible effect of the various seed provenance on seed pa‐ rameters and health of the following seed generation were also evaluated. If the laws get more strict. Four spring forms of cereals were tested (hulled and naked oat. . 309 p. Kilcher L. The influence of the various seed provenance on the crop stand quality was particularly studied. Hana Honsová1. or the conventional untreated seeds are absolutely forbidden by the organic farming system. Anyway. QI 91C123. Zdeněk Stehno3. The oat seeds coming from the own farm saved seed had also good qualitative parameters. Author details Ivana Capouchová1. We have come to similar findings as for the health state of the crop stand.

Razbadauskienė K. Acta Agrobotanica 2010. Rome: FAO. (eds. Kohl DH. [3] Hrabalová A. Struik PC. Horticulture Week 2008. Moudrý J. Praha: MZe ČR. 43: 1922-1929. Prague: Profi Press. 701 p.41: 2. Science 1981. T. Organic Farming in the Corn Belt. [4] MZe. disease resistance and yielding essential for organic growing. Reynolds SG. Fordoński G. Tamm Ü. [9] Stevens EJ. Microbiological and mycotoxicological quality parameters of naked and covered oats with regard to the production of bran and flakes. (2008): Ročenka českýtrh s biopotravinami. Lew H. Fodder Oats: an over‐ view. Rusakova II. 44 p. Hosnedl V. Praha. Agronomijas Vēstis (Latvian Journal of Agronomy) 2008. Vrátilová (accesed 15 June 2011).211: 540-547. Effect of organic and conventional production on yield and the quality of spring cereals. Kulik T. Die Bodenkultur 2003. Plant Pro‐ duction and Protection Series. 65 p. Rus‐ sian Agricultural Sciences 2010. Olszewski J. [7] Leistrumaitė A. [13] Lammerts van Bueren ET. Jacobsen NE. 46 p. [17] Pszczółkowska A. In: Suttie JM.7: 374-380. Productivity and seed health of husked oats (Avena sativaL. 54: 41-48. Praha: MZe. Shearer G. [16] Adler A. Ročenka ekologické zemědělství 2009 (Czech organic yearbook 2009).org/10. Changzhong R. . [15] Lampkin N. Osivo a sadba (Seed and Seedlings). 2009. The spring cereal traits of soil cover. Ročenka ekologického zemědělství v České republice 2010 (Czech Or‐ ganic Yearbook 2010). Agronomy Research 2009. 36: 93-95. [11] Václavík. 2004. Brno: ÚKZÚZ.5772/53073 45 [2] FAOSTAT: http://faostat. Concepts of intrinsic value and integrity of plants in organic plant breeding and propagation. 11–18. Krotova NV. 2011. Brodacz W. Green marketing. Liatukas Ž.11: 61-67. Tiemens-Hulscher M. Štěrba Z. [14] Houba M. [8] Batalova GA. [5] Ingver A. GriffinWB.Bezar HJ. 63: 127-133.) grown under different soil moisture con‐ ditions.pp. [10] MZe. Edinger W.104 p.Organic Cereal Seed Quality and Production http://dx.) Fodder Oats: A World Overview. Ipswich:Farming press. Developments in seed production. 186 p.fao. Tamm I. Situační a výhledovázprávaobiloviny 2009 (Cereals yearbook 2009). [12] Shamash J.doi. Crop Sciences 2003. Kiendler E. Armstrong KW. 1990. Hampton JB. 2009. Organic farming. Konopka I. 2002. Breeding of naked oats. [6] Lockeretz W.


and reproduction in any medium. In fact. 29]. The risk and uncertainty associated with management decisions are included in the formulation of real options problems [8. because the sustainable development needs to be To evaluate suitable investment possibilities. However.doi. 8. There are some limitations of NPVt by evaluating agricultural investment project. distribution. For example. an investor-farmer needs to take into account the value of keeping options open. Further. It does not account for changes to the project after the initial decision being made.0). 4. . 30] and real option models [3]. Several researchers argue that Net Present Value (NPVt) is not adequate under uncertain conditions and typically considers projects to be irreversible [1. 24]. The traditional discount cash will not recommend embedding an option to expansion which is expected to be negative – the expansion is an option and not an obligation. licensee InTech. not all agricultural venture capital projects could make a profit immediately. The possible method to evaluate a new business or investment opportunity is to use traditional discounted cash flow methods [23. NPVtis not flexible and only uses information available at the time of the decision. real options approach (ROA) rise from the doubt of NPVt method and can make up for it in assessment investment agricultural projects.Chapter 3 Option Models Application of Investments in Organic Agriculture Karmen Pažek and Črtomir Rozman Additional information is available at the end of the chapter http://dx. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons. a disadvantage of the NPVt is that the method does not in‐ clude the flexibility or uncertainty. Investment assessment is the very important part of the capital operations and important perception for the success of invest‐ ment projects. Although the Net Present Value (NPVt) methodology is widely used by project decision making if the agricultural project of © 2012 Pažek and Rozman . [32] pre‐ sented some of them. which permits unrestricted use. Introduction Farmers constantly face decisions about whether to invest in a new production method with increased risks and uncertainties or to maintain the current system without new risks and uncertainties. NPVt method only emphasize that a prospective project must be positive val‐ ue. including the impact of sources of uncer‐ tainty and risk attitudes.5772/52008 1. provided the original work is properly cited.

Many investments opportunities have options embedded in them and the traditional NPV misses this extra value because it treats investors as passive. just as the same as financial options. NPV does not properly capture the non-linear nature of the cash flow distribution or the changing risk profile over time. they could ex‐ pand operations of the project if the outlook seems attractive. When considering uncertainty and managerial flexibility. decision maker will have to consider questions from the static view. so the benefit of agricultural project has the big instability. ROA approach takes into consideration the flexibility of agricultural venture capital project. NPVt method has such a hypothesis that the investment is reversible. investment could be postponed. while reduce the scope of activities if the future outlook is unattractive. What ROA obtains is the expan‐ sion of NPV. Real options approach can make up for the deficien‐ cies of NPVt. ROA approach focus on irreversibility of investment in agricultural venture capital project. by using ROA. economic efficiency of production. 20. Example. and think that the cash flow of investment is fixed. such as the opportunity to expand into a new market. In fact. The practice of real options approach has played a positive role in reachening the theory of real options. ROA takes into consideration the flexibility of agricultural investment project. only make decision whether to accept the investments immediately or not. Theoretical advances in real options methodology have been formulated and assimilated in several empirical applications [7. to de‐ velop natural resources or technology.48 Organic Farming and Food Production seed – improvement. Further. NPVt method ignores the strategic value of the projects. which confirms to the characteristic of agricul‐ ture capita project evaluation [32]. it will greatly improve the food pro‐ duction and increase farmer’s income. although the investment is irreversible. Real options approach reputes that. the agricultural reproduction process is the process that the social economy reproduction and the nature reproduction are interwoven. the majority of investment projects are irreversible. but also gradually become a kind of investment philosophy. A real option is defined as the value of being able to choose some characteristic of a decision with irreversible consequences. For example. This is one of the major theoretical flaws of NPVtmethod. is not only the right to investment. and the invest‐ ment can not be delayed. Real options theory is increasingly used in industry projects too. which include traditional NPVt and the value of options [32]. deci‐ sion maker can adjust value by reacting to changing conditions. In reality. succeeds. as a long-term project. NPV method does not allow for the management flexibility that is often present. and constructing decision rules. On the contrary. market and trade opportunity) by identifying its sources. which affects especially on a financial income. Therefore real options. which greatly enhance the accuracy of investment decisions. Real options uses a flexible approach to uncertainty (i. It attempts to reduce risk by monitoring the implementation of its decisions and requiring decision making to be adaptive throughout the life cycle of a project. in most cases. Many uncertainties in the environment may eventually be eliminated. However.e. developing future business alternatives. . By taking this method. ecological and technological production possibil‐ ities. ROA carries on the decision making from dynamic view. 21].

Option Models Application of Investments in Organic Agriculture http://dx. The research implies that plum plantation has an option value (call value) regarding ex‐ tension to plum brandy production.doi. Model development The methodological framework for the financial and real option approach assessment of spelt processing alternatives lies within the inter-relation of the organic spelt processing simulation model KARSIM 1. The authors stressed the new European policy measures.0 [23]. The appliance of real options evaluation is showed on model of plum and plum brandy as an extension. A model for determining optimal entry and exit thresholds for investment in irrigation systems when there is given irreversibility and uncertain returns with price and yield as stochastic varia‐ bles were developed [25]. 17.5772/52008 49 Real options methodology was used to evaluate organic agriculture [31]. where adoption of environmental friendly production systems should be considered. The model for effect-assessment of prices variability by the decision to invest in conservation with application to terrace construction was developed too [33]. In the presented research the use of the decision making process and its tools for evaluating investments in organic spelt processing business alternatives using elements of the real op‐ tions methodology is The impact of price uncertainty and expectations of declining fixed costs on the optimal timing site specific crop management was presented by [11]. Further. The study attempts to examine the effects of income variability upon the decision on adopting or not environmental friendly production systems in order to evaluate the organic financial incentives to farmers by introducing the real options methodology. The study focuses on the impact of Net Present Value (NPVt) as a parameter for investment decisions in the framework of Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) and the real options model (Black-Scholes and binominal model). However. 16. [18] explore the potential of the real options approach for analysing farmers’ choice to switch from conventional to organic farming. 2. The adoptions is includes risk and uncertainty and to overcome this parameters well designed policy schemes are required. there are presentedsome more studies on the application of real options in agriculture [13. The model for investment decision to convert farmland to ur‐ ban as an irreversible investment under uncertainty when use of this land is restricted by government policies so as to protect the environment were developed [29].Black-Scholes model [10]. . the stochastic dynam‐ ic model of investment decision of an individual farmer under risk in the presence of irre‐ versibility and technical change was assessed [9]. The technology adop‐ tion of a free-stall dairy housing under irreversibility and uncertainty and its implications in the design of environmental policies was examined [26]. 19. This option was determined using the most frequent‐ ly used option valuation method . 22]. 15. The first technique presented is one of the common methodological approaches to farm management. while the real option approach is based on the Black-Scholes and binominal models.

The structure of deterministic simulation model for cost calculations and planning on organic farms KARSIM 1. 27].0. Figure 1. Furthermore. All iterations (calculations for individual alternative) are saved into a database. the system enables simulation of different alternatives at a farm level.The system as a whole represents a complex calculation system and each sub-model re‐ sults in a specific enterprise budget.0 was developed for the financial and technological analysis of food processing (organic and convention‐ al).0 integrated technologic-economic deterministic simulation model Simulation modelling can be efficiently applied in both cost estimation and cost benefit anal‐ ysis [6. The model structure is presented in Figure 1.50 Organic Farming and Food Production 2. . Furthermore. Through a special interface. and the net present values for each simulated alternative can be com‐ puted. simulation represents one of the fundamental tools for making management decisions [12]. based on enterprise budg‐ ets.1. KARSIM 1. The computer simulation model KARSIM 1. which is finally used as one of the data sources for real option analysis. cash flow projections can be conducted together with investment costs for each spelt business alternative. The simulation sys‐ tem is built in an Excel spread sheet environment in order to ensure better functionality of a user friendly calculation system.

However. According to the standard CBA approach. The Net Present Value (NPVt) parameter is most commonly used in the evaluation of investments in specific investment projects. rep‐ resenting a basic input parameter for computation of NPVt. At this point. Furthermore.investment costs (€) TR . 2.interest rate (%) t .total revenue (€) TC . where NPVt is pre‐ sented.time .total costs (€) r . The amounts of inputs used are calculated as a function of given production intensity. the aggregate benefits SP and the aggregate costs SS are annually summed and discounted to the present with the selected discount rate r. For an investment of t periods the formula is: NPVt = I + å i =1 n TR . With isolation of cash costs from enterprise budgets the annual cash flows are estimated.0 model is based upon deterministic technologic-economic simulation where the technical relations in the system are expressed with a set of equations or with functional relationships.TC (1 + r ) 2 (1) Where: NPVt .5772/52008 51 As presented. If the sum is positive. while spelt production costs are calculated as products between the model’s estimated inputs usage and their prices. By isolat‐ ing the cash costs from enterprise budgets. investment .doi. the annual cash flows are estimated. the aggregate bene‐ fitsTR and the aggregate costs TC are annually summed and discounted to the present with the selected discount rate r. we can introduce real op‐ tion methodology into the planning process where some further KARSIM 1. and the NPVt for each simulated alternative can be computed. it was presumed that the maximization of the Net Present Value (NPVt) of the project investment used market prices for expenditures and commodities and describes the financial cash flow projections can be conducted together with the investment costs for each busi‐ ness alternative. The standard Net Present Value (NPVt) analysis versus the real options approach The decision as to which spelt processing method to undertake on an individual farm is rarely made on the basis of NPVt calculation alone. In NPVt equation. based on enterprise budg‐ ets. In equation.standard Net Present Value (€) I .0 results repre‐ sent input variables for Black-Scholes and binomial model analysis. the basic objective of financial analysis is the Net Present Value (NPV). representing a basic input parameter for the computation of NPVt. the KARSIM 1.Option Models Application of Investments in Organic Agriculture http://dx. The preferred approach to evaluating investments is NPVtanalysis.2.number of years [30].

s Ö t (4) . Real option describes an option to buy or sell an investment in physical or intangible assets rather than in financial assets. the BS model is one of the most outstanding models in financial economics. land. Figure 2.rt N ( d 2 ) = d1 2 é ù ë ln ( S / X ) + ( rf + ½ s ) * t û / s Ö t (2) (3) d 2 = d1 . The BSOPM based on stochastic calculus is shown below: OV = SN ( d1 ) – X / e . If the NPVt of the investment after discounting is positive then this in‐ vestment is better than the alternative earnings. any corporate investment in plant. i. In addition. The value of real options is described by the best known BlackScholes option model (BSOPM)[2]. patents. Black-Scholes model (BS) To illustrate the real options methodology. The link between investments and Black-Scholes inputs are presented in Figure 2.e.52 Organic Farming and Food Production generatesmore benefits than costs to the project manager (in our case the farmer) and vice ver‐ sa if the sum is negative. can be the assets on which real options are written. for example. equipment. 2. Investment (real) opportunities could be treated analogi‐ cally as financial options. Thus. the investments could be evaluated as real options.. in the continuation the concept of options will be introduced how the real options can be appended to the basic NPVt model. However. However. the Black-Scholes and the binomial mod‐ els for organic spelt processing business alternatives were developed. The connections between investments opportunity and Black-Scholes inputs [14].3. brand names. two examples of developed real options model organic spelt processing output are presented.

the agri‐ culture policy has an important role on organic spelt grain production at this moment.investment expenditure (€). X . They give us the probability that S or X will be below d1 and d2.annual risk free continuously compounded rate (%). 2. The bi‐ nomial model is based on a replicating portfolio that combines risk-free borrowing (lending) with the underlying asset to create the same cash flows as the e-rt. Since an option represents the right but not the ob‐ ligation to make an investment. In the BS model.4. Example.lognormal distribution of N(d2). some of sto‐ chastic variables could be defined as risk and uncertainly variables too.lognormal distribution of N(d1). S . d2 .period until investment (years). rf.71828. they measure the risk associated with the vol‐ atility of the value of S.annualized variance (risk) of the investment’s project. The binomial model (6) The binomial option-pricing model is currently the most widely used real options valuation method.doi.the exponential term = 2.present value of cash flows from optional investment (€). The binomial model (i. lattice) describes price movements over time. However. the strategic real options of the investment project are calculated using the BlackScholes methodology and is calculated as: NPVSRO = NPVt +OV Where NPVSRO-strategic real option (€). The analysis . d1 . where the asset value can move to one of two possible prices with associated probabilities [32].5772/52008 53 Where: OV . The stochastic variable is in cal‐ culus expressed in the concept of annual risk free continuously compounded rate and annualized variance (risk) of the investment’s project. Figure 3 represents the binomial process through a decision tree. In the presented case. The real options method explicitly accounts for uncertainty in the determination of an opti‐ mal decision in light of the stochasticity of an asset’s value. t . the payoff scheme for the option is asymmetric. Option value OV = SN ( d1 ) – present value of X times N ( d 2 ) (5) WhereN(d1) and N(d2) represent the probability distributions. σ .e.option value (€).. The values of N(d1) and N(d2) are obtained from normal probability distribution tables.Option Models Application of Investments in Organic Agriculture http://dx.

Decision Support Structure for organic spelt processing and option value calculation. a node of value C= NPVt can lead to two nodes with their values be‐ ing given by C= NPVt with probability 1+d = d1= Cg and 1-d = d2 = Cd. Figure 4. the standard tool for option pricing in discrete time. Thus. . Cgd = Cd * d1 and Cdd = Cd * d2). Binominal lattice structure (C= NPVt with probability d1 = Cg and d2 = Cd. Figure 3.54 Organic Farming and Food Production performed in this work makes use of the multiplicative binomial model of Cox and Rubin‐ stein [5]. Cgg = Cg * d1. respectively. According to Figure 3.

1 ha of arable land in north eastern Slovenia was considered in order to compare spelt processing investment projects using the real option models methodology.5772/52008 55 the lattice provides a representation of all possible demand values throughout the whole project life [7]. However. according to crop rotation rules. the cumulative structure of integrated decision support system for organic spelt process‐ ing alternatives and its option values calculation is in details presented in Figure 4. Basic production data and calculated economical parameters for individual business alternatives in spelt processing are presented in Table 1. Results and discussion The identified business alternatives are evaluated using a specially developed simulation models in Excel spreadsheet environment.An organic part time-farm with 5.84 €). Spelt is used for animal fodder. The investment project option value (OV) could be calculated using the back‐ ward induction process [28. Based on discounted cash flow methodology. the annual area of spelt wheat is. the goal of integrated model development is to provide answers which business alternative is the best solution for the given sample organic farm. limited to 1 ha with an average yield of 2500 kg unhusked spelt grain (the average yield/ha on Slovene organic farms). 33]. The estimated production levels were calculated on the basis of the an‐ nual spelt production area. 3. and low input of 4.Option Models Application of Investments in Organic Agriculture http://dx.224. The presented farm regular‐ ly includes besides other grains spelt wheat (TriticumspeltaL. The highest NPVt was observed for husked spelt grain (NPVt = 9. On the other perspective. Case study In the chapter the application of the presented methodology in the context of organic spelt processing investments alternatives is presented.) in its crop rotation. The basic characteristic of spelt wheat is its high resistance to diseases. In the next part. However. for easier understanding of assessments operation and models functionali‐ ty. the traditional net present value (NPVt) criteri‐ on is used extensively in assessing an investment opportunity for three analysed spelt prod‐ ucts (table 2). The service of husking and milling the grain is out‐ sourced by the farmer and is calculated as variable cost. The relatively high estimated NPVt for spelt grain can be explained by high prices.The results are calculated under the assumption of successful product selling at the expected prices. The negative . CBA analysis shows positive net present values for both processed spelt for human nutrition (spelt grain and spelt flour). and represents additional business and market opportunities for organic farmers. spelt wheat can be directly processed into different kinds of food products on the farm itself.doi. but the alternative option considered in this model is to produce and sell spelt grain and spelt flour to individual customers for human nutrition. achieved in the market. As shown in table 2.

675.05 2.00 591. However.12 2.00 1. as expected.00 (€) 113.00 1.24 *on Slovene organic farms is spelt usually used in animal feed rations as husked spelt **products quantity based on annual spelt average yield/ha on Slovene organic farms Table 1. The simulation model results for the planned spelt processing projects on a sample farm. . To illustrate the real options methodology.051.00 478.97€) and investment return period is not possible to assessed.30 4.25 2.84 2 2.259.688. In the first part of tables 3 and 4 the parameters used in the real options model calculation for the spelt grain and spelt flour production are demonstrated. the corresponding NPVt by Pd is for husked spelt grain (human nutrition) higher compared to spelt flour (NPVt= 2. However.350.066.224.56 Organic Farming and Food Production NPVt was calculated for spelt grain for animal nutrition and is expected (the price on the market is compared to husked spelt grain for human nutrition lower.94 Products quantity** (kg) 1.482.482. we present two examples of our real options model output.27 1.00 3. From finan‐ cial aspect this project should be rejected.08 Investment return period=Pd (years) / NPVt by Pd (€) / 2. Product Spelt grain (animal nutrition) Spelt grain (human nutrition) Spelt flour Investment costs Annual cash flow (€) 580.056. but on the other hand the basic production costs are the same as by processed spelt grain).19 6.31 2 1.066. the results of traditional Net Present Value for spelt grain production (animal fodder) presents the base for calculation of strate‐ gic real option of spelt grain (for human nutrition) and spelt flour. Financial CBA analysis of the planned spelt processing projects on a sample farm (after 5 years.96 Table 2.19 NPVt (€) -128.96 €). In the second part of the table 3 and 4 there are calculated simulation models results for real options calculation. The investment return period (Pd) is for husked spelt grain and spelt flour 2 years.00 2.495.77 9.15 Total costs (€) Total revenue (€) Coefficient of economics 1.960.15 3. Business alternative Husked spelt* (animal fodder) Husked spelt grain (human nutrition) Spelt flour 1. Further. The risk-free rate and variance of the investment’s project were defined deterministic. discount rate = 8%).960.12 € and NPVt= 1.795.389.688. the investment into spelt grain for animal fodder is financial unfeasi‐ ble (NPVt = -128.

77 2.960.5772/52008 57 Parameters description Present Value of cash flows from optional investment (€) Investment expenditure (€) Exponential function Risk-free rate (%) Period until investment (years) Variance (Risk) of the investment’s project (%) d1 d2 Lognormal distribution of d1 Lognormal distribution of d2 Option value of spelt grain (human nutrition)(€) Strategic real option of spelt grain for animal nutrition (processing of spelt grain for human nutrition) (€) Value 3.051. Descriptions and values of parameters for the real options model for spelt flour.430957649 1. 2. calculated by Black-Scholes method‐ ology.71828 8.71828 8 5 50 0.670. is 1.19 2.Option Models Application of Investments in Organic Agriculture http://dx.40 .00 5 50 0. option value for husked spelt grain.541.750077578 0.9440974 -0.827440061 0.07 1. the strategic real option of spelt grain (animal nutrition) is a positive value too.541. Parameters description Present Value of cash flows from optional investment (€) Investment expenditure (€) Exponential function Risk-free rate (%) Period until investment (years) Variance (Risk) of the investment’s project (%) d1 d2 Lognormal distribution of d1 Lognormal distribution of d2 Option value of spelt flour (human nutrition)(€) Strategic real option of spelt grain for animal nutrition (processing in spelt flour)(€) Table 4. As seen in table 3.99 €) and is suggested to accept the project. Descriptions and values of parameters for the real options model for spelt grain (human nutrition).258.443300091 0.doi.99 Table 3.960. Value 2. The results of the application of BS methodology by analysed farm busi‐ ness alternative showed the interest in investment project (strategic real option = 1.674733898 -0.00 2.07 €.173936588 0.041.48 913.328774345 1.

37 Table 5.77 1 5.678.606530864 p = 0.94 4 22.52 1.08 5.122.850.051.577.37€). that under pre‐ sumed input parameters both business alternative are for the farmer suitable option.68 3 1.031.14 13.01 5 37.031.678.57 3.850.295. How‐ ever. Table 4) indicate that the cal‐ culated option value is 1.81 € followed by spelt flour production (1.68 413.77 1.09 5.850. Further. Parameter OV (€) Spelt grain (human nutrition) 2.the spelt flour production option is suitable and financial interesting for the farmer.81 Spelt flour 1. Under the model assumptions. is the most suitable alternative production spelt grain for hu‐ man consumption.68 8. As seen previously in all cases.58 Organic Farming and Food Production The results of analysed farm business alternative (spelt flour.99 680. According to the option value calculation.77 1.051. All binomial model results are calculated under the assumption presented in Table 5.031.94 250.677. Option value assessments for spelt processing using binominal model. the results of real options approach show more favourable picture from farmers’ per‐ spective by binominal model.051.52 1.648720716 down factord2 = 0.52 1. The results showed that financially the most interesting and suitable investment is spelt grain for human nutrition where the option value results in a value of 2.296.50 Table 6. investment project option values are calculated using the binomial lattice too. Time (years) 0 OV (€) 3. but in analysed case again the positive value (SRO = 913.99 680.122.178.99 2 8. Asset valuation lattice for spelt grain for human nutrition using binominal model (for first 5 years of production).57 3. On the basis of calculated data with BS methodology it can be concluded.3677.549.40€). upfactord1 = 1. It should be mentioned that there are between both model results differ‐ .48 €.577.041.457456139 1-p = 0.542543861 The detailed presentation of the binomial lattice calculations is in Table 6 to Table 9. the strategic re‐ al option of spelt grain for animal nutrition and further processing into spelt flour is a bit lower value as by processing into spelt grain for human nutrition.

178.66 2 6.87 185.071. Option value assessments for spelt flour with binominal model (for first 5 years of production).160.432.00 0.00 0.14 10.589.77 0.91 889.57 874.369.120.369.724.81 2 5. However. Asset valuation lattice for spelt flour for human nutrition using binominal model (for first 5 years of production).723.00 5 24.69 369.52 0.13 0.723.39 2.81 1 5.550.doi. Time (years) 0 OV (€) 1.Option Models Application of Investments in Organic Agriculture http://dx.120.00 4 13. the model results showed that both project results with positive values.74 3 763.685.89 3.37 1 3. But it should be mentioned that does not mean that the project may be accepted and invested im‐ mediately.26 0.66 503. Time (years) 0 OV (€) 2.51 3.19 1 3.12 1.138.37 10.00 0.553.723.13 1.74 305.08 0.81 956.14 1.19 830.369.88 6.82 2 8.50 3.00 Table 7. The presented results showed that binominal models further confirm the preliminary CBA results (Table 2). .61 4 16.208.00 4 19.66 503.40 2.40 322.208.09 2.44 1.827.00 5 34. The positive option values means that the farmer should hold the option of analyzed project investment and do not abandon the project simply.258.717.39 136.138.335.00 0.577.47 3 9.36 Table 8.639.290.00 Table 9.96 443.88 3.99 3 13.40 0.382.5772/52008 59 ences in the individual alternative assessments.19 830.37 7.258.13 1.58 57.00 0.68 5.00 0. It should be taken into account the flexibility and possible options. Time (years) 0 OV (€) 2.678. Option value assessments for spelt grainwith binominal model (for first 5 years of production).61 5 27.725.

Massachusetts. Harvard Business School Press..60 Organic Farming and Food Production 5. R. Real Options: Managing Strategic Investment in an Uncertain World. 637. Jour‐ nal of Political Economy. [3] Brennan. that real options are com‐ prehensive and integrated solution to apply options theory to value real investments project to improve the decision making process... Financial Econ. the value of opportunity. Option Pricing: A Simplified Approach. 7229-263. N. Author details Karmen Pažek* and Črtomir Rozman * *Address all correspondence to: karmen. [5] Cox. Empirical results reveal that the production of spelt grain for animal fodder versus spelt grain (for human nu‐ trition) and spelt flour is not advisable for the analysed farm. (1998). reprinted in The Handbook of Financial Engineering. Agricultural Finance Chair of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development/University of Maribor/Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences/Pivola. J. H. M. 58-81. an attempt was made to employ a real options approach to evaluate the spelt processing business alternatives on a farm. & Hanf. .. (1990). & Kulatilaka. We can conclude. The option methodology takes into account uncertain parameters. Boston. (1973). How‐ ever. The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities. forecasting and the most important. The general implication from this empirical analysis is that uncertainty and risk atti‐ tudes play an important role in farmers’ decision to adopt a new business. 1979. Slovenia References [1] Amram. 58135-157. F. M. C.. & Scholes. [4] Collins. Evaluating natural resource investments. .pazek@uni-mb. M. Evaluation of farm investments: Biases in Net Present Value estimates from using quasi-deterministic models in an uncertain world. The model results are useful in practice and helpful in setting up hedges in the correct proportions to minimize risk. Conclusion The application of discount cash flow approach in agriculture is not always the appropriate way to decide if an investment project is feasible or not. & Rubinstein. Harper Business Publishers. Busi‐ ness. 81(5-6). E. [2] Black. In the paper. C. M. real option approach offers a new point of view to investment evaluation of agri-food project. (1985). & Schwartz. (1999).

(2007). C. 1010-1032. 47-48. (2000). (2008). S. Option Models in Investment Appraisal. M.doi. (2012). 16(1). 61(2). N. J. [18] Musshoff. & Sheldon.. (1994). A. [14] Leuhrman. Bernik. Theory Meets Practice. M. D.. M. H. & Winter-Nelson. 39-135. 9th Annual International Conference. A Real Options Approach to Forest-Management Decision Making to Protect Caribou under the Threat of Extinc‐ tion. Technical change and irreversible investment under risk.France. & Fukushima. V. K. N. Miranda.. B. Amsterdam. M.. & Polajnar. (1997). Book of Abstracts. & Škraba. .. 29-455. R. Ecology and Society. (2008).. Investment Opportunities as Real Options. Princeton. 188169-184. (2011). M. Princeton University Press. B.. 188569-585. [8] Dixit. [13] Kuminoff. O. G. International Journal of Industrial Organization. Agriculture Economics.. S. 199-210. [7] Dalila-Fontes. [21] Pandza. Biomass and Bioenergy. M. Horsburgh. Gorton. [10] Hadelan. T. European Journal of Operational Research. Evaluation of firm’s loss due to incomplete information in real investment decision. [15] Morgan. [19] Nadolnyak.. I.. Growing short rotation coppice on agricultural land in Germa‐ ny: A Real Options Approach. K. Paris. Real Options. 75(4). O. & Wossink. A real options approach to managing resources and capabilities Inter J.. [12] Kljajić. (2005. 54-65. 43rd Croatian & 3rd International Symposium on Agriculture. [9] Ekboir.. A.. Why isn’t more US farmland Organic? Journal of Agricultural Economics. Njavro.. [11] Khanna. M. A.. Harvard Business Re‐ view. Investment in site-specific crop management under uncertainty: implications for nitrogen pollution control and envi‐ ronmental policy.. June 22-25). Adoption of organic farming in Germany and Austria: An in‐ tegrative dynamic investment perspective. Simulation and System Analysis in Agriculture. A. L. (1985). (2000). J. M. I. & Pindyck. Agricultural Economics. M. A. Isik. 249-21. (2010). (1998). Elsevier. (2003). 41-73. D. European Journal of Operational Research. [20] Nishihara. M. Simulation. P. Fixed versus flexible production systems: A real op‐ tions analysis.. & Lasserre. Investment Under Uncertainty. Adoption of Organic Farming. 23(9).Option Models Application of Investments in Organic Agriculture http://dx. Operations & Production Management. Agricul‐ tural Economics.5772/52008 61 [6] Csaki. NJ. Abdallah. & Odening. M. (2008). Simulation approach to decision assess‐ ment in enterprises. (2008). [17] Musshoff. & Par. [16] Musshoff.

. J. Bavec. (2006). A feasibility study of fruit brandy production. (1999). Č. Pažek. K. University of Maribor. Business opportunity assessment in Slovene organic spelt processing: application of real options model. 50(2).. Research Topics in Agricultural and Applied Economics. F. Z. Irreversible investment decisions in perennial crops with yield and price uncertainty. 1-449. J. Slovenia.. B. The use of multi criteria models for decision support on organic farms. Majkovič. (2010)...0. (2002). 541-551. Internal data‐ base. 26(3). Evaluating Economic Incentives for Greek Or‐ ganic Agriculture: A Real Options Approach. M. M. & Amegbeto. K. Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences. J. Č. 179-184. Die Anwendungeines Computersimulationsmodellszur Optimierung der Erweiterungeiner Apfelplanta‐ geunter den Bedingungen der Republik Slowenien. 80(4).. & Pavlovič.. & Bavec.. Č. [28] Rozman. (1999). 1(1).. K. Rozman. [27] Rozman. Benthan Science Publishers. (2011).62 Organic Farming and Food Production [22] Pažek. Č. T. Boggess. Wiebe. (2002). S. Berichteüber Landwirtscahft. J. Biological Ag‐ riculture and Horticulture. & Majkovič. [24] Pažek.. C. Bavec. & Holt. [33] Winter-Nelson. & Tang.. Option values to conservation and agri‐ cultural price policy: Application to terrace construction in Kenya. B. (2009). & Kuhn. A. Borec. Turk..... Journal of Agri‐ cultural Economics. Technology adoption deci‐ sions under irreversibility and uncertainty: An Ex Ante approach. . (1996). [29] Tegene. M. Bavec.. A. D. Jour‐ nal of Sustainable Agriculture. (1998). The Mul‐ ti-criteria analysis of spelt food processing alternatives on small organic farms. 73-89.. 28-33. 632-642.. Renewable agriculture and food sys‐ tems. [31] Tzouramani. & Rozman. Turk. [25] Price.. X. 1-23. Tojnko. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economic.. 24-173. J. Moss. Integrated computer simulation model KARSIM 1. 24(1). Agriculture and Agricultural science Procedia.. Research of Investment Evaluation of Agricultural Ven‐ ture Capital Project on real Options Approach. K. E-book series. I. A. Par. G. M. [30] Turk. Ed. & Wetzstein. K. F. Turk. Agricul‐ tura. Rezitis.. [23] Pažek. E. 28159-179.. V. Irreversible investment under uncertainty: Conservation easements and the option to develop agricultural land. [26] Purvis. [32] Wang. & Rozman. A.. D. A. W. Č. 80409-418. & Mattas. 203-219.. American Journal of Agricultural Economics. J. (2006). American Journal of Agricultural Economics. K.. (2006). K.

Section 2 Organic Food Quality and Sustainability .


distribution. Initially it was rep‐ resented by the quantitative/measurable parameters. which permits unrestricted use. the consumers’ health is such as radiation and genetic modifications. Regulations specifying the conditions of organic crop and animal production are very strict. who are obliged to maintain the quality of their products without using chemicals. Aneta Załęcka. which usu‐ ally are natural substances.0). enhancers. using synthetic fertilizers.).doi. stabilizers. While conventional proc‐ essing is based on several hundred different types of food additives (colorings. At the same time the food quality decreases contin‐ uously with regard to nutritional value. This is a particularly difficult situation for organic farmers. which results in high quality of agricultural products. which result in different defini‐ tions of this term. Nowadays more and more popular is © 2012 Rembiałkowska et al. however the techniques are not regulated so far (only few ones. the overproduction of food. and on the other . This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons. and reproduction in any medium. Maciej Badowski and Angelika Ploeger Additional information is available at the end of the chapter http://dx. the separation the animal husbandry from plant production and using heavy machinery. which is also the effect of strongly developed food technology.Chapter 4 The Quality of Organically Produced Food Ewa Rembiałkowska. Food quality The quality of food products is a subject of many debates.5772/54525 1. etc. The same applies to the processing scheme. the organic food processing allows only few dozen of additives. The definition of food quality is constantly changing. All of this leads both to environmental degradation.. However. introduction of monocultures into large areas. licensee InTech. Introduction Organic farming began to develop in the modern world as a response to intensified farming and industrial agriculture. chemical pesticides. are banned in organic food processing). 2. provided the original work is properly cited.

heavy metals. organic food quality consists of product and process related aspects..66 Organic Farming and Food Production the holistic approach to the problem of quality. In order to follow the holistic view on agriculture. As am essen‐ tial part. (2010a) analyzed the current status of organic food quality in relation to potential quality claims. smell or texture. Authenticity can be understood in two ways. Kahl et al. along with other organoleptic characteristics such as taste. acceptance and consumer preferences assessed in so-called ‘consumer tests’..) Interestingly the quality of organic food is mainly measured by standard single compound detection through analytical methods. Sensory quality is of great importance because it affects the process of making a choice when buying food. Szulc et al. related to organic food quality is. A central part of this model is the evaluation. The technological value refers to the distinctive features of food products in light of the re‐ quirements of different interest groups.. holistic model. al‐ so the evaluation of the food should be more holistic than reductionistic. which should take part on different levels. 2009. First one is represented by the sense of product traceability. i. Busscher et al. how authentic the food is. nutritional value. which can be applied in scientific research as well as in practice. vision and hearing. mineral elements. protein. Vogtmann (1991) adopted a food quality evaluation approach including analytical and holistic criteria. sensory value as well as bi‐ ological value and ethical indicators. nitrates. (2012) published a model for organic food quality. which can be described by criteria and measured by parameters. The biocrystallization method seems to be most encouraging in this direction (Kahl et al. EC-Regulations and consumer understanding. smell.. distributors and consumers) different features may be the most important distinguishing parameters. Another question. taking into account a conceptual background which consists of the different (histori‐ cal) sources as IFOAM standards. depending on the specific purpose for which the food product is intended. 2010. (2010 b) discussed several approaches and methods for this purpose. The sensory quality is represented by a set of features assessed by humans by the use of standarized tests. Sensory evaluation of food products is based on two main methods. based on human senses: taste. Furthermore they identified a gap between consumer expectations on the quality of the food and what can be guaran‐ teed by regulation so far.e. This holistic or systemic view brings all different criteria together: technological value. touch.. etc. Recently Kahl et al. For individual participants of the food production chain (producers. processors. They concluded. Kahl et al. According to this approach. Among these criteria.. etc. The results are analyzed statistically. . the organic food quality assessment should be focused on all aspects and from all possible points of view. that a model is missed. the appearance plays an important role in the assessment of raw materials and finished products. The nutritional value can be considered as the minimum content of food contaminants (pes‐ ticide residues.b). The second method is to evaluate the product based on defined criteria and by a specially trained person (so-called ‘sensory panel’).) at the optimum content of valuable ingredients (vitamins. 2010a. The first one is to assess the desirability.

The Quality of Organically Produced Food


when it is possible to verify whether the characteristics of the product actually correspond to characteristics that are attributed to him. For instance, research conducted to determine whether the products offered on the market as organic really come from organic production (Kahl et al., 2010b). Therefore, it is needed to find methods that would enable tracing of all "biography of the product" in a fast and simple way. It would be an efficient tool for control‐ ling the products offered on the market. Here an European project, bringing several ap‐ proaches together is currently working on this topic (www. Upload/CoreOrganic2/Document/Leaflet_AuthenticFood_2012.pdf) and the second ap‐ proach authenticity can be understood as a counterweight to the growing trend of food globalization. More and more people look for food from safe sources, produced locally by the well-known manufacturers. Nowadays, food is transported from long distances, from the place of production by the place of processing up to the point of sale. As a result, con‐ sumers look for products less intensively processed, derived from known safe sources such as buying locally and directly from the farmer. The average food transport route from the place of production to the place of consumption in America is approximately 2,000 km (Wil‐ kins and Gussow, 1997). There are scientific studies showing that it is possible to satisfy the nutritional needs of consumers with the State of New York based mainly on food produced locally. On the other hand, local agriculture in this state disappeared almost completely, al‐ though most consumers of the State of New York evaluated the local varieties of vegetables and fruits better (Wilkins and Gussow, 1997). The active opposition against food globaliza‐ tion is represented by the movement called "slow food" - to support food production which is an alternative to "fast food". The biological value defines the impact of food on human health. This criterion is based on the holistic approach to the food quality and on the belief that the knowledge of the chemi‐ cal composition of foods is not sufficient to determine the relationship between the con‐ sumed food and the human health. At the same time health is understood not only as the absence of disease, but also as the well-being, fertility and vitality. So far, several scientific studies have been conducted with regard to this issue, but only on laboratory animals (mice, rats and rabbits). Due to many obstacles of a formal, logistic and economic nature, very few studies assessing the direct impact of organic food on human health have been carried out. The ethical value of food quality comprise three aspects: the aspect of environmental impact, the socio-economic aspect and the farm animal welfare. One of the main factors determining the quality of products is the quality of the environ‐ ment. We can expect the best crop quality only where the air, soil, ground-and surface water meet the required quality standards. Legal regulations on organic farming does not provide specific guidance on the definition of the quality of the agricultural environment where or‐ ganic production can take place. However, the guidelines elaborated by various associations of organic farming may specify requirements in this field. Organic farmers are required to maintain the environment in good condition and should try to support the cycle approach. The organic production methods are focused on the protection of all environmental compo‐ nents against the pressure of the agricultural aspects. Environmental impact of organic and conventional farming was researched by Tyburski and Żakowska-Biemans (2007). The au‐


Organic Farming and Food Production

thors point out that organic farming consumes less energy, which is of great importance. Nowadays, when the world is focused on energy crisis, organic agriculture achieves lower energy consumption rates because it does not apply fertilizers and pesticides, whose pro‐ duction requires high energy inputs. In addition, high energy lead to large emissions of greenhouse gases and the conventional farming is a very large emission source of them. Therefore, organic plant production significantly contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, conventional agriculture leads to eutrophication and pollution of water resources, i.a. by the use of pesticides (Tyburski and Żakowska-Biemans, 2007). The biological diversity resulting from the spatial complexity of organic agricultural landscape supports three important functions: an ecological function, which is to maintain biological diversity and homeostasis; the production function, based on prevention, rather than fight‐ ing diseases and pests; and the function of the health and welfare, which results from the fact that humans are an integral part of the environment and can exist only through the har‐ monious coexistence with nature. Contact with nature is essential for mental health, and mental health is the foundation of physical health. The choice of agricultural products, which are produced, processed and sold under condi‐ tions of equality and social justice is becoming increasingly popular among EU consum‐ ers. So-called “fair trade” principles implemented within developing countries are very important. By boycotting companies that do not follow the socioeconomic rules, the con‐ sumers may have a positive impact on reducing social inequalities, which are common in the production, processing and sale of agricultural products within tropical countries. Consumers have the choice because of the wide access to information about companies in the food trade market. Furthermore, environmentally aware consumers are now more and more convinced that the methods of animal husbandry are important even during making decisions about purchas‐ ing food products. The reason is the suffering of animals, which is a result of very inappro‐ priate conditions of animal husbandry (crowding, aggression, disease).

3. Plant products
3.1. Harmful substances Pesticides are a group of synthetic compounds which do not occur in nature, and are intro‐ duced into environment as a deliberate human decision. Use of pesticides can increase the profitability of crops, protecting them against pests and diseases. However, the applied chemicals do not affect only the target organisms. Their residues accumulate in plants and move along the food chain, including the human body. Depending on the dose consumed by a man with the contaminated food, the consequences include various health effects. In order to reduce the adverse impact of pesticides on human health, the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) of pesticide, which may be present in food, has been established. MRL is usual‐ ly established by testing of pesticides on rats. It is believed that the consumption of pesti‐ cides below the MRLs does not impose a health risk. However, pesticides even in low

The Quality of Organically Produced Food


concentrations are known or suspected to be the cause of many diseases and health prob‐ lems including birth defects and cancer (BMA, 1992; Howard, 2005). The main problem is that the MRLs for pesticides are usually determined by testing of individual active substan‐ ces (each one) on rats for a relatively short period of time. Almost nothing is known about the effects of consuming a total of potentially hundreds of different pesticides during the whole lifetime and associated actions resulting from synergistic mixtures of pesticides. This reaction is named in literature as a ‘cocktail effect’. According to Howard (2005), the most recommended way to protect ourselves is to avoid consuming all of pesticides, especially in case of pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children up to 3 years. In 1994-1999 Baker et al., (2002) analyzed in the USA the fruit and vegetables from the three types of pro‐ duction (organic, integrated and conventional) for pesticide residues content. According to the results, the percentage of organic crops with a known presence of pesticide residues was approximately three times lower compared to conventional crops, and about two times low‐ er compared to the raw materials from integrated agriculture (see Figure 1). Most samples with pesticide residues were found in conventional celery, spinach, pears and apples.

Figure 1. The comparison of contamination of agricultural crops with pesticide residues in the USA (in %) (Baker et al., 2002)

According to Lairon (2010), who reviewed the reports of French Agency of Food Safety and recent studies, from 94 to 100 per cent of organic foodstuffs contain no pesticide residues. In 1995-2001 similar survey was conducted in Belgium. The results revealed, that the percent‐ age of organic crops contaminated with pesticides was 12%, whereas in the case of conven‐ tional crops this percentage reached 49% (AFSCA-FAVV, 2001). Research carried out in Poland gave a surprising result, as the highest percentages of crops containing pesticide res‐ idues were found in integrated agriculture, i.e. 47% (2005) and 48% (2006). Conventional ag‐ riculture presented the intermediate state between the other two management systems - 28% of raw materials in 2005 and 21% in 2006 contained pesticide residues. Crops derived from organic production were contaminated at a level of 5% (2005) and 7% (2006), which were the


Organic Farming and Food Production

lowest among all three systems. The detected residues of pesticides in organic fruits and vegetables result from its unauthorized use (Gnusowski and Nowacka, 2007), which indi‐ cates the imperfect control system of organic farms conducted by certification bodies. Such situations occur not only in Poland but in all countries worldwide. It should be noted that those cases are rare and in general organic raw materials present much lower pesticide resi‐ due level compared to conventional ones. Therefore, it is expected that a diet based on or‐ ganic products should result in lower levels of pesticides in breast milk and human tissues. A few studies support this hypothesis. It was found in France that pesticide residues in hu‐ man breast milk decreased significantly with increasing share of organic food (from 25% to 80%) in the daily diet of lactating women (Aubert, 1987). Similar results were obtained by comparing the content of organophosphorus pesticide residues in blood and urine of chil‐ dren fed organically vs. conventionally (Curl et al., 2003). Body fluids of children on conven‐ tional diet contained six times more pesticide residues than children on organic diet. These results indicate that consumption of organic products can significantly reduce the risk of ex‐ cess pesticide intake with food and thus improve public health. Each year the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) publishes a report on monitoring of pesticide contamination in the market food in 27 European Union member states and two EFTA countries (Norway and Iceland). For several years, the report has also included the studies on organic food. According to the report for 2007, the percentage of organic food products containing resi‐ dues of pesticides at levels exceeding the MRL value was much lower than for conventional products. A similar result was obtained in 2008 (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Samples with pesticide residues above the MRL in European food (%) (EFSA, 2009; 2010)

The Quality of Organically Produced Food


A number of studies clearly indicate a higher content of nitrates and nitrites in conventional‐ ly produced crops compared to organic ones. According to Lairon (2010) organic vegetables contain approximately 50% lower levels of nitrites when compared to conventional ones. This is the result of the treatment with synthetic, readily soluble nitrogen fertilizers, that is absorbed in large quantities through the root system and leads to accumulation of nitrates in the leaves and other plant organs. The organic system allows using organic fertilizers, which also contain nitrogen, but in organically bound form. When they reach the soil, followed by further decomposition of the fertilizer by soil microorganisms and by edaphon, the complex organic-mineral compound (humus) is formed. The plants get nitrogen from the humus on‐ ly when they need it, so there is little possibility of excessive accumulation of nitrate in plant organs (Vogtmann, 1985). This is important for human health because the nitrates are con‐ verted into nitrites, which can cause a dangerous condition known as methemoglobinemia in case of infants, young children and older people (Mirvish, 1993). Furthermore, nitrite can react with amines to form carcinogenic and mutagenic nitrosamines, causing gastrointesti‐ nal cancers and leukemia (Szponar and Kierzkowska, 1990). This process is dangerous not only for children but also for adults of any age. Many authors compared the nitrate content in organic vs. conventional crops in the following species: white cabbage (Wawrzyniak et al., 2004; Rutkowska, 1999; Rembiałkowska, 2000), red cabbage (Rutkowska, 1999), potatoes (Hajslova et al., 2005; Rembiałkowska, 2000; Rembiałkowska, 1998), lettuce (Guadagnin et al., 2005), beetroot (Leszczyńska, 1996; Rembiałkowska, 2000), parsley (Rutkowska, 1999), carrot (Rembiałkowska, 1998; Rutkowska, 1999; Rembiałkowska, 2000), celery (Wawrzyniak et al., 2004), Pac Choy Chinese cabbage (Wawrzyniak et al., 2004). After averaging the re‐ sults of the above studies and application of a formula by Worthington (2001): (CONVORG) / ORG x 100%, conventional crops contain an average of 148.39% more nitrate than organic crops. The highest levels of nitrate were found in red beetroots, because they exhibit the tendency of nitrate accumulation in roots. Therefore, despite their high nutritional value we should pay particular attention to the production system, as the best choice is the organic agriculture. The data presented above provide a basis to conclude that organic system helps to reduce the intake of nitrates and nitrites by the human body. Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, arsenic, mercury and zinc are introduced into the food chain from various sources: industry, transport, municipal waste and agriculture. For example, mineral phosphate fertilizers used in conventional agriculture can introduce cad‐ mium into plant crops, as well as the metal industry and transportation cause cadmium con‐ tamination of soil and crops. Therefore, there are no clear differences in the heavy metal content between organic and conventional raw materials. Some of the studies confirm the higher levels of heavy metals in conventional crops, whereas other authors show the oppo‐ site results (Rembiałkowska, 2000). Problem to be solved is whether organic farming (com‐ posting, increasing of soil organic matter, increasing soil pH, etc.) can reduce the intake of heavy metals by crops. Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by fungi of the groups of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium, which are found in food products (Kouba, 2003). Production of mycotoxins depends primarily on temperature, humidity and other environmental conditions. The ef‐


Organic Farming and Food Production

fect of mycotoxins consumption on human health is negative, as they perform carcinogenic properties and affect negatively the immune system. More and more studies are currently carried out in order to compare the content of mycotoxins in food products, as the consum‐ ers are becoming more aware of aspects concerning food safety. The content of mycotoxins in organic products is discussed all over the world, as the use of fungicides in organic farm‐ ing is prohibited. The most important question is whether the system of agricultural produc‐ tion has an impact on the development of mycotoxins. Studies comparing the mycotoxins content in organic vs. conventional products show comparable amounts in both types of products, sometimes indicating lower content of mycotoxins in organic products. Spadaro et al., (2006) and Versari et al., (2007) confirmed lower amounts of mycotoxins in organic prod‐ ucts compared to conventional ones. Even if the level of mycotoxins in organic products is higher, the differences are small and do not exceed acceptable levels (Gottschalk et al., 2007; Jestoi, 2004; Pussemier, 2004; Maeder et al., 2007). According to Lairon (2010), organic cere‐ als contain similar levels of mycotoxins as conventional cereals. An important case is wheat, which is a commonly consumed grain in European countries (mostly in the form of bread and pasta), and may be contaminated with mycotoxins. For this reason, much research is done to ensure the food security of winter wheat. The studies revealed that the level of dam‐ age caused by Fusarium and the concentration of mycotoxins were lower in case of organic crops. Environmental factors have comparable impact on the content of mycotoxins as the use of varieties with high resistance (Wieczyńska, 2010). 3.2. Bioactive substances The nutritional value of food depends primarily on the appropriate content of com‐ pounds necessary for the proper functioning of the human body. The content of phyto‐ chemicals in plant foods is a major concern in the current food science. Secondary plant metabolites play a critical role in human health and may have a very high nutritional val‐ ue (Lundegårdh and Mårtensson, 2003). Phenolic compounds are of particular interest be‐ cause of their potential antioxidant activity and other healthy properties, including properties that may prevent cancer (Brandt and Mølgaard, 2001). Therefore the content of the secondary metabolites from the group of phenolic compounds in plant foods is of great interest, as more and more scientific studies are focused on comparing their content in organic and conventional products. Secondary plant metabolites are substances naturally synthesized by the plant, but usually do not take direct part in the creation of its cells. They are usually produced as a reaction to exposure of the plant on the external stimuli, performing the functions of physiological changes regulators in case of pests attack or other stress factors (Brandt and Mølgaard, 2001). These substances include antioxidants, which protect the organism against the effects of many external factors and reduce the risk of civilization diseases (Di Renzo et al., 2007). Plant secondary metabolites can be basically divided into compounds that do not contain ni‐ trogen phenolic compounds, such as phenolic acids, flavonoids (six classes of them: fla‐ vones, flavonols, flavanones, flavanols, isoflavones, anticyanides) and terpenoids (e.g.

who conducted a meta-analysis of the published compara‐ tive studies of the content of secondary metabolites in organic vs. Rembiałkowska et al. The content of flavonoids or flavonols themselves can be expressed as equivalent amounts of quercetin (Rembiałkowska et al. Anttonen et al. pears. blackberries. glucosinolates).. 2000. Young et al. 1998).. with no breakdown for individual substances.. After averaging the results of the above research and application . 2005.. apple juice. 2004. 1998). 2003a. Polyphenol content is com‐ pared by some authors as a dry matter of the product. they chelate metals.. reduce blood clot formation and thus reduce the risk of stroke.. Carbonaro and Mattera.doi. the total amount of polyphenols is analysed. 2005. have a protective effect for vitamin C increasing its effectiveness. Tarozzi et al. Weibel et al. Flavonoids present strong antioxidant activity.indicate a significant advantage of fruits (apples. by inhibiting tumor growth. strawberries. After averaging the results of the above research and application of a formula by Worthington (2001): (CONV-ORG) / ORG x 100% organic fruits contain on average 44. (2006) analysed the organic and conven‐ tional strawberries with respect to individual substances: quercetin and kaempherol belong‐ ing to flavonols.The Quality of Organically Produced Food http://dx. However in most cases the content in the fresh plant product is analysed. According to Brandt et al. Hallmann and Rembiałkowska. non-protein amino acids. red peppers and onions) contain significantly more polyphenols than conventional vegetables (Asami et al. 2006). conventional crops.. As a separate group of polyphenolic compounds. such as tannic acid (Carbonaro et al. Rembiałkowska et al. strengthens blood vessel walls.g. lettuce. Anttonen et al. Asami et al. the conversion can be used.except one (Antto‐ nen et al.. 2006.5772/54525 73 tetraterpenes.. In most studies comparing organic vs. 2006). with no break‐ down for individual compounds belonging to this group. amines. Rembiałkowska et al.. frozen strawberries. organ‐ ic ones contain 12% higher levels of favorable secondary metabolites than corresponding conventional fruits and vegetables. Hallmann and Rembiałkowska. 2003 b. 2006.. 2002. 2003. which showed lower levels of one substance (kaempherol) in organic com‐ pared to conventional strawberries . xanthophylls) and nitrogen-containing compounds (alkaloids.. (2011). 2001. 2002). Carbonaro et al. 2003. Pac Choi Chinese cabbage.. 2004. 2005. performing many functions in the human body (Bidlack.. 2006). carotenes. 2006. Anyway. 2003a and b. To express the content of polyphenols in the plant. all of the analyzed studies . Tarozzi et al..7% more polyphenols than conventional ones. The comparative research shows that organic vegetables (frozen corn.. 2004. tomatoes. Rembiałkowska et al. The studies performed on vegetables are also conducted with respect to the total polyphenol content.. Young et al. Moreover. Mostly discussed are flavonoids. Rembiałkowska et al.. the anthocyanins are tested in plant foods by many authors (Rembiałkowska et al.. affect the immune system e. Hallmann and Rembiałkowska. 2006). prevent arteriosclerosis. red or‐ anges) derived from organic production (Weibel et al... conventional raw materials with respect to the con‐ tent of secondary metabolites. peaches. 2006).. prevent some bac‐ terial and viral infections (Bidlack. Hallmann et al. glycosides. stewed apple. which constitute a large group of several thousand differ‐ ent compounds and play an important role in healthcare.

which performs fundamental metabolic functions in the human body. which give the plants yellow. Hallmann et al.. 2005. or‐ ange and red color.13%) was also found in organic tomatoes (Caris-Veyrat et al.. 2007a and b. Juroszek et al. The group of favourable antioxidants include also vitamin C. 2004.. The content of beta-carotene in organic carrots was higher. .. Vitamin C inhibits the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines. Hallmann et al. Carotenoids are another group of secondary metabolites of plants. 2009).. research by Caris-Veyrat et al.4% more polyphenols than conventional ones. it participates in the metabo‐ lism of fats. lu‐ tein in organic pepper (Hallmann et al. 2007. By contrast Warman and Havard (1997) confirmed a lower content of beta-car‐ otene in organic carrots. accelerates the proc‐ ess of wound healing and development of bones. Lycopene gives tomatoes inten‐ sive red color. higher lycopene content in organic material were found only in to‐ mato juice (Hallmann and Rembiałkowska. 2009. Hallmann and Rembiałkowska. Hallmann and Rembiałkow‐ ska. The comparative studies performed with respect to total carotenoid content in organic and conventional vegetables revealed the highest differences in case of pepper (Perez-Lopez et al. according to research by Abele (1987). Moreover. which stimu‐ lates the increased number of lymphocytes. Toor et al. whereas less lycopene in organic tomatoes and green peppers were found in comparison to conventional crops (Hallmann et al. regenerates vitamin E and other low molecular antioxidants such as glutathione and a has a stabilizing effect in relation to the flavonoids. However. 2008). Vitamin C exhibits bacteriostatic properties and even bactericidal activity against some pathogens. they support the immune system . (2004) showed over 40% more beta-carotene in organic tomatoes. However.. 2008. Hallmann et al. but their color is masked by the green chlorophyll. 2005. It supports the absorption of non-haem iron and is involved in the production of red blood cells.. 2005. 2003b. First of all it ensures the proper functioning of the immune system.. as they lower the blood cholesterol level. 2006.. 2007. it supports the biosynthesis of collagen. Hallmann et al. Furthermore. 2008a). Hallmann and Rembiałkowska. Carotenoids play an important role for human health. The comparative studies conducted in the Organic Food Department of Warsaw University of Life Sciences confirmed significantly higher amount of beta-carotene in organic tomatoes and peppers (Rembiałkowska et al. Carotenoids also exhibit antitumor activity.. Rickman Pieper and Barrett. 2007). 2007). 2005. Hallmann et al..especially beta-carotene. Rembiałkowska et al. Lutein and zeaxanthin make corn yellow. and thus favorably affect the heart. They include over 600 pigments.. 2008 a). Slightly higher content of carotenoids (1. characterized by strong antioxidative properties. The best-known carotenoid is beta-carotene found in many orange and yellow fruits and green leafy vegetables. In addition.. 2008 b). 1993)...74 Organic Farming and Food Production of a formula by Worthington (2001): (CONV-ORG) / ORG x 100% organic vegetables contain on average 57. cholesterol and bile acids. 2007) and total carotenoids in organic peppers (Hallmann et al. thus it re‐ duces the negative effect of nitrate intake (Mirvish. mainly thanks to its antioxidant properties (Stracke et al. Carotenoids are also found in green leafy vegetables..

cop‐ per. Smaller differences were found in the choice of apples and red beets from organic farming. Recent meta-analysis of mineral content showed that organic fruits and vegeta‐ bles contain an average 5. celery (Schuphan. 1974.. Swiss chard (Moreira et al. which can be explained with abovementioned factors. 1984). 2003).The Quality of Organically Produced Food http://dx. Vogtmann et al.. lettuce (Schuphan. were also more likely to be selected by more than half (58%) of rats.. apples (Rembiałkowska et al.. Rembiałkow‐ ska. Ac‐ cording to Lairon (2010). Rembiałkowska et al.. Rembiałkowska and Rutkowska. including carrots. 2007). spinach.3% more vitamins than conventional raw materials. Rembiałkowska et al. 2000). 2002).. magnesium and phospho‐ rus) in organic crops. 2005.5772/54525 75 Except two studies. leek (Lairon et al. 2005. 1984). kale. Velimirov. Numerous studies based on the food preferences were also performed on rats.. sodium and zinc. organic plant products contain higher concentrations of iron and magnesium. 1984... potatoes. Rembiałkowska. conventional vegetables (Worthington. 2011). vegetables and fruits produced organically are often better evalu‐ ated in terms of their sensory properties (Rembiałkowska. Rembiałkowska. pepper (Hall‐ mann et al. Recent meta-analysis of the vari‐ ous vitamins in vegetables and fruits showed that the organic raw materials contained on average 6. Rembiałkowska. red currants and apples (Zadoks. potassium... 1998. Hallmann et al. 1991). kale (Schuphan. 1993. 1996. beets. 2003) and organic tomatoes (Rembiałkowska et al. There are several studies confirming the higher content of total sugars in organic fruits and vegetables. cherries. 2000. Hajslova et al. 2005).. 2004. 1998. which. 2006. 2005). Hallmann et al. potatoes (Schuphan. 2001. 2011). 2003b).5% more minerals than conventional ones (Hunter et al. Velimirov. 2000. In research carried out both by consumers and by the trained panel. phosphorus. Leclerc et al. 2005). The results revealed better sensory properties of organic materials (Maeder et al.. Fischer and Richter. 1974. Rats that were fed both with organic and conventional food presented the tendency to choose or‐ ganic carrots (81% of animals) and organic wheat (68%). The microorganisms generate compounds that support plants in introducing active substances adsorbed by soil minerals.. making them more available for plant roots. 1978.. and the difference was statistically significant. 1974).doi. Hallmann and Rembiałkowska. selenium. 2000). cabbage (Rembiałkowska. most of the results revealed that organic crops were characterized by a higher content of vitamin C: spinach (Schuphan. which confirmed lower vitamin C content in organic frozen corn (Asami et al.2% more vitamin C than conventional products. a possible reason of a higher content of min‐ eral elements in organic raw materials is associated with a higher content of microorganisms in organically cultivated soil. 1974). . red beets. 1974. 2003b. 2003a) and oranges (Rapisarda et al. 2006). Summary of studies comparing the mineral content in organic vs. Hallmann et al. Petterson. This was found with respect to boron. tomatoes (Re‐ mbiałkowska et al. but the difference was not statistically significant (Hunter et al. After averaging the results of the above research and application of a formula by Worthington (2001): (CONV-ORG) / ORG x 100% organic materials contain on average 32. molybdenum. 2001) indicates a higher content of minerals (iron. The higher sugar content is associated with higher technological quality (for instance in case of sugar beet) and also with the higher sensory quality (taste). however.. According to the author.. onion (Hallmann and Rembiałkowska.. 2007). 1989.

beets and potatoes). According to Worthington (2001). whereas in case of crops grown with organic fertilization the losses were 28. strawberries (Reganold et al. However. the nutrition (prohibition on synthetic feed additives) and rearing conditions (choice of breed. The higher storage losses of vegetables grown with mineral fertilizer may be associated with a higher content of water absorbed by the plant. 2010). 2000). 1987. Higher dry matter content of organic raw materials were observed in carrots (Velimirov. Average values for the organic raw materials tested in 53 different studies were found to be 10% lower than for conventional crops. Furthermore. Furthermore. lysine. so that organic products perform better storage quality (Bulling. Rembiałkowska.76 Organic Farming and Food Production Several studies carried out so far (Rembiałkowska. Animal products Principles of organic animal husbandry refer to animal welfare (indoor farm density.. apples (Weibel. 1978). and therefore represent lower nutritional value for consumers. e. A large amount of nitrogen available to plants increases the production of proteins. which in case of organic agriculture involves the use of seasonal grazing and cutting down on feed concen‐ trates. nitrogen derived from each type of fertilizer affect the quantity and quality of proteins produced by plants. genetically modified organisms and their products. Rembiałkowska et al. turnips. Gąstoł et al. Organically reared animals can be fed only with organic materials.g. The average storage losses of crops grown with mineral fertilizers were 46.. 4.9% (Samaras. 2004. All tested root vegetables (car‐ rots. which is beneficial for the content of bioactive substances in meat and milk.. The hypothesis that plant materials from organic production is better to store was also confirmed by Benbrook (2005). . Samaras (1978) confirmed that the main impact on the amount of weight loss after storage of vegetables is the type of fertilizer applied to them. hormones. 2001) confirmed low‐ er total amount of protein in organic crops compared to conventional. organic livestock production is carried out without the use of antibiotics (except the situations. potatoes (Rembiałkowska. the protein quality (considered as the content of essential amino acids) were found to be higher in or‐ ganic crops. present lower amounts of essential amino acids. access to open air. Bulling (1987) made a set of stud‐ ies comparing the differences in the storage losses between organic and conventional vege‐ tables and fruits. The higher technological value of organic plant products results from higher dry matter con‐ tent. 2000). when the life of animal is endangered and there are no other therapeutic agents available). However. conditions of weaning and slaughter). Worthington. 2005). proteins produced in response to high levels of nitrogen. (2009) found lower dry matter content of or‐ ganic apples and black currant than in conventional ones. which were grown with organic fertilizer were character‐ ized by much lower storage losses. 2004). the possibility of movement). A key factor determining the quality of animal products is the animal feed. These properties are important both from nutritional and economic point of view. and reduces carbohydrate produc‐ tion. the presence of natural bedding.4% of the initial mass. along with easily soluble mineral compounds. 2000.

mutton (Fisher et al. 2004). The higher intramuscular fat content is associat‐ ed with better sensory quality of meat from organic production. 2006. (2003a) revealed a lower total fat content in meat derived from organically reared rab‐ bits.doi. However. Nilzen et al. 2000.. 2003. 1999).. . However.. Figure 3. The studies conducted on poultry revealed different results.. results obtained by Walshe et al. poultry (Castellini et al. as higher content of saturated fatty acids was found in organic meat. This means the lower content of saturated and monounsaturated fat‐ ty acids.. longissimus muscle be‐ tween organic and conventional pork derived from Korean black pigs (Kim et al. lamb (Angood et al.5772/54525 77 2000).. Only research done by Olsson et al. Kim et al. such as favora‐ ble ratios of fatty acids. 1998). 2004.1. Fatty acid profile of organic and conventional pork from Korean black pigs (Kim et al.. 1998. 2009) Most of the studies confirm a higher content of intramuscular fat in organic meat.. Figure 3 below presents the comparison of fatty acid profile of M. which was found in beef (Woodward and Fernandez... Lebas et al. (2002) obtained opposite results. 2009). Research carried out on rabbit meat by Pla (2008) and Combes et al. (2005) confirmed higher total fat content in organic beef... Pastushenko et al. 2001. it exhibited lower content of monounsaturated fatty acids and higher levelpolyunsaturated fatty acids. The meat produced organically exhibits also lower total fat content. the higher content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. (2003) indicated a lower content of intramuscular fat and a lower lean body mass in organic pork. Mil‐ let et al. 2009).The Quality of Organically Produced Food http://dx. pork (Sundrum and Acosta. sheep (Fisher et al. but comparable fatty acid composi‐ tion in both types of meat. Meat Meat derived from organic farming perform desirable nutritional properties. Bee et al.. 2002). 2007). pork (Han‐ sen et al.. In turn. which has been confirmed for: beef (Enser et al. Enser et al.. and a lower ratio of n-6 fatty acids to n-3 fatty acids. 2000)...

preventing the develop‐ ment of cancer.. which are composed of fatty acids whose chain length and degree of saturation determine the nutritional value of milk fat. 1993. 2002). 2005). (2004) indicated a higher weight gains of organic pigs in comparison to conventional ones. (2003b). Hu et al.. trans-10 cis-12 and trans-9 cis-11) counteract obesity (by reduc‐ ing fat and increasing muscle mass) and support the treatment of diabetes (Taylor and Zahradka. 2004) and sheep (Fisher et al.. which leads to cardiovascular diseases (Haug et al. and autoimmune symptoms is increased... Millet et al. It supports the functioning of n-3 and n-6 acids. while linoleic acid (LA) occurs in the largest quantities among the n-6 acids. The content of CLA in milk fat is affected by a number of factors.. pork (Hansen et al. However. 1999). the darker meat color was identified in the case of organic pork (Kim et al... Oth‐ er CLA isomers (trans-7 cis-9. 2009. pork (Sun‐ drum and Acosta. as well as they reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (Horrobin.. the n-3 ones pose beneficial effects on the human organism. (2000) found that organic lamb meat is preferred much more than conventional because of the sensory properties.2. Saturated fatty acids are considered as a factor adversely affecting the human health. Research conducted by Fisher et al.. study performed by Millet et al.. 2000) and poultry (Castellini et al. Mensink et al. preventing them from oxidation. According to Combes et al.. As for monounsaturated fatty acids. and lowers cholesterol and acts antineoplastic (Ip. 1997. 2003.. The most important isomer (constituting about 90% of CLA) is cis-9 trans-11. which was confirmed by analyses conducted on beef (Walshe et al. Hansen et al. 2007). First of . amounting to about ¼ of the total weight of fatty acids. which has been confirmed for beef (Woodward and Fernandez. The important parameter of milk quality is also the ratio of unsaturated fatty acids n-6:n-3. (2002) demonstrated with the sensory profile that the organic poultry is more juicy and acceptable than conventional. Milk Cow's milk is very variable with respect to fat content. Nilzen et al. 2006. 2006) and poultry (Castellini et al.. the risk of inflammation... heart disease and stimulating the immune system (Whigham et al.. N-3 acids affect positively the nervous system. Organic meat is also characterized by poor storage quality (high levels of TBARS). 2004). Castellini et al. thrombosis. 1999.78 Organic Farming and Food Production As far as sensory quality is concerned. The adverse properties of organic meat include the lower carcass weight (lower daily weight gains). 2003). This fraction is formed in about 95%by triacylglycerols. 2001). The most important fatty acid among the n-3 acids is alpha-linolenic acid (LNA). 1999). If the content of the first group of acids is too high. Cow's milk is the main source of the isomers of this compound in the human diet (Haug et al. Among the unsaturated fatty acids. the organic rabbit meat is softer than conventional. 2004). mutton (Fisher et al. The sensory assessment done by Pla (2008) confirmed that organic rabbit meat exhibited more liver flavor and less anise and grass taste. 4. 2000) and increased levels of blood cholesterol. 2000). oleic acid is the predominant one. A special place in the composition of cow's milk is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). 2002).. It is called rumenic acid because the rumen is the place of its synthesis from linoleic acid. because they contribute to the development of arteriosclerosis (Pfeuffer and Schrezenmeir. 2000). Kris-Etherton et al..

However. are another advantage for the consump‐ tion of organically produced milk. This was also indicated by research by Chin et al. A study by Butler et al. 2003.. The detailed results are presented in table 1. Similar conclusions were also drawn by Butler and Leifert (2009) who confirmed that the value of the ratio of n-6: n-3 in organically pro‐ duced milk does not exceed 1. Research byJahreis et al. can be also identified in the concentration of CLA (Bergamo et al..46 1. 1977). while in the conventional milk is above 2. 2006) Qualitative changes in milk. (2006) organic milk can be characterized with a significantly higher content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. 2006. it depends on the feed given to animals (Parodi. This has been also confirmed by the research conducted within the project QLIF (Quality Low Input Food). (2001).44 2. Prandini et al.51 26. The research comparing the quality of milk from different production systems is based on the analysis of particular differences in the composition of fatty acids (Molkentin and Giese‐ mann. 2006).5772/54525 79 all.doi. According to the results of Ellis et al.96 0. the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids relative to monounsaturated ones was found higher. 2004. followed by seasonal variations (Parodi.22 1.5. 1989). (1995). which is favorable from a health point of view.. 2000) and oxidation of linoleic acid (LA) during processing (Ha et al.61 1..33 ± 0. (2008) revealed that its amount may be higher by up to 60% com‐ pared to the content in the conventional milk. Lin et al. Differences in fatty acid composition between organic and conventional milk (Ellis et al..11 ± 0.75 ± 1.66 ± 0. (1992). Butler et al.65 ± 0.58 ± Table 1.. 2008). few studies showed no difference in the amount of CLA between milk from both production systems (Ellis et al.01 3. the endogenous synthesis of trans-vaccenic acid (TVA) (Griinari et al.89 ± 0.09 0..63 ± 2. 2008). Butler et al.25 ± 3.06 ± 0. .25. The level of antiox‐ idants in organic milk was almost double compared to conventional milk (QLIF. particularly in relation to CLA content in cow's milk and buffalo milk.. 2008).. The ratio of n-6: n-3 was consequently lower.68 ± 0.The Quality of Organically Produced Food http://dx. Toledo et al. (1996) confirms that the organic production of milk contributes to increased concentrations of CLA... Their content was found higher in milk from cows from or‐ ganic husbandry and this corresponds to the fact that the feeding of such cattle is based on green forage pasture (Nielsen et al.. Szente et al. Antioxidants..94 3.54 27.68 ± 0. 1999).19 ± 3. TVA and LNA. including n-3 acids (the difference in comparison to conventional milk was over 60%). % FA SFA MUFA PUFA total n-3 total n-6 TVA CLA Conventional milk 67...66 0. resulting from the application of ecological production system. Moreover.25 1. 2007.34 Organic milk 68..13 ± 3. especially vitamin E and carotenoids. 2002).

which increase the concentration of macro. The meta-analysis confirmed. while others were completely free of these contaminants (Benbrook. The issue of the impact of antibi‐ otics in conventionally fed cows on the resistance of the human body to these antibiotics is still a topic of discussion. are negligible in milk from or‐ ganic production. The analysis of heavy metals in both types of milk showed no differences between the samples. No differences between milk from both systems were found at a temperature of milk of 7°C. are as a conse‐ quence a poor feed for animals with respect to these components.42 vs. Sensory quality assessments of organic and conventional milk are very rare and so far incon‐ clusive. Research by Zadoks (1989) showed greater acceptability of conventional milk among consumers. docosapentanoic acid. The authors concluded that there are clear dif‐ . Croissant et al. In the certified organic farms such practices are prohibited. who found the deficiencies of copper. conju‐ gated linoleic acid. the residues listed above. preferring generally available in the market milk with a neutral smell.. selenium.. which are of‐ ten routinely given by conventional farmers to farm animals for the purposes of prevention. Today's consumers are not used to such properties.. For this reason. Apart from the abovementioned benefits milk of organic production has one more advant‐ age over the conventional milk. 2003. 0. Kuusela and Okker (2007) explain this as a result of a low content of trace elements in soil within organic farms. (2007) found that consumers felt more grassy and animal smell in milk derived from organic production compared to typical conventional milk. transvaccenic acid. only one contained a low level of these substances. zinc. The predominant factor responsible for this result was the peculiar smell of cow's milk. Zadoks. iodine and molybdenum in the organic milk. 2008). The authors’ approach used the Hedges’ d effect size method with regard to the results obtained by various authors in the last three years. This has been confirmed by Coonan et al. alpha-linolenic acid. few studies showed a higher calcium content in organically produced milk (Lund and Algers. However. The use of synthetic hormones and genetically modified feed in‐ gredients is also not allowed in organic system. that compared to conventional dairy prod‐ ucts. the n-3:n-6 ratio was found to be significantly higher in organically produced dairy products (0.80 Organic Farming and Food Production Palupi et al. The crops. 1989).. Among the organic samples. much more intense in the case of organic milk. which are frequently detected in conventional dairy products. (2002). Organic production implies the abandonment of the use of mineral supplements. organic ones exhibit significantly higher content of protein.23). (2012) carried out a meta-analysis of comparative studies related to the nutri‐ tional quality of organic and conventional dairy products. This is a prohibition on the use of antibiotics. Furthermore. making the content of these components generally higher in conventionally produced milk. 2005). which contributes to their deficiency in milk. but only when the temperature of milk was 15°C. The use of synthetic fertilizers. eicosapentanoic acid and the total n-3 fatty acids. Research conducted by USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) confirmed this hypothesis by detecting the presence of pyretroid pesticides in 27% of con‐ ventional milk samples. which have grown within such soil. detecting low contamination of all samples (Gabryszuk et al.and microelements in soil are not per‐ mitted in organic farming.

which is associated with a higher intramuscular fat content. as well as sugars and dry matter. Studies show that there are no significant differences in the content of cereals with mycotox‐ ins between organic and conventional products. the higher nutritional value of organic foodstuffs cannot be simply considered as an evidence. (2010) and Huber et al. Furthermore. However. As a result.and micronutrients. which is also confirmed by preference tests performed on animals. Conclusions The favorable high nutritional value of food depends not only on the appropriate content of compounds necessary for the proper functioning of the human body and the low content of harmful substances. Milk from organic production is characterized by a favorable fatty acid composition (includ‐ ing a high content of CLA). and inferior storage quality (high levels of TBARS). high levels of vitamins and antioxidants.The Quality of Organically Produced Food http://dx. Evi‐ dence for such effects are still lacking. According to Dangour et al. milk from organic production may be characterized by the deficiency of some macro. characteristic of the plant.. due to the ban on the use of mineral supple‐ ments and fertilizers in organic farming. Meat derived from organically reared animals exhibit positive quality characteristics. they significantly increase the palatability of organic fruits and vegetables. In terms of pesticides and nitrates from the consumer point of view raw materials from or‐ ganic production are certainly safer than conventional. This includes the com‐ pounds belonging to the desirable antioxidants: vitamin acting an important part health-oriented prevention. but this has no effect on consumer acceptance. Based on the research carried out so far. so that consumers eval‐ uate the taste of organic materials as more typical. Organic meat is also better evalu‐ ated according to their sensory qualities. milk from organically reared animals can be worse evaluated by consumers because of the specific organoleptic characteristics.. Moreover. The level of mycotoxins is dependent not only on the production system. . the nutrient content in plant raw mate‐ rials in most cases is higher when they come from organic farming. especially the smell. carotenoids. that consumption of organic food contributes to the improvement of consumers’ health. no clear relationship between nutritional value and health effects can be defined. The unfavorable properties of organic meat include lower carcass weight (lower daily weight gain). The latter two components both contribute to higher technological value and reduction of storage losses. 5.5772/54525 81 ferences between the smell and quality of milk from organic and conventional systems. such as favorable ratios of fatty acids and low total fat content. therefore more developed studies are needed to deter‐ mine the nutrition-related health effects that result from the consumption of organic products. the flavor of organic products may be more intense compared to conventional materials.doi. According to studies cited here. (2011). phenolic compounds. but is also affected by storage and weather conditions.

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the health status of farm animals and the possible impacts of products from these animals on human health via the consumed food. provided the original work is properly cited.5772/53150 1. which measures might be adequate to bridge the gap between the expectations of different stakeholders involved and what might ex‐ © 2012 Sundrum. the processes are very complex and far more complex. peculiar and heterogeneous than gener‐ ally imagined and expected by consumers. . the associations are strong in the mind of humans and stakeholder groups and effective. Vari‐ ous factors on different scales along production and processing can have beneficial or detri‐ mental impacts on various features of dairy products’ and process qualities. and food that promises to support and improve health conditions is highly appreciated by consumers. the focus is directed to the question of how expectations of consumers with respect to “healthy food” and the deliveries of organic dairy farmers might fit together. On the other Introduction Milk and milk products are the outcome at the end of a long process and food chain. “Health” implicates a strong attraction for human beings. and reproduction in any medium. distribution. Although the link is very weak from a scientific point of view (low level of correlation).0). Moreover. Without striving for a comprehensive disquisition of the extensive issue. the white color of milk and their products provides like a screen an ideal area to project very different attributes and link very different associations with the product while only few reference points are given to validate any of these assumptions. especially for the purpose of product marketing. consum‐ ers’ attention to health and food safety issues has increased overwhelmingly because of their increased concern about their own health and the crises and emergencies reported world‐ wide [1]. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( In recent years. In the forthcoming sections it is the intention to contribute some enlightenment in the complex process of dairy milk production with a special emphasis on organic production.Chapter 5 “Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows Albert Sundrum Additional information is available at the end of the chapter http://dx. which permits unrestricted use. “Healthy food from healthy animals” is a slogan often used in the communication between different stakeholders to associate a relationship between the production process. licensee InTech.doi. Indeed.

In contrast. There is reason to assume that consumers delegate re‐ sponsibility for ethical issues in food production to the retailer or the government as many . More and more consumers expect their food to be produced with greater respect for the needs of farm animals.]. Many consumers do not understand the complexities of organic farming prac‐ tice and food quality attributes [4].5]. and the support for rural society – the so-called »public goods«. pes‐ ticide or chemical residues in animal products and assume that organic products are superi‐ or to those produced conventionally in being lower in residues and higher in nutrient content. All of these factors drive the decision-making process to buy those products [2]. For example. some organic milk consumers buy organic to avoid antibiotics and hormones whereas others focus on different concentrations in valuable ingredients or on the health status of the farm animals. Even though organic farming only covers a small percentage of the food market. Correspondingly. consumers of organic foods are neither homogenous in demo‐ graphics nor in beliefs [5. a change from confinement to grazing systems is one of the tools to evoke positive associations with the product.7. including a large number of factors that have to be taken into account and which are heterogeneous in the outcome. overall conclusions are drawn with respect to the challenges for organic farmers and for a market driven label program such as organic dairy farming. 2. For many people. organic farming ap‐ pears to be a superior alternative to conventional livestock production [4. Not only the word “health” but also the word “organic” means many different things to consumers. Expectations of consumers Consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive about health and welfare problems in com‐ mercial livestock production systems. consumers are less strongly motivated by the altruistic concerns of animal welfare. an industry currently under scrutiny for inconsistent practices. animal health and welfare have been turned into quality attributes of food. In this way. Interest in organic food has grown remarkably as consumers react to popular media about health ef‐ fects and then have gradually evolved attitudes toward the origins and to the production process of food. and at‐ titudes regarding organic foods and their consumption. perceptions. They hold a huge variety of motivations.8.3]. Consumers' in‐ terests and expectations are linked to their willingness to pay premium prices on products which they feel are healthier and safer for their families [6]. Many consumers also associate organic farming directly with enhanced animal welfare and conflate organic and animal-friendly products [2. For example. They express concern about possible hormone. the ex‐ pressed sympathy in the general public appears far greater than the market share. antibiotic. This largely explains the attention given to this issue as a specific object for public policy and market intervention. environmental protection.96 Organic Farming and Food Production ceed their potentials? Finally. consumers’ awareness of “healthy food” encounters very complex phenomena. In contrast to the metaphors and the associated pattern of thought used in sales promotion.

nor in the degree of their imple‐ mentation. The organic concept refers to the whole farm as the base of a comprehensive system where the production process is intended to ensure quality production rather than maximizing production. income elasticity of demand for or‐ ganic foods is generally small [8]. These principles grew out of stakeholder consultations and were agreed upon on a worldwide basis by the members of IFOAM with each principle be‐ ing accompanied by an explanation [11].org/10. and thereby sets it‐ self apart from conventional farming. In contrast to sensitivity of demand to changes in price. the production method itself became the identifying crite‐ rion. (3) Fairness. consumer groups mistrust the limited information available at the point of purchase. Organic farming commits itself to a number of substantial values. (2) Ecol‐ ogy. neither with respect to the various objectives. and (4) Care. the widespread sympathy for organic agriculture seems to stem from its valuebased approach. and to en‐ . organic agriculture is not organized uniformly. Because the variety of production sites and the resulting product properties did not allow their identification to be linked to products qualitatively in terms that could be described ex‐ actly and understood analytically.doi. A comprehensive definition of organic production is provided by the Codex Alimentarius Commission [16]. There have been and still are different perspectives on organic agriculture with different understandings of what it is and what it develops [15]. to avoid unfair competition between those who label their products as organic.“Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows http://dx. 1804/1999) on organic livestock production. Demand tends to depend more on the price differential with respect to conventionally grown products than on actual price. In Europe.5772/53150 97 consumers do not like to be reminded about issues connected with the animal when choos‐ ing products of animal origin [9]. This fundamental principle has been kept to the present day in the standards of international and national organic agriculture movements and in legislation. Largely. 3. The leading idea is based on the voluntary self-restriction in the use of specific means of production with the objectives to produce food of high quality in an animal-appro‐ priate and environment-friendly manner on the basis of a nearly complete nutrient cycle [14]. 834/2007 was introduced to protect consumers from unjustified claims. whereas price is an extremely visible attrib‐ ute of products related to quality by the notion of value [10]. Organic agriculture – Based on minimum standards The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements [11] states that organic hus‐ bandry focuses on improving animal health and preventing disease through a holistic ap‐ proach. On the other hand. the EU-Regulation (EEC-No. Guidelines have been a characteristic feature of organic farming since 1954 when clear crite‐ ria have been required by trademark legislation to identify organically produced goods [13]. while at the same time minimizing the use of synthetic medicine. now re‐ placed by EEC-No. Introduction of the wholesomeness concept in livestock production by organic production is mainly due to a wish for reestablishing a positive image of food safety and animal welfare aspects [12]. Nevertheless. The IFOAM states four principles: (1) Health.

the majority of antimicrobial drugs in organic dairy produc‐ tion are used for udder treatments [17. etc. one might expect a high level of uniformity in the framework of livestock production and living conditions in comparison to conventional production. and veterinary treatment. to‐ gether with regular exercise and access to pasture. The EU-Regulation provides a framework ensuring living conditions for organic livestock to be better than those in conventional systems. Concerning veterinary treatment. housing conditions. On the other hand. or produce derived from them. However. animal health problems shall be controlled mainly by preven‐ tion. organic farmers are obliged to intervene and treat animals immediately at first signs of illness. phytotherapeutic essences and homeopathic products shall be used in preference to chemically synthesized allopathic medicinal products or anti‐ biotics. hygiene and air condi‐ tions. the European approach con‐ siders not only the health aspects of the food but also animal welfare as an important issue. nutrient availabilities. In the case of organic products of animal origin minimum standards are defined by specifications for the conversion process. thus avoiding overstocking and any resulting animal health problems. and to make all organic systems subject to mini‐ mum standards. According to the EU Regulation. While the US concept seems to be more consumer driven (“pure” food). Labeling food as being “organic” identifies products as deriving from a production method. 4. However. care and breeding.98 Organic Farming and Food Production sure equal conditions for all operators. Although most organic . and encouraging strong resistance to disease and the prevention of infections. living conditions for farm animals differ markedly between organic production systems within and between countries [20]. little is known so far as to which degree organic farmers follow the leading ideas of the EU Regu‐ lation consistently. have been used just once. In general. stocking densities. Outcome of minimum standards As all organic farms are obliged to follow the same minimum standards. The use of high-quality feed. as well as application of animal husbandry practices appropriate to the requirements of each species. an appropriate density of livestock should be ensured. Where dairy cows receive more than three courses of treatment with chemically syn‐ thesized allopathic medicinal products or antibiotics within one year. Furthermore. due to a lack of control measures. the livestock concerned. to harmonize the rules across member states. Only the US National Organic Program Regulation (NOP) deviates substantially: animal products cannot be sold as certified organic if antibiotics or other substances not listed in the US NOP positive list such as bovine growth hormone. the regulation on animal health issue is widely harmonized [19]. may not be sold as being of organic origin. performance levels. based on the selection of appropriate breeds or strains of animals. is expected to encourage the natural immu‐ nological defense of the animal. which is used among conventional dairy farmers in the USA to increase milk production. disease prevention. depending on the farm-specific and local conditions [21].18]. They range from outdoor to indoor production with varying options with respect to space allow‐ ance. At the international level. animal nutrition..

fertility problems. In contrast. 5. To cope with multi-factorial diseases it is of high importance to consider the farm specific conditions. handling and management of the farm animals are in far greater competition with various other farm activities compared to highly specialized conventional livestock farms.). there are reasons for the assumption that on organic mixed farms. the leading ideas and guidelines of organic livestock farming exist only on a meta-lev‐ el. Thus. and metabolic disorders represent the main produc‐ tion diseases within dairy farming throughout the world [24]. etc. different objectives and different priori‐ ties thus provide divergent implications on the level of animal health status. nutrient demands have increased the call for the use of highly concentrated concentrate to meet the nutrient requirements of the animals at their various life stages. The equipment of indoor housing and the feeding ration is offered by specialized enterprises.5772/53150 99 farmers make use of conventional breeds and genotypes. Because time capacity and competence of the farmers can be limited. the availability of resources and the ongoing outcome of the interactions. While feeding rations should be based in the first place on home-grown feedstuffs. Parallel to the increasing performance level. Their occurrence indicates an overstrained capacity of the farm animals to cope with the living conditions provided by the farm management. They emerge from interactions and synergetic effects between different risk factors and processes which in themselves would not necessarily cause clinical signs of a disease. Thus. thereby increasing en‐ vironmental homogeneity between farms and leading to the predominance of a small num‐ ber of breeds and genotypes that are particularly productive under these specific conditions. Farm animals challenged by multi-factorial diseases Mastitis. . excessive demands in several fields at the same time provoke conflicts within the farm management. These are multi-factorial manmade diseases. animal health status of the herd can be defined as an emergent property of the individual farm system [21]. the dynamics and interactions between the various elements of the system. investments. While conventional livestock production has a strong shift toward specialization. a large variation in the perform‐ ance level and in the nutrient resources used is lameness. although the degree of mixture can vary widely [23]. know-how. they provide a higher variability in ingre‐ dients and composition than is expected in the case of feed from the feed mills [22].doi. In consequence this can lead to deficits on one or more of the various agricultural fields. becoming more and more standardized all over the world. In this respect. intensive systems have closely controlled environments to maximize aspects of animal productivity. the basic concept of organic farming is focused on mixed farms. The complex interactions between different availabilities of resources (labor time. It can be supposed that farmers on highly specialized livestock farms have a more specific management qualification and are more aware of the relevant health-related factors than farmers on mixed farms. Living conditions have typically been adopted across regions and countries.“Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows http://dx. whereas the implementation in farm practice results in a large variation of living condi‐ tions for the farm animals.

Whilst some understand something very sound and »normal« by this »process quality«. great importance has been ascribed to the content of unsaturated fatty acids. For some time now. etc. Whilst trans-fatty acids are assessed negatively. For a consumer-ori‐ entated quality product it is significant that quality products include a high degree of fulfill‐ ment of the consumer’s expectation as far as the desired properties are concerned. Diverse survey results moreover attribute the Ω3-fatty acids health-promoting ef‐ . According to Mair-Waldburg [27] quality includes both exemptions from deficiencies (inadequacies) as well as the fulfillment of previously determined features (properties) which exceed the usual. and often do not represent the interactive structure in the farm specific system and situation. 6. especially the Ω3-fatty acids in milk. technological and sensory characteristics. produced under animal-friendly husbandry conditions [28]. investments. many consumers expect that milk originates from healthy ani‐ mals. living conditions found in practice are so many and diverse that it is often difficult to identify those factors that are most influential and relevant in any actual combination of factors. consumer ex‐ pectations also include those related to the production process . Differences between experimental and on-farm conditions shed some doubt on the general applicability of experimental findings for practice. the issue of animal health is not primarily related to minimum standards. However. Considerations of single or very few aspects include the risk to oversimplify the matter and to jump to premature conclusions. Next to the characteristics of the product quality which encompass aspects of nutritional value and hygienic-toxicological. Milk quality and “healthy milk products” The term »quality« is documented very diversely in general language use and in the scientif‐ ic literature. There is a growing understanding within the scientific community that it is necessary to de‐ velop more comprehensive concepts in agricultural science which simultaneously consider a larger number of causal relationships. It largely depends on the capability of the farm management to think through the complexity of the processes on different process levels and to organize a well-balanced farm system and good living conditions for farm animals while facing severe limitations in the availability of rele‐ vant resources (labor time. Relationships between single factors found in experimental studies under ceteris paribus as‐ sumptions are not always confirmed in epidemiological studies and vice versa. The isolated view under ceteris paribus assumptions is required to be replaced by a systemic approach [26]. conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) are hoped for.). According to survey results. knowledge. Their content in milk is used from various sides in a promotionally effective way to be able to offer consumers a “healthier” milk. In human nutrition the various trans-isomeric fatty acids experience a diverse nutritional evaluation [29].100 Organic Farming and Food Production Thus. oth‐ ers see it rather as something special and extraordinary. The challenge to grasp the complexity within a farm system is also hampered by an on-going fragmentation of vet‐ erinary and agricultural science into a large number of sub-disciplines with an increasing risk of misinterpretation and misunderstanding [25].

“Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows


fects [30,31]. However according to a meta-analysis, correlating results have not been clearly proven [32]. Research presented by Nielsen & Lund-Nielsen [33] showed organic milk to have higher levels of vitamin E, Ω3-fatty acids, and antioxidant levels than conventional milk. The study concluded that the increased nutritional benefits were due to the organic cows being al‐ lowed to graze freely on grass as opposed to being kept in holdings, pens or feed lots. A three-year study in the United Kingdom found organic milk contained 68 percent more Ω3fatty acids on average than conventional milk [34]. Composition and texture of the milk (especially the protein and fatty acids’ content) are very much influenced by the nutrient uptake and nutrient composition [35]. Feeding clover si‐ lage, particularly red clover, increases the levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids [36]. A threefold increase in milk alpha-linolenic acid levels was observed between cows offered red clover silage compared with grass silage. With cows fed with alfalfa and red clover silage, a significant reduction was observed in palmitic acid content of milk. Seasonal effects on the content of fatty acids in milk are primarily due to a modified feed supply. Distinct effects originate from pasture grazing or the intake of greenery compared to feed rations during the winter period [37]. To investigate the effect of the dietary intake of the cow on milk composition, bulk-tank milk was collected on 5 occasions from conventional (n = 15) and organic (n = 10) farms in Denmark and on 4 occasions from low-input nonorganic farms in the United Kingdom, along with management and production parameters [38]. The main results are illustrated in figure 1. The concentration of α-linolenic acid (ALA) was the response variable (Y-variable; the measured output variable that describes the outcome of the experiment), and the amounts of the 8 feed variables were predictors for the organic and conventional milk pro‐ duction systems (X-variables; figure 1A). The regression coefficients (the numerical coeffi‐ cients that express the link between variation in predictors and variation in response) were significant for the proportion of cereals, pasture, and grass silage in the feed, indicating that these feed components increase the concentration of ALA in milk from the organic and con‐ ventional milk production systems. The proportion of maize silage, other silages, by-prod‐ ucts, and commercial concentrate mix in the feed gave in contrast a lower ALA concentration in the organic and conventional milk. Moreover, the concentration of linoleic acid (LA) was low in milk from the extensive milk production system, and to identify which feed components in the organic and conventional milk production systems, which had an effect on the concentration of LA in milk, a partial least squares regression analysis (PLS) analysis was performed with the concentration of LA in the milk as response variable and the 8 feed variables as predictors (figure 1B). In this case, the regression coefficients were on‐ ly significant for the proportion of commercial concentrate mix in the diet, indicating that use of commercial concentrate mix increases the content of LA in organic and conventional milk. However, the proportion of grass silage and other silages in the feed resulted in a low concentration of LA in the milk from the 2 production systems.


Organic Farming and Food Production

Figure 1. Regression coefficients obtained by partial least squares regression analysis for A) the concentration of αlinolenic acid (C18:3n-3) in organic and conventional milk and B) the concentration of linoleic acid (C18:2n-6) in or‐ ganic and conventional milk as response variable with the feed variables as predictors (X-variables) minus the vitamin supplement. The bars with diagonal stripes are significant; NS = non-significant (Slots et al., 2009).

“Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows


According to the results found in trials in mountainous regions, milk from cows which only fed from greenery from alpine pastures showed a higher content Ω3-fatty acid than a com‐ parable group of cows with silage feed [39]. The nutritional content of grass greenery is de‐ cisive for the fatty acid profile of the total milk fat regardless of the altitude of the pasture region [40]. The positive effect of silage feed and/or pasture feeding on the composition of fatty acid can be associated with a lower lacto-protein (41,42]. However, an increased Ω3fatty acid content is not linked only to pasture grazing. Additives of vegetable fats, e.g. lin‐ seed oil, provoke similar effects as pasture grazing [43]. Although grazing in general provides a positive effect on the content of fatty acids in milk, buying organic milk does, unfortunately, not guarantee that one is buying milk from open pasture grass-grazing cows. Instead of pasture grazing, organic farmers in Europe are al‐ lowed to offer an outdoor area without any grass available. Moreover, access to pasture and feed quality of clover-grass is restricted and depending on the vegetation period, widely varying between regions and farms as does the daily time period cows are enabled or not able to spend on pasture. Unfortunately, there are further constraints that act against the general trend of simplifying mental associations between grazing and “healthy milk”. In the accessible literature there is reference that the contents of free fatty acids including the Ω3-fatty acids increase in connec‐ tion with the inflammatory reaction in the udder [44]. A further survey brought to light that free fatty acids in the milk of clinically infected areas of the udder were in a six times higher concentration than in the non-infected udder area of the same cows [45]. Should these rela‐ tionships be confirmed in further studies, an increased content of Ω3-fatty acids in the milk cannot be judged unreservedly positive, but only in connection with the status of udder health. Mastitis does not only include a high content of Ω3-fatty acids in the milk but goes along with numerous impacts on milk quality: high somatic cell counts, high levels of bacteria in milk, high amounts of antibiotics used with the risk of antibiotic residue failures and the de‐ velopment of antimicrobial resistance, clinical signs with pain, suffering and tissue damage for the dairy cows. Udder diseases are associated with minor up to high degree damage of the mammary tissue [46]. Often chronic progression of the disease and thereby irreversible modifications in the glandular tissue takes place. Furthermore, the animals suffer more or less distinct pain per‐ ception and general discomfort [47,48]. Functionality of other body organs can also be con‐ siderably affected [49]. High rates of illness in the herd with limited therapeutic success determine an increased culling rate [50,51]. After fertility disorders, udder diseases portray the second most frequent causes for culling of dairy cows from the herd [52]. Local and systemic reactions of the organism on penetrated foreign germs alter the content of immune defense cells and antibodies as well as the content of electrolytes and trace ele‐ ments [53]. Subject to the degree of severity, the inflammation processes in the udder tissue always go hand in hand with losses in quality of the milk for human consumption. An in‐ creased cell and salinity [54], a reduction of the casein content, an increase of the pH-value, a

Still many open questions remain. The increased enzyme activity does not only impair the sensoric properties of milk. While the inconsis‐ tencies within the EU Regulation are obvious. Summing up. The assessment of animal health is a difficult task facing a high level of complexity due to the various interactions be‐ . especially with respect to the implementation of the gained scientific knowledge into practice. which could affect the milk disadvantageously. the EU-Regulation demands that raw milk must be from ani‐ mals which are free of any signs of an infection which can be transmitted to humans via the milk. Nevertheless. mixed to a homogeneous raw product with defined raw ingredients (especially fat content). there is substantial variation in the product and process quality of organic milk already within each herd. while any top quality is down and worse quality is upgraded before the milk enters the market. the EU-Regulation (EC-No 853/2004) for bulk tank milk fixes the marginal value of 400. Although the concentration of germs and somatic cells in the milk deriving from dairy farms is generally high. but also negatively affects the shelf-life of pasteurized and refrigerated storage of milk [56] as well as the cheese yield and storage [57. From the veterinarian perspective. The exclusion of health risks for the consumers to a large extent might be the main reason why consumers and retailers are largely inert against the health and welfare problems in dairy herds. In the USA.000 cells/ml for Grade A pro‐ ducers [61]. organic livestock production is char‐ acterized by largely heterogeneous farming conditions that allow for huge differences in the availability of nutrient resources. They must have good health and may not be suffering from a visible udder inflamma‐ tion and udder wounds. in practice BTSCC levels beyond the legal marginal value are often associated with a tolerable udder health status. Status of animal health in organic dairy production Several scientifically based studies on how and to what degree the EU-Regulation contrib‐ utes to the objective of a high status of animal health in organic farming have been conduct‐ ed in the last decade [62.104 Organic Farming and Food Production reduction of the cheese dairy efficiency and clearly increased lipolysis and proteolysis activi‐ ty contribute to this [55]. In contrast. The threshold values with respect to milk quality ordinance bear no relation to udder health.000 cells/ml in the geometric mean from three months for tradable milk. genotypes and management skills. all of which variously impact milk quality and animal health. The udder health status of dairy cows portrays a fundamental criterion of animal health. 7.63]. this does not comprehend a problem for the issue of food safety as the milk is pasteurized. On the other hand. an udder area (quarter) is then seen as healthy if the con‐ tent of somatic cells in the milk does not exceed the figure of 100. housing conditions.58]. The milk of heterogeneous quality from different farms is delivered to the dairy. Correspondingly.60]. the utilization of milk from cows which suffer from subclinical mastitis is not explicitly prohibited by legislation.000 cells/ml milk and with a bacteriologic test of the milk that there are no pathogens proven [59. the current legal limit for bulk tank SCC is even higher and fixed on 750. although defined by basic guidelines.

org/10. [77]. In the Swedish context.“Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows http://dx. Lower levels of lameness in organic farms than in non-organic units were found in a study by Rutherford et al.5772/53150 105 tween health influencing factors. Mastitis causes substantial economic losses and hampers animal welfare for both organic and conventional farmers. there is a need for a critical assessment of routine‐ ly collected health-related data used in research in order to make valid inferences regarding animal health performance [65]. Other studies show varying results including better udder health on organic farms [70]. Difficulties with methodology are also re‐ lated to the health indicators in use. no difference [71] and higher levels of mastitis on organ‐ ic farms [72]. ketosis. [71] and BlancoPenedo et al. the calving interval and the intervals from calving to first and last artificial insemination (AI) were shorter for organic compared to conventional cows [73].1 (25% and 75% percentiles) in organic herds and 3. Indeed. In fact. The context of milk productivity may play a pivotal role in adaptation in the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders in relation to negative energy balance.7 in conventional herds [69].3–6. Garmo et al. good records are available only for the most easily diagnosed diseases. or showed only marginal differences between organic and conventional farms in reproductive perform‐ ance [74]. [78] emphasized that herd-level factors are most important for the prevalence of hoof lesions. Sweden. In con‐ trast. surveys report lower production levels in the organic managed herds and support a yield-based explanation of any differences in metabolic or digestive disorder levels [62]. The incidence of clinical ketosis reported in most comparative studies was similar or even lower in organic than in conventional herds [80]. abomasal displacement. The differences from conventional production were due to a limited energy in‐ take and longer winter season in the organic cows. no significant differences in the mean values of somatic cell counts (SCC) were found [66]. [68] found that or‐ ganic cows had lower milk SCC and a lower mastitis treatment rate than conventional cows. Norway. In contrast. Differing results have been reported for udder health when or‐ ganic and conventional dairy herds were compared. In a Swedish study. in a study involving 27 organic and 57 conventional herds. Fall et al. Based on treatment data from the Nor‐ wegian Cattle Health Service.doi. In the literature. cystic ovarian disease and laminitis [79]. Germany and the UK suggest that organic dai‐ ry herds do not have more fertility related problems than conventional herds [62]. Complexity arises with current definitions of disease that includes subclinical conditions and a health management that considers animal health as herd performance [64]. such as excessive lipid accumula‐ tion in the liver. An impaired reproductive performance in organic cows has been reported from Norway [75]. the percentage of cows treated for mastitis per month was 1. [81] found no significant differences in clinical ketosis between organic and . huge differences and inter-country varia‐ tion exist in study designs and quality of the studies. Lameness plays a considerable role in organic dairy farming as demonstrated in a pilot study in 50 organic dairy herds in Germany [76]. Surveys from Switzerland.8–5. In Denmark. So far only a few investigations have been conducted to assess lameness in organic herds. Holzhauer et al. In this context. With the purpose of explaining the variance of different claw disorders. organic dairy cows tend to have higher somatic cell counts than non-organic cows [67].

lameness and mastitis in dairy cows) to what is found under conventional conditions while the extent of these problems varies con‐ siderably among farms [84]. to implement feedback mechanisms. Obviously. herd. The rate of culling due to mastitis in Sweden was found to be similar in 26 organic herds and 1102 conventional herds [70]. and between European countries [63]. the overall most common reason for culling was poor udder health followed by low fertility and leg problems [83]. a profound diagnostic procedure at different scales (animal. it has been suggested that selenium status may be poorer in organic compared to conventional farms [82]. Accounting for other health indicators. Currently. financial budget). the issue of animal health often is not the first priority in organic livestock farming. Striving for a high status of animal health requires high management skills. Thus. longevity is a reflection of the cow´s ability to avoid being culled. a considerable number of organic farms cannot cope. which included the change of legislation towards 100% organic diet. weak success . Studies that have compared health performance in conventional and organic farms have shown that disease problems in organic milk pro‐ duction tend to be similar (metabolic problems. In Norway. recommended measures have often been implemented in the daily farm practice only to a low degree. As differences between farms appear to be greater than those between production methods. The ranking order in culling reasons dif‐ fered in comparison to conventional herds. 8. Re‐ garding micro-mineral status. to re‐ flect on the most relevant factors. organic livestock farming defined by minimum stand‐ ards does not provide a homogenous outcome with respect to animal health [85]. in all respects. with the re‐ quests for high animal health status. In a recent study of Swedish organic herds. and guide the production process. Identifying the main causes for the specific problems as well as the main con‐ straints in farm management practices is essential when striving for improvements in ani‐ mal health. Previous herd health planning has contributed to improving farm management and has pre‐ pared the ground for further advancements [63]. Thus. one must be ca‐ pable to gain an overall picture of the complex interactions within a farming system. However. restrictions in the availability of resources (such as labor time. Thus. and farm level) is the starting point of any initiatives. What prevents organic farmers from improving animal health status? Reasons for the current unsatisfactory situation in organic dairy farming are manifold and differ considerably between farms as do the prevalence rates of multi-factorial production diseases. Differences in management practi‐ ces. cows in organic husbandry live longer [75] whereas results of a study in Sweden showed only marginal differences between organic and conventional farms in the length of productive life [74]. it primarily depends on the management as to whether the poten‐ tials for a high level of animal health are fully realized. and a lack of feedback and control mechanism within the farm system appear to be primary rea‐ sons for the substantial variation.106 Organic Farming and Food Production conventional herds.

This conclusion seems comprehensible as produc‐ tion diseases have a serious impact on the productivity of a dairy farm by reducing the efficiency with which resources (e. from a different perspective. Because time capacities are limited. increased risk of new cases of the same disease or of other diseases [88]. be‐ longs to a severe error in reasoning. our own studies give reason to the conclusion that farmers might react quite reasonably as economic calculations on a high number of dairy farms in Germany showed that a high animal health status in general does not increase farmers’ in‐ come [87]. However. labor efforts. the lower the failure costs and vice versa. Because the production functions as well as the failure costs and preventive costs vary considerably from farm to farm. In contrast. veterinary serv‐ ices.doi. The previous pattern of thought is an example for a restricted perspective. an accusation which would . the optimal level of control is farm specific and cannot be generalized. According to Hogeveen [89]. cost factors for dairy production diseases are restricted to those for cow replacements. at least indirectly. it is often argued that farmers will benefit from a high status of animal health by higher performance and lower veterinary costs and thus should have an inherent incen‐ tive to reduce the occurrence of diseases. In this context. in this case the costs for prevention and control of diseases. discarded milk.“Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows http://dx. feedstuffs) are converted into products [86]. excessive demands in several fields at the same time provoke conflicts. frequently ob‐ served in different stakeholder groups including veterinary and agricultural science. there is an optimal level of control in relation to economic considerations. diagnostics. it is more practical to talk about failure costs and preventive costs instead of talking losses and expenditures. decreased milk quality.5772/53150 107 has been achieved so far by traditional herd health planning and management.on the base on the prevalence rates mentioned above – apply to the majority of dairy farmers. as being stupid. On many farms the bottle neck for any improve‐ ments might be due to limitations in the ability to think through the complexity of the pro‐ duction processes on the different scales.g. It leaves the responsibility by the farmer for not being clever enough to make use of a high level of animal health as a relevant source of a higher income by reducing the production costs. To reduce the prevalence of multi-factorial diseases it is required in the first place to identify and remove the main causes and risk factors of diseases therewith taking into account the whole farm context. This approach declares all farmers facing a high prevalence rate of production diseases. differing widely between farms. Many farmers are trapped in their own perspective and are often left alone when assessing. Because the relation between prevention and failure is not linear. diagnosing and treating farm animals without a val‐ id reference point and without any control by a veterinarian authority or certification bodies whether they are successful or not in their efforts to improve the animal health status. drugs. costs for treatment are often seen as a part of the losses due to the occur‐ rence of disease but not as an additional input to reduce the losses through diseases. The need for additional labor efforts and increasing cost for health improvements often are constraints that prevent farmers from seeking advice and making use of recommended measures. In . decreased performance. this widespread pattern of thought. leading to deficits in one or more of the agricultural fields. fading out rele‐ vant facts. The higher the preventive costs. In dai‐ ly farmers’ lives.

which does not offer any monetary incentives to improve the animal health status on the farms. potentials or constraints along the food chain. .108 Organic Farming and Food Production a Dutch study on 120 conventional dairy farms. cognition science and psychology. Kahneman [92] deserves the particular merit to have brought the issue of perception and decision making within eco‐ nomic affairs into the focus of a broader public. The current market conditions widely ignore the large variability in quality traits and in the impacts on common goods. Correspondingly. As a consequence. costs of prevention in the case of mastitis were made up to more than 75% by costs for labor and were predominantly higher than the total failure costs [90]. contributing to considerably increase their production costs while at the same time providing an essential competitive disadvantage. 9. The cost and labor intensive efforts for preventive measures and the uncertainties with re‐ spect to their effectiveness explain to some degree why farmers are reluctant to increase the efforts for prevention in order to reduce the prevalence rates of diseases and the failure costs deriving therefrom. the latter have to apply additional labor and cost in‐ tensive efforts. Concluding. overlooking some but seldom gain an encompassing overview about the main driving forces. no progress can be expected with regard to animal health if farmers do not gain any benefit and profit from the market to compensate for the additional efforts and resources needed to improve farm management and health status. Without a validation proc‐ ess with respect to the given advice. they can be characterized as being quite complex. profound knowledge alone is not sufficient to change the current unsatisfactory situation. These are continuously trying to drop their milk price to producers. producers are very much at the mercy of retailers and supermarkets in terms of price paid per liter of milk. In the face of the enlightening findings by neurophysiology. Indeed. within different systems and involve different stakeholder groups. cost-benefit calculations of recommended measures are es‐ sential to convince the farmer into action. promoting unfair competition when enabling equal prices for very different performances in relation to product and process qualities. the homo oeconomicus as a basic model of economic science does more look like a legendary creature than a real person in life. Also other disciplines are challenged to rethink the axioms and assumptions of their disciplines. processing and marketing of organic milk occur on different scales. In general. Currently. Animal health as a marketable quality trait The processes of production. Farmers who gain economic benefits by selling organic products to premium prices but only providing a low level of animal health undermine the efforts of other farmers attempting to maintain a high level of animal health [91]. there is a high risk that the advice fails to be effective and efficient. The success of preventive measures is dependent to a high degree on the expertise and the persuasive power of those who give advice. Future research work is needed which focuses on the cost-effectiveness of preventive measures under various farm conditions. However. dairy farmers have been chronically underpaid in recent years and left alone by the market. Each stakeholder group has its own perspec‐ tive on the scenery.

• A high percentage of consumers announces their special interest in the issue of animal health and their willingness to pay premium prices. gives a hint why stake‐ holder groups are striving for coherency in their world view and patterns of thinking within their community and are prone to ignore and fad out all those aspects that might disturb this coherency. Thus. although only a foretelling of what requires a comprehensive reflec‐ tion concerning the impacts on agricultural and veterinary sciences. Unless the message is immediately negated. Contrary to the rules of philosophers of science.“Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows http://dx. but hesitates to do so when corre‐ sponding food is offered and instead prefers purchasing cheaper food. • Many consumers prefer to delegate responsibility for ethical issues when choosing animal products to the retailer or the government and are by their ignorance jointly responsible for the severe deficits in animal health within livestock production. In‐ deed. knowing little makes it easier to fit everything one knows into a coherent pattern. the operations of associative memory contribute to a general confirmation bias. People can maintain an unshakable faith in any position. Jumping to conclusions on the bases of limited evidence is a main process of intuitive thinking. who advise testing hy‐ potheses by trying to refute them. • Retailers want to increase the turnover by offering organic food with comparable low pri‐ ces and at the expense of the possibilities of the farmer to investigate substantial improve‐ ments of animal health. • Producers who strive for a high status of animal health by using appropriate manage‐ ment concepts and encountering higher production costs are confronted with unfair com‐ petition when competing with their products on the same markets as those who produce on a low cost and low quality base. people (and scientists. Some of the various discrepancies between claim and reality with respect to the handling of the animal health issue in organic and conventional livestock production and some of the conflicting areas provoked therewith are described below [21]: • Retailers and/or producers claim to offer products that derive from healthy animals. being radically insensitive to both the quality and the quantity of information that gives rise to impressions and intuitions. the associations that it evokes will spread as if the message were true. believers in a coherent world. there is need to focus especially on the incon‐ sistencies in statements and conclusions within and between the stakeholder groups in‐ volved. in which regularities appear not by accident but as a result of mechanical causality or of someone’s intention.doi. not its completeness. The previous excursion. From a scientific point of view.5772/53150 109 According to Kahneman [92]. with‐ out providing transparency and evidence of animal health status of farm animals. . quite often) seek data that are like‐ ly to be compatible with the beliefs they currently when they are sustained by a community of likeminded believers. however absurd. It is the consistency of the information that matters for a good story. The associative machinery suppresses ambiguity and spontaneously constructs stories that are as coherent as possible. humans are in the first place pattern seekers.

110 Organic Farming and Food Production Possible expectations of consumers that specific food might improve their own health status can be seen as part of a general oversimplification. In contrast. Health is the emergent outcome of the processes within a farm system. e.g. Consequently foods bearing claims that could mislead consumers will be elimi‐ nated from the market. including risks due to residues and the development of antibacterial resistance. The farm specific animal health status is the result of the steering process and as such the emergent property of the farm system. such an advertising message should also be based on evidence. The farm system is the functional unit and system of the production process. therewith indicating the need to provide orientation and define a threshold that should not be exceeded. As described above in relation to animal health. The appropriate reference point for the output orientation within a systemic approach is the animal health status of the individu‐ al farm. Thus. but have to focus on the outcome of process. mini‐ mum standards. For example.03 to 1. those farms which take part in a label program of top quality milk should provide milk with less than 150. Within a label program such as organic. and hence do not require additional efforts for their assessment. Data of both BTSCC and ICM are resp. In Europe. the available resources and the conflicting areas provoked by limita‐ tions. quality assur‐ ance and control programs for products labeled as deriving from healthy herds and animals can rely on fixed levels concerning the acceptable prevalence rate of diseases. the issue of health is very complex and the aspect of nutrient intake is only one of many risk factors. Thresholds which define an acceptable status of udder health have been described by several authors [93]. In a study on 120 conventional dairy farms. Consequently. accurate and based on evidence accepted by the whole scientific community. evidence cannot refer to some input variables. Current data evaluations show that for instance approximately 11% of the Bavarian dairy cows exceed the threshold value of over 400. and the incidence of clinical mastitis (ICM) should not exceed the rate of 0. It is characterized by boundaries and steered by the farm manager who is challenged to balance the potentials and limitations of the production conditions. It foresees implementing measures to ensure that any claim made on foods' labeling. Due to the complexity of the interactions of various factors on different scales. the Regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods (EC No 1924/2006) was adopted by the Council and Parliament to prevent misuse.000 SCC/ml in the bulk tank milk [87]. the incidence of clinical mastitis showed a huge variation between 0.000 somatic cell counts in the bulk tank (BTSCC). presentation or marketing in the European Union is clear. the recommended thresholds are suited to mark a dis‐ tinction between different levels of both product and process quality. extensive data material is available which can be used for farm internal feedback analysis and improvements and simultaneously as a diagnostic tool with respect to the udder health of the dairy cows in the herd. As the somatic cell count (SCC) from lactating cows are quantified monthly as a routine on nearly all farms. Due to the various im‐ pacts of udder diseases on relevant traits of milk quality. These counts mark the top of a distinct ‚cell mountain‘. it is very difficult to provide evidence for a direct impact of specific food on human health.33 (cases per average cow in the farm per year). should be available on organic dairy farms. However. it is possible to promote products deriving from healthy animals. the possible oc‐ .21 [90].

These are urgently needed to cover the higher production costs in organic farming and thus ensure a viable organic dairy production. it appears to have been a congenital failure of organic agriculture to have neglected the definition of minimum standards with respect to the qualitative outcome of the production process. In view of the large heterogeneity be‐ tween organic farms in relation to both living conditions of the farm animals and the status of animal especially the status of animal health.doi.5772/53150 111 currence of enormous additional bureaucratic expenditures cited as possible counter-argu‐ mentation can be rejected. they are very limited in their options of decision-making as they. the separated obtaining and processing of milk from farms with a high animal health status will definitely increase costs. Without evidence based progress. Improvements are crucial to support and strengthen consumers’ confidence and their will‐ ingness to pay premium prices. in general. however. Nevertheless. Thus. assessments of the quality of organic milk provides in‐ consistent results and often falls short of expectations as it is often similar or even lower than the quality of conventionally produced milk. possess little financial flexibility that can be used for improvements. the current payment and marketing systems counteract all efforts to follow consumer demands and fail to com‐ municate adequately differentiated milk quality. 10. The main question is what it worth is to produce and consume milk from healthy dairy cows. While there might have been time periods when the majority of farmers and also farm animals have . there is need for an evidence based system of financial penalties and bonus payments to promote top quality milk. However. does not in all respects meet consumers’ expectations. Despite the fact that many consumers express their wish for high quality products. In the past. While farmers as owners are initially responsible for the well-being of their farm animals. organic livestock production faces the risk to lose the confidence of the consumers while being trapped between own demands. consumer expectations and limited resources [94]. a clear increase in the productivity of milk production has led to a remarkable decrease of milk prices in relation to the general income from which the consumers have benefited in the first place.“Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows http://dx. The trade value of milk is determined primarily by quantity of milk and milk content while qualitative traits are currently of no relevance and an outstanding quality is not rewarded by higher prices. Conclusion is that only a direct assessment of animal health and a payment system that honors quality grades beyond average can con‐ tribute to improve the currently unsatisfying situation. and the im‐ plementation of a systematic approach for an effective and efficient balancing of the multi‐ ple variables and complex interactions within each farming system. requires a shift in the paradigm from a guideline and input oriented to an output oriented approach. This. Conclusions Organic farming has committed itself to outperforming conventional farming in a number of areas including animal health. organic standards based on minimum require‐ ments do not automatically lead to a high status of animal health that exceeds the level in conventional production and thus. According to previous knowledge.

It is generally accepted in the market economy that the stake‐ holders being part of the food chain are striving for their own benefit in the first place. including health and welfare problems of the farm animals. the consumers are not appropriately informed about the current level of product and process quality and are misguided by sales promotion. the phase-out of the Milk Quota Regulation in 2015 will fuel the competition even more. Dairy cows pay the continuous increase in productivity and milk yield with an increase in the preva‐ lence rates of production diseases and with a decrease in longevity [52]. often blaming the consum‐ ers for not being prepared to pay adequate premium prices. Large variations in features that are relevant for those who buy organic products meet with large variations in the factual results of quality traits. the players generally pose in active as well as in passive roles. consumers in general can afford more expensive food products if their priorities are inclined in this fashion. national governments fail to prevent unfair competition on the market. So far estimations of consumers with respect to traits of food and process quality are primarily based on associations and on expectations deriving therefrom. however. e. On the other hand. Farmers are facing a high volatility of milk prices. In general. However. fails to provide incentives for any quality improvements. They are definitely not evidence based. retailers and supermarkets are in a strong position to beat down the price in order to in‐ crease the turnover rates and their profit. they are not forced by the majority of voters to initiate and chair changes in the predominating structures of the market.g. The market. The predominant competition is based on the reduction of prices while widely ignoring the internal and external costs that emerge from these processes. In the com‐ plex interactions between stakeholders groups. In face of the shortfall to be financed. From the farmers’ perspective. these times have definitely gone. the complexity of process‐ es within the food production chain is reduced primarily to the quantifiable size of the price stakeholders receive or have to pay for the intermediate or the final product. consumers have become used to very low food prices while imagining they are on the safe side concerning the quality issue. While the market fails to provide different levels of product and process quality. there is reason to assume that the situation in the future will become even worse. they can only act in such a way because consumer groups are dominated by bargain hunters.112 Organic Farming and Food Production gained advantage from technical innovations. the worse ani‐ . On the other hand. While farm animals and farmers are in a very weak posi‐ tion. Consumers are able to make a choice between large ranges of products without being able to as‐ sess their quality. to honor a higher health status by premium prices. they have gone through a long phase of milk prices which did not cover the total production costs. Hence. Currently. and are both victims and offenders. the increase in herd size and the decrease in available resources (labor time and investments). In Europe. the number of dairy farmers who had to quit has increased dramatically. Nevertheless. and those who are largely ignoring the problems of the other stakeholders. Expenditures for food in relation to the total budget of a household have dra‐ matically decreased during the last few decades. and to reduce unfair competition are of great importance to improve the unsatisfying situation. In recent years. prices for intermediate or final dairy products are unreal for their part as they do not represent and in‐ clude the entity of the internal and external costs of the production process. the strength of one actor is based on the weakness of the other stakeholders. However. Correspondingly.

Germany . and the non-covering of the productions costs. Currently. Author details Albert Sundrum* Address all correspondence to: sundrum@uni-kassel. the slogan “healthy food from healthy animals” represents an abbreviated mental association. food does not exert a direct influence on human health but is well known for provid‐ ing both positive and/or negative impacts on the capability of the organism to cope with the var‐ ious and specific demands. If con‐ sumers really want food from healthy cows they have to establish a corresponding demand and have to reject those products that do not fulfill this demand. does not provoke an easy and obvious answer as all human stakeholders are part of a production system that is based on exploitation of land area. only few and not enough are willing to face the problems.doi. either in conventional or in organic dairy production. One of the most frequently asked questions in western society: who is to blame for malfunc‐ tion.5772/53150 113 mal health situation for dairy cows. some to a higher and some to a lesser degree. As long as not enough producers are willing to enlighten the consumers about the real production conditions and as long as not enough consumers are not really interested to get an inside view into the production processes. stakeholder groups involved are not pre‐ pared to rethink their dominating pattern of thoughts and are not willing to risk the possible need for changes when having a closer look at the living conditions of farm animals and the impacts on product and process quality. should be rejected.“Healthy Food” from Healthy Cows http://dx. let alone the environmental impacts due to the high amounts of nutrient losses and emissions of greenhouse gas caused by the processes of production and processing. milk and milk products which de‐ rive exclusively and evidence based from healthy cows are not available on the market. they could be blamed in the first place for their ignorance towards the im‐ pacts of their buying behavior on the production process and on animal health and welfare. While some stakeholders are trapped in inherent necessities with very small degrees of freedom in decision making. In general. Currently. Witzenhausen. consumers are free to decide on what they spend their money and are benefitting simultaneously from very low food prices. and farm animals. University of Kassel. Any complaints by consumers with respect to the low level of product and process quality. The persisting power is still too high to provide a chance for real While consumers could afford high‐ er milk prices. caused by the impacts of their buying behavior and by the unfair competition within the market. Department of Animal Nutrition and Animal Health. not being scientifically sound. Correspondingly. the slogan is applica‐ ble and valid in the way that only milk from healthy cows with healthy udders is delivering the starting product for milk products of top quality. Thus. the discrepancies between demands and reality of organic and conventional dairy production is expected to continue.

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2012). However. Such a change in emphasis reflects increasing concerns over food security. 2007). The focus in this chapter is specifically on the environmental di‐ mensions of agricultural sustainability in the social and ethical considera‐ tions (Farshad & Zinck. Defined in the Brundtland Report as: ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (World Commission on Environment and Development. 1981. recent researchers have done little to engage critically with the concept of environmental sustainability.. 2000. Shoard. licensee InTech.5772/53072 1. 1967. when it warned Gordon Brown not to rush headlong into GM crops (Gray. which attempts to increase food production from the same area but without damaging the environment (Godfray et al. Burn. Supporters © 2012 Kings and Ilbery. said: ‘I think we should embrace science [GM technology] that has increased [food] production’. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons. Somewhat surprisingly. It is now generally accepted that conventional farming systems have become environmentally unsustainable (Moore. Ratcliffe. chairman of the public body Natural England. 2003). 2011). It means different things to different people (Redclift. 1970. 1970.. 1997).doi. according to Ilbery & Maye (2005).Chapter 6 Organic and Conventional Farmers' Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability David Kings and Brian Ilbery Additional information is available at the end of the chapter http://dx. con‐ structed nature to be used more broadly and creatively (Maxey. ecological. 2012). 1966. economic. which permits unrestricted use. and reproduction in any medium. Storkey et al. sustainability is a mul‐ ti-faceted concept involving agronomic. . 1992 and O’Riordan. Nevertheless. Introduction This chapter examines organic and conventional farmers’ understandings of agricultural sustainability. Aware of this dilemma. this allows sustainability’s fluid. distribution.0). Paul Christensen. Lang & Barling. Pugliese. government policy in the UK now advocates the concept of sustain‐ able intensification. 1962. 1962. 43). in late May 2012. Mellanby. but it does raise issues over developing an agricultural system that is truly sustainable. slippery and broad-ranging. 2001. 1987. p. 1980. This is in strict contrast to what the same body said in 2008. 2010. provided the original work is properly cited. This may be because the socially and politically constructed concept is.

1998 and Guthman. 2011). In March 2008. 2004). There are many different organic farming practices. Provision of adequate water supplies is a key requirement for the sustainability of organic and conventional farming. in preference to the use of offfarm inputs. Lockie & Halpin. innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and good quality of life for all involved’. April was the wettest month on record (Hall. It also emphasises the use of management practices. Examples include crop improvement. 2001. rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. it is debatable whether sustainable intensification can be achieved without significant increas‐ es in the use of chemical inputs. has the potential to adversely affect agricultural sustainability through increases in global tem‐ peratures. not dominating. marketing and distribution methods (Buck et al. they retain a fundamental philosophical perspective of working with. They involve a variety of alternative methods of agricultural pro‐ duction which evolve as new scientific research becomes available. the reduc‐ tion of post-harvest losses and more sustainable livestock (Maye & Ilbery. 1997. However. While the most se‐ vere water shortage since 1976 was reported in March 2012. including biodiversity. 2012a and b). the introduction of new non-chemical approaches to crop protection. others feel that they have the potential to ‘develop in distinct ways in different national contexts’ (Hall & Mogyorody. and recognises that regional conditions require locally-adapted systems (Codex Alimentarius Commission. p. 2009). there is no absolute and available measure of sustainabili‐ ty. 2011). al‐ though organic farming is more so in a bio-physical sense (Edward-Jones & Howells. While some writers are concerned that organic farming systems are becoming ‘con‐ ventionalised’ in their production. biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions. (1997. as demonstrated in the early months of 2012 in the UK. natural systems and having respect for the natural environment (Lampkin. organic farming is a holistic production management system that promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health. Climate change also poses the single greatest long-term threat to birds (RSPB. according to Edward-Jones & Howells (2001). see also Coombes & Campbell. Organic agriculture combines tradition. However. 2005. more efficient use of water and fertilizers. 2001). the World Board of the International Fed‐ eration of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) approved the following definition: ‘Or‐ ganic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils. biological cycles and soil biological activity. It relies on ecological processes. Of course. 1990. ecosystems and people. leading Lang & Barling (2012) to describe the concept as an oxymoron. the UK’s two dominant agricultural systems. extreme climatic events can have potentially serious consequences for agricultur‐ al sustainability. Fuller. Guthman. 401.. fuel and methane produced by livestock. 2004). each with its diverse views of nature and value assumptions. Thus it is debatable which of these two farming systems is the more sustainable. Farming itself. which have been used as significant indicator species of the environmental health and . 1999). through the use of fertilisers. But. Rosin & Campbell.122 Organic Farming and Food Production of this approach claim that substantial increases in crop yield can be provided through sci‐ ence and technology. In contrast.

attitudes and behaviour towards organic farming and the development of more environmentally sustainable farming practices. towards selected themes relating to environmental dimensions of agricultural sustainability. The chapter has the following two interrelated objectives: • To evaluate farmers’ environmental perceptions. Rat‐ cliffe. 1997). Burton (2004) suggested combining quantitative and qualita‐ tive work in behavioural research.5772/53072 123 sustainability of agriculture since the early-1960s (Moore. Ac‐ cording to Wood (2000). Moore & Walker. More specifically. These requirements have contributed to a recent increase in the application of ‘behavioural approaches’ to investigate issues such as food security and agricultural sustainability. thereby making them useful in monitoring change over time for EU policy-makers. Behavioural approaches allow for the recognition of farmers as independent environ‐ mental managers who often make decisions about the management of resources on their farms independent from the state or other ‘official’ environmental managers.Organic and Conventional Farmers’ Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability http://dx. • To assess different environmental understandings of organic and conventional farmers. . Nev‐ ertheless. it uses an essentially be‐ havioural approach to compare the perceptions and attitudes of those farmers loosely labelled ‘organic’ and ‘conventional’ towards environmental aspects of agricultural sustain‐ ability. are key reasons why behavioural approaches have been adopted by researchers endeavouring to ‘understand’ the decision making of farmers (Wilson. behavioural approaches which use inflexible structured questionnaire methodolo‐ gies and focus on individual decision makers out of their social or familial milieus may appear elementary in attempting to understanding human behaviour (Burton. Section four provides insights into some farm and farmer characteristics. This is followed by a description of the ‘extensive’ and ‘intensive’ research methodologies adopted in the investigation. and examines farmers’ contextual life histories and work routines. The focus on individual decision makers. 1964). 1962. Behavioural approaches Morris & Potter (1995) defined behavioural studies as: ‘… one which focuses on the motives. 2004). Moore & Ratcliffe.doi. such methodologies can be standardised and repeat‐ able. investigates farmers’ per‐ ceptions and attitudes towards some key issues relating to agricultural sustainability. values and attitudes that determine the decision-making process of individual farmers’. According to Beedell & Rehman (1999). although attitudes may remain constant over time and context. they do not directly explain behaviour because attitudes can be arrived at from different experi‐ ences. 1963. The rest of the chapter is divided into four sections. This chapter explores in further detail some of the key issues affecting the environmental di‐ mensions of agricultural sustainability in the UK. together with the possibility of formulating interview-based re‐ search methodologies. The next section reviews some impor‐ tant dimensions of behavioural approaches to research. In or‐ der to alleviate such problems. located in central-southern England. 1962. A final section provides a conclusion to the chapter.

uptake of environ‐ mental schemes. 1995. selected from the official regional Soil Associ‐ . Beedell & Rehman. 1973. values and behaviours toward environmental components of agricultural sustainability. 1978. 2000. fertile condition for growing crops and raising livestock. concerns. Likewise. This chapter adopts ‘extensive’ and ‘intensive’ approaches to the examination of organic and conventional farmers’ attitudes. Ilbery. as well as different attitudes towards conservation work. one might ex‐ pect organic farmers to be more interested in joining environmental schemes such as Coun‐ tryside Stewardship and LEAF. Behavioural approaches are appropriate for examining the perception/cognition. 1999. 1999). organic farmers may espouse concerns for protecting the land from environmental degradation. 1996. although they may not be listed in business or pri‐ vate telephone directories. 1974. 1990. behavioural perspectives have been used widely in agricultural research (Wolpert. An important reason for using farmland avifauna in this way relates to the Department for Environment. One may expect differences in each of these between organic and conventional farmers. 2011) and successfully applied to the examination and understandings of farmers’ environmental behaviours. Brotherton. while conventional farmers may perceive responsible behaviour as keeping the land in a good. Most farmers can be contacted by telephone. attitudes and behaviours. Al‐ though criticised for their relative neglect of ‘spatial science’ and ‘partial’ treatment of people (Cloke et al. For example. This.. Four key and linked areas of farmers’ understandings of environmental aspects of agricul‐ tural sustainability are advocated in this study: ‘responsible’ behaviour. Gasson. Farmers make their environmental decisions as they perceive it. 3. Organic farmers. Lowland farmland bird populations are used as a key indica‐ tor of farmers’ environmental awareness. 2004). readership of agricultural publications and conservation work. in turn. 1969). 1997. Stage one consisted of hour-long telephone interviews with twenty-five organic farmers and twenty-five conventional farmers – located in central-southern England. 1991). 2004. but the action resulting from their decision is played out in a real environment (Brookfield. 2010. hedge and woodland creation and conventional farmers in creating pheasant cover. values. might reflect the reading of different agricultural journals and magazines. 1964. with perhaps organic farmers engaging more in pond. Burton. Wilson. 1985. attitudes and opinions of farmers and how they relate to envi‐ ronmental dimensions of agricultural sustainability (see Kings & Ilbery (2011) for details of how perception/cognition relate to farmers’ attitudes and behaviours).124 Organic Farming and Food Production The classic behavioural approach refers to a broad range of studies that employ actor-orient‐ ed quantitative methodologies in the investigation of decision-making (Burton. A methodological framework The methodology used for examining farmers’ characteristics and attitudes towards the four environmental components of agricultural sustainability themes was in two distinct stages. Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) use of wild bird population trends as a ‘headline indicator’ of the ‘sustainability’ of its policies and ‘quality of life’ in the UK (Anon. Morris & Potter. 1986. Gillmor. not as it is. Kings & Ilbery.

The organic farmers were coded OF1 to OF5 and the conventional respondents CF1 to CF5 to facilitate data analy‐ sis. second. 4. This method provided dependable geographically linked pairs of farmers during the in the form of farmers’ quotations and illustrative farm cameos to emphasise the arguments being developed about environ‐ mental dimensions of agricultural sustainability.2. the adopted ‘extensive’ and ‘intensive’ research methodology will be used primarily to examine and gain insights into the perceptions. Examining farmers’ attitudes and behaviours The behavioural approach is used first.1 and 4. and qualitatively. Any interesting or unusual quotations and para‐ phrases made by respondents were analysed in order to demonstrate attitudinal similari‐ ties and differences. earlier in the investigation. values. farm holdings of different sizes and systems was selected in preference to a representative sample. The interviews were recorded using a Digital Audio MiniDisc-recorder with stereo micro‐ phone and transcribed soon after for analysis. with five geographically linked pairs of organic and conventional farmers who. illus‐ trate and broaden the statistical data related to farm/farmer characteristics. In the next section. The interviews produced contextual findings relating to the respondents’ environmental understandings and behaviours towards agricultural sustaina‐ bility which provided a broad picture of environmental dimensions of agricultural sus‐ tainability in central-southern England. Stage two of the methodology consisted of 3 hour on-farm intensive qualitative/ interpre‐ tive interviews. This analysis was used to support.doi. Each respondent was asked to provide details of a local conventional farmer who they thought was appropriate for interview. to examine farm and farmer characteristics.Organic and Conventional Farmers’ Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability http://dx. using summarising statistics. the data generated from stage two of the methodology were analysed using a textual approach using words and meanings. An illustrative sample of different ages. An interview guide was designed which also prompted respondents to talk about their life histories and work routines. These data were analysed both quantita‐ tively. In contrast to the extensive telephone sur‐ vey.5772/53072 125 ation and Organic Farmers and Growers membership lists. It is important to note that the reference codes assigned to the ten respondents in section 4. The resulting similarities and differences between the two study groups provided environmental in‐ sights into their behaviour in relation to agricultural sustainability. Any concerns about providing a reliable national representative sample were unwarranted as it was anticipated that the sample may or may not be repre‐ sentative of farms and farmers in the UK as a whole. A questionnaire was designed for use in the ‘extensive’ data gathering approach. opinions and be‐ haviours of organic and conventional farmers in relation to their awareness and understand‐ ings of environmental dimensions of agricultural sustainability. to examine the attitudes. had been involved in the extensive telephone survey. The study was limited to farms/farmers in cen‐ tral-southern England. were interviewed first.3 are not always the same as those used in sections 4. understandings and behaviours of organic and conventional farm‐ .

Grass and fodder enterprises associated with organic livestock were the most common organic types found on the surveyed organic farms. (1999) findings that in na‐ tional terms central-southern England is a marginal cereal production area. Distribution of sampled organic and conventional farms Secondly.5 107.44 364 730 0 Frequency 2 17 3 2 1 25 Conventional farmers % 8 68 12 8 4 100 Mean ha 36. as it is commonly referred to. is defined as the variation of plant and animal life at a respondent’s farm. This study was in accord with Ilbery et al’s.57 91. goats and deer. Organic farmers Hectares 0-40 42-202 203-405 406-810 "/>810 Total Acres 0-100 101-500 501-1000 1001-2000 "/>2000 Frequency 14 9 1 1 0 25 % 56 36 4 4 0 100 Mean ha 15.4ha). Lampkin (1990) notes that grassland is often the most trouble-free and least expensive land to convert to organic production. cattle (beef and dairy cows). although the size of both farm types was extremely variable (see Table 1). sheep. This contrasted with more arable crops being grown on conventional farms.1. biodiversity. pigs. A key priority facing agricultural sustainability is the protection of the environment and natural resources such as water. to ascertain if farmers’ attitudes and behaviours support those expressed earlier in the analysis. conventional farms (average size 202. Biodiversity is therefore essential for maintaining agricultural sustainability. with some .126 Organic Farming and Food Production ers (located in central-southern England) in relation to environmental dimensions of agricul‐ tural sustainability. First. they were usually used as live‐ stock fodder or seed. Within the context of this chapter. many farmers experiment with organic grassland production before deciding to con‐ vert their whole farm to organic production. A number of significant simi‐ larities and differences were found in terms of farm/farmer characteristics during the exten‐ sive organic and conventional farmer telephone survey. and third. 2000). Contrasting organic and conventional farms and farmers The analysis began with an examination of farm/farmer characteristics of the 50 telephone interviewees as they are likely to influence farmers’ relationship with the four core themes related to environmental aspects of agricultural sustainability. soil and biodiversity (Defra.33 526 1133 Table 1. a wide range of livestock was found on the organic farms such as chickens. 4. 2006).53 296. According to Willer & Gillmor (1992). Inorganic fertiliser applications to conventional grassland is incompatible with the maintenance of biological diversity (Sotherton & Self.3ha) were larger than organic farms (average size 85. if cereals were grown on any of the organic farms. Thirdly.

the two survey groups had similar numbers of vocational qualifications. keepers. more than three times as many conventional as organic farmers were of mixed tenure.5772/53072 127 organic farmers having up to four different animal species. In contrast. contrasting with conventional farmers who prefer‐ . Qualifications obtained by farmers To gain insights into farmers’ attitudes towards environmental dimensions of the core agri‐ cultural sustainability theme. ‘responsible countryside behaviour’. subject to other influencing factors such as land quality and location. Table 2.Organic and Conventional Farmers’ Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability http://dx. Organic Frequency Certificate National Cert in Agriculture Ordinary Diploma Higher Diploma Degree Higher Degree Doctorate None Total 1 1 3 0 6 2 1 11 25 Percentage 4 4 12 0 24 8 4 44 100 Frequency 0 5 2 2 1 0 0 15 25 Conventional Percentage 0 20 8 8 4 0 0 60 100 It should be noted that only the highest qualification awarded to each farmer has been used in this table. may therefore be less expensive. although organic farmers had the highest number of qualifications towards the upper end of the edu‐ cation spectrum (Table 2). in contrast to the greater size dictated by spe‐ cialisation. custodians or protectors’. beef cat‐ tle or sheep were usually the norm on the conventional farms. Finally. more organic than conventional farms were owner-occupied. Fifthly. The term ‘behave responsibly’ was used more by organic than conventional farmers.doi. Organic farmers also used words such as ‘stew‐ ards. only the organic farmers have a higher degree or Organic farms are also more diverse in their enterprises thereby providing greater levels of biodiversity and agricultural sustainability. as required by monocultures in the cultivation of GM crops which are considered by many researchers to be unsustainable. for example. This is linked to the first key point that organic farms tend to be smaller than conventional farms and. dairy cattle. Examining qualifications relating specifically to agriculture shows that more conventional than organic farmers have a national certificate in agriculture. respondents were asked how farmers should ‘behave’ in the countryside. Fourthly. In contrast. This may be partially explained by these conventional farmers renting addi‐ tional land with a view to obtaining significant economies of scale.

The Countryside Stewardship was the government’s main scheme for country‐ side until the introduction of Environmental Stewardship. Figure 1. Many more organic than conventional farmers belong to more than one scheme. This highlights an important difference between the two survey groups. membership of agri-environmental schemes. third. 1 = Countryside Stewardship Scheme. Farmers’ uptake of agri-environmental schemes. ‘readership’ of agrienvironmental journals and magazines. than on the conventional farms. . While conventional farmers understand respon‐ sible countryside behaviour as having tidy farms with neatly trimmed hedges and weedfree fields through herbicide usage. In excess of half of the organic farmers were in the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. care and good condition’. essential for agricultural sustainability. and fourth. 5 = None The data in Figure 1 suggest that organic farmers are more interested in joining agri-envi‐ ronmental schemes than conventional farmers. 4 = Linking Environment and Farming. membership of environmental organisations. There were equal numbers of both types of farmer involved with the set-aside scheme which has played an important role in biodiversity and agricultural sustainability. organic respondents’ understanding and implementation of the term is untidy farms with ‘over grown’ hedges and less attention paid to removing weeds. The actual countryside behaviour of respondents was examined by asking four related ques‐ tions directly linked to four specific environmental dimensions of agricultural sustainability: first. second. 2 = Set-aside Scheme. 3 = Environmentally Sensitive Areas. The latter farming practices result in greater levels of biodiversity.128 Organic Farming and Food Production red to use the words ‘looking after. Farmers entered 10-year agree‐ ments to manage land in an environmentally sustainable way in return for annual payments (Defra. contrasting with just over one tenth of conventional farmers. participation in conservation work. 2002).

the Living Earth and Organic Farming were read most widely among organic farmers. The pe‐ riodicals preferred by the organic respondents were primarily concerned with environmen‐ tal and sustainability issues other than agriculture.voluntary/ Contract 1 24 3 19 15 6 5 0 24 % 4 96 12 76 60 24 20 0 96 Conventional farmers Frequency 6 19 0 4 4 3 4 4 19 % 24 76 0 16 16 12 16 16 76 Hedges: planting.5772/53072 129 Some interesting differences emerged between the two survey groups concerning the type of conservation work carried out by farmers (see Table 3). plays a vital role in helping to restore agricultural sustainability to pre intensification levels. Organic farmers Frequency Don’t do conservation work On-farm conservation Off-farm conservation . Thus. more organic than conven‐ tional farmers undertake conservation work. Further significant differences between organic and conventional farmers were found in re‐ lation to the readership of magazines and journals. while organic farmers preferred the Wildlife Trust.doi. to a much less extent. Farmers Guardian were the most popular conventional farmers’ reading. Secondly. particularly the recrea‐ tion of ponds. conven‐ tional farmers see the creation of pheasant cover as conservation works and nearly 1 in 4 do not undertake any kind of conservation work. This raises the important question about how ‘green’ such environmental agencies actually are. with a much higher proportion involved in hedge laying and wood planting demonstrating their ecocentic attitudes. differences did emerge which reflected attitudes towards conservation work and envi‐ ronmental components of agricultural sustainability. laying and restoration Woodland: plant. Woodland Trust and Friends of the Earth. The most frequently mentioned agency was the Game Conservancy Trust. conventional farmers usually preferred the Game Conservancy Trust. First. Thus. The most popular magazine overall by far was the Farmers Weekly. These findings reflected the earlier differences be‐ .org/10. organic farmers seemed more critical in their reading habits than conventional respondents. Conservation work. Generally. Frequency of farmers carrying out conservation work Membership of environmental institutions was quite low among both groups of farmers.Organic and Conventional Farmers’ Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability http://dx. while Farmers Weekly and. woods and hedges by some organic farmers. which was dominated by conventional farmers whose main countryside leisure pursuit is shooting. coppice and pollard Ponds: create and maintain Meadows: plant and maintain Pheasant cover Totals Table 3. But.

4. These. or at normal levels for the time of the year (Alleyne. attitudes and understandings emerged in relation to the closely linked envi‐ ronmental dimensions of agricultural sustainability concepts. At the time of writing (30th June 2012). as discussed earlier. Global climate change is a particularly important issue because it has the potential to reduce provision of water supplies. it was announced by the Environment Agency that there had been more rainfall for late spring and early summer than at any time since 1910. In contrast. 2009). not all extreme weather events have such potentially negative effects on agricultural sustainability. so essential for the sustainability of organic and conventional agriculture. Both types of ‘extreme’ weather event have proved to be detrimental for environmental components of agricultural sustainability. Nearly half of the rivers the Environment Agency monitors are at exceptionally high levels. suggest that fear of global warming derives from politics and dogma rather than scientific proof (Plimer. that considerable differences in perceptions.130 Organic Farming and Food Production tween the two groups of farmers in terms of membership of environmental organisations and agri-environmental schemes. crop failure was occurring widely due to extreme drought conditions. . several conventional farmers thought that changes in weather patterns are part of the normal course of events. similar to conventional farmers. earlier this year. are: • Global climate change and extreme weather events • Genetically Modified crops • United Kingdom and European Union agricultural policy • Conventional agriculture • Organic farming systems • Lowland farmland avifauna A number of wide ranging differences of opinion were found between many of the inter‐ viewees towards the related environmental dimensions of agricultural sustainability con‐ cepts during the following farmer discussions which may shape their attitudes towards agricultural sustainability. in order of least environmentally acceptable to most acceptable. when the first readings were made. ‘excessive’ widespread flooding has also resulted in large-scale crop failure. therefore. a number of organic farmers believed that global climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels and they suggested some resulting agricul‐ tural changes such as growing new varieties of crops: ‘Well global climate change is going to have a profound effect on agriculture. Exploring environmental dimensions of agricultural sustainability Section one introduced six environmental concepts related to the core theme of agricultural sustainability. But. The worst pre‐ dictions suggest that all countries will have to grow different crops’ (OF1). Historically. with all rivers higher than. Some researchers. More recently. It is not surprising. However. climate has always changed and is therefore likely to do so in the future.2. 2012). For example.

Many more conventional than organic farmers (16-2) claimed that there is an important relationship between government and environmental is‐ sues. In contrast. The attitudes revealed by the above comments indicate that most organic respondents have greater levels of environmen‐ tal concern for their farms than many of the conventional farmers. This contrasted with most conventional farmers who seemed a little more accepting of GM tech‐ nology than the organic respondents. Almost all organic farmers were critical of conventional respondents in the way in which conventional agriculture damages water quality through pesticides usage. particularly during adverse weather conditions. they [the government] are under pressure by the public to do so’ (CF25). Conventional farmers seemed to have more faith than organic farmers in the government’s willingness to rectify such past environmental damage to the countryside. Many organic farmers were equally concerned about the environmental sustainability of conventional farming. Conventional farmers were generally less critical of GM crops than the organic respondents. and seem to place their main emphasis on the po‐ tential environmental benefits to be gained from reductions in pesticide use. In contrast. most conventional farmers said that the damage to the countryside was minimal. only 40 .Organic and Conventional Farmers’ Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability In contrast. A conse‐ quence of such intensive farming methods is the loss of the incidental habitats. on most arable organic farms birds are able to move to alternative food-bearing habitats. often associ‐ ated with organic farming. For example. In contrast. Such practices are likely to have a detrimental effect on future agricultural sustainability. where it would give environmental benefits – you are asking for trouble – I can’t see any sensible person agreeing with it being a good thing’ (OF20). However. one organic respondent raised the issue that GM crops are associated with monocultures. with our present knowledge of GM. This contrasted with many conventional farmers who were less likely to believe that conventional agriculture is having negative environmen‐ tal impacts. typically commenting: ‘Yes. typically stating: ‘… grubbing out hedges was a mistake’ (OF11). Another important concern of many organic farmers is the perceived environmental prob‐ lems associated with GM technology.5772/53072 131 Equally harmful. most organic farmers in the survey believed that government policy had caused a lot of damage to the countryside thereby reducing biodiversity and agricultural sustainability. typically commenting: ‘I suppose some places where the water comes from you have to be a bit care‐ ful with nitrates and things …’ (CF10). Organic respondents' attitudes towards this issue were epitomised by comments such as: ‘I definitely think it [conventional agriculture] has a negative effect on water quality’. which reduces biodiversity and thus agricultural sustainability. Several gave specific reasons for their environmental concern such as conventional farmers using high levels of nitrate and pesticides on crops. twice as many organic as conventional farmers thought that: ‘This present gov‐ ernment is not getting more environmentally friendly’ (OF18). typically commenting: ‘I see no situation. characterised by comments such as: ‘I think the government has become anti-farming – they are doing more and more for the environment and cutting back on agriculture’ (CF4). typically saying: ‘I haven’t a huge fear of them as long as we observe the science …’ (CF24).doi. Mono‐ cultures are generally unsuitable for many lowland farmland birds as they may have to rely on fewer prey species. more than 50 per cent organic farmers said that conven‐ tional agriculture is harmful to the environment and therefore unsustainable.

the surveyed organic farmers were very critical of pesti‐ cide use which can reduce biodiversity and thus agricultural sustainability. almost three quarters of organic respondents thought that organic agriculture is environmentally sustain‐ able. however. nevertheless.132 Organic Farming and Food Production per cent of conventional farmers said that conventional agriculture is harmful to water qual‐ ity and a further twenty per cent said that conventional agriculture didn’t affect water quali‐ ty. This is the way [conventional] farmers are being educat‐ ed’ (OF5). Hansen et al. Darnhofer. as typified by this comment: ‘The burners they use I would think they use a colossal amount of fuel’ (OF2). possibly because they were aware that more fossil fuels are used in mechanical weeding processes than chemical methods of weeding. It emerged that most of the organic respondents believed that organic arable farmers use a lot of fossil fuels in their mechanical weeding processes. 2000. whereas with organic farming. Kings & Ilbery.. one in two organic re‐ spondents claimed environmental concerns to be their main reason for adoption of organic methods and a further twenty per cent thought they had always farmed organically. Some conventional farmers agreed with organic farmers that conventionally produced crops sometimes use high levels of pesticides. This contrast‐ ed with the conventional farmers who were generally not in support of those views. 2010. the Farmers Weekly. Interestingly. The biggest adverts saying this is the time to spray with this or that. This contrasted with conventional farmers. who believed they need to use pesticides to produce their crops but. A number of independent studies support that viewpoint (Morgan & Murdoch. At the other end of the spectrum. you will notice that the magazine is paid for by pesticide adverts. This practice con‐ tributes to climate warming and is therefore liable to have a detrimental effect on long-term agricultural sustainability through reduced crop yield and/or failure. most conventional farmers in the survey did not disap‐ prove of organic farmers regarding this issue. In contrast to their understandings that conventional farming is unsustainable. It is noteworthy that several organic respondents declined to comment. typified by the following comment: ‘I think organic grass farmers cause more problems with nitrates than I do by ploughing clover [into their soil]’ (CF13). 2011). . Typical organic farmers’ responses included: ‘Conventional farming is lazy farming. Lotter. you have to farm with your head’ (OF2). 2001. it’s farming out of a can. Interestingly. they tended to justify their position by typically saying: ‘I think that we are forced by economics to using and growing the things [crops] the best we can – if we want to be farmers we have to do it that way’ (CF24). such as the 54 year old owner/tenant organ‐ ic farmer who said: ‘If you read the magazine that the conventional farmers read. with quotes like: ‘pesticides – it doesn’t make any difference’. 2003. Other organic farmers were more detailed with their response. This finding does not support the belief that organic farming systems are always environmentally sustainable. possi‐ bly suggesting a link between higher education and environmental awareness. Significantly. half of those who emphasised environmental reasons had a degree or higher degree. 2005. Such comments reveal their ecocentric attitudes towards agricultural sustainability. are aware of the dangers of over-use of such chemicals.

it may be that climatic factors have been overlooked in the distribution of birds by other influences. Similar to earlier discussions regarding government policy.5772/53072 133 Lowland farmland bird populations are strongly influenced by all of the above environmen‐ tal dimensions of agricultural sustainability. Contextual life histories and work routines Although the ten separate descriptive farmer contextual life histories. some conventional farmers. which is an intensive dairy farm and there’s no birds on it’ (OF7). The core point to emerge from the analysis was that organic respondents be‐ lieve organic farming systems are ‘better’ for birds than conventional agriculture.3.1 and 4. as caused through the intensification of agriculture. 4. for example. may not be representative of conventional and organic farmers gen‐ erally. typical conventional respondents’ comments included: ‘Not if they [the govern‐ ment] put a ban on hunting and shooting – there are too many pests – I kill 80-100 Carrion Crows and Magpies each year’ (CF1). The first loosely worded question asked respondents how they thought modern agriculture relates to farmland birds. the attitudes and behaviours of organic farmers suggest a more a sustainable approach than the conventional respondents towards lowland farmland avifauna. beliefs and awareness of lowland farmland avifauna. thereby enabling answers which could relate to any of the previous linked concepts such as conven‐ tional farming. such as the alteration of habitats. Importantly. obtained from the in‐ tensive farm interviews. tended to justify the current population levels and mix of farmland avifauna by blaming government agri-environmental policy for reduc‐ ing agricultural sustainability: ‘There are fewer birds now [on lowland farmland] because farmers have been forced out of mixed farming systems’ (CF1). typified by the following comment: ‘This is just a small organic dairy farm and it’s full of birds but I work on another farm [as a contractor].org/10.doi. whilst acknowledging that intensive farming has been harmful to birds in the past. Generally. Equally as cynical. The analysis therefore attempts to draw togeth‐ er some of these closely related concepts through an examination of respondents’ attitudes. which are used as significant indicator species of the environmental health and sustainability of agriculture. examination of their life histories and the way in which they relate to farming and the farm environment revealed some thought-provoking insights into their environmental atti‐ . Organic farmers typ‐ ically commented: ‘2020 is a frightfully convenient date – it’s the sort of date that govern‐ ments love – it’s well into the future and people have short memories’ (OF1). Recent anecdotal evidence suggests that farmland birds have had a very poor 2012 breeding season due to extremely high rainfall levels noted earlier. It seems unlikely that the population of corvids will remain sustainable in CF1’s farm location if he continues with his current attitudes and pat‐ terns of behaviour. However.2 regarding concerns re‐ lated to environmental components of agricultural sustainability. the majority of members of both groups of respondents had little faith that the government would be successful in its aim of restoring farmland bird populations to sustainable 1970 levels by 2020.Organic and Conventional Farmers’ Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability http://dx. On-farm intensive qualitative interviews Farmers’ contextual life histories and work routines were examined to ascertain if these helped to explain some of the results revealed in sections 4.

CF3 also demonstrated his extreme tidiness by apologising for failing to remove what appeared to be the last remnant of scrub so essen‐ tial for farm biodiversity and. with their associated invertebrates and weed seeds. which showed that conventional farmers’ often have tidy farms. These attitudes and on-farm behaviours contrasted significantly with respondents OF1 and OF4’s high level of environmental concern and seemingly less tidy approach to farming. A common denominator of these four farmers is that they all started in farming at a young age without formal qualifications. and typified by respondent CF3 who finished school aged fif‐ teen: ‘ … the best thing I did was going round a multitude of farms working for other people. According to CF4. which contribute significantly towards increased levels of biodiversity. Ecocentricism can be defined as a mode of thought which regards humans as subject to ecological and system laws. of which humans are just another component (O’Rior‐ dan. his sister (OF4): ‘is a muddler … a policeman said to somebody [about her dwelling] I would never know whether it’s been burgled or not’. neat and tidy farms with the land in ‘good shape’. beliefs and behaviours towards environmental dimensions of agricultural sustainabil‐ ity. independent research shows that environmental concern for issues related to agricultural sustainability was correlated with variables such as age and education. OF1 also considered that his early on-farm practical experiences influenced his farming phi‐ losophy: ‘those early years spent almost entirely outside doing physical work must have been formative and very important to me’. As discussed in the previ‐ ous section. A final insight to emerge was that most of the organic respondents planted hedg‐ es and created ponds. when seeing litter. thereby directly contributing to biodiversity and agricultural sustainability. productive. neatly trimmed hedges and fields kept weedfree through herbicide usage. This was illustrated by CF1 who. would stop his truck to collect it. Several of the conventional farmers showed technocentric attitudes. 1981). an important environmental components of agricultural sustainability. According to O’Riordan (1981). This experience was common to re‐ spondents CF3. This contrasted with the more ecocentric attitudes of some of the organic re‐ spondents. These attitudes and behaviours support the earlier findings towards the core environmental dimension of agricultural sustainability theme ‘responsible countryside behaviour’. because you see how different people tackle the same job from a different angle’. essentially it is not human-centred (anthropocentric) but centred on natural ecosystems. wildlife friendly and sustainable agri‐ culture. Another important insight to emerge from the life histories is that the conventional respond‐ ents’ idea of agriculture was often well-organised. although OF1 and CF5 gained a National Diploma in Agriculture when older. technocentrism is a mode of thought which recognises environmental problems but believes that society will always solve them through technology and achieve unlimited ma‐ terial growth. This contrasted with organic farmers’ untidy farms with ‘over grown’ hedges and less concern about removing weeds. whose concept of ‘nature’ was re‐ . Most of the conventional respondents seemed to place great importance on their early work experience on other farms and saw this as a crucial building block from which they have developed their own particular ‘style’ of farming. ultimately. CF4 and CF5. as epitomised by CF1. CF3 and CF4. Organic farmers also had a vision of farming more closely linked to the ‘natu‐ ral’ environment than several of the conventional farmers.134 Organic Farming and Food Production tudes.

the examination turns to farmers’ work routines which may reveal additional insights into environmental di‐ mensions of agricultural sustainability. a mixed farmer’s comments seem to set in stone the inflexibility of his work routine: ‘It’s the dairy herd we have to milk twice a day. so that’s it – all year round’ (CF3). organic farmers’ work routine was usually more complex than the conventional case study respondents due to the diversi‐ ty of their enterprises. Respondents’ work routines revolved around the re‐ curring times of seasons. conventional farmers are more likely to see the creation of pheasant cover as con‐ servation work. I had one lamb that we saved whose eyes were pecked out by a crow. These findings support the results from the examination of the core theme of farmers’ conservation work where it was found that more organic than conventional farmers undertake conservation work. for example. pond creation and wood planting. This supports the earlier findings in the farmer characteristics section. Her brother’s (CF4) weekday work pattern revolved principally around . In contrast. He sees himself as a producer of ‘good English food [milk] for the house‐ wife. type and biodiversity of her farm’s hilly terrain strongly influenced her work routine. although this situation would be equally true of an organic dairy farm. It usually starts at six thirty.doi. with many carrying out hedge laying. However. Some farmers claimed their work routine is very tiring. however. The often exhausting seasonal work was epitomised by a mixed organic respondent who kept a wide range of livestock on her farm. specialist dairy farmer CF2’s work routine was dictated throughout the whole year by milking his cows twice a day. This type of habitat creation plays an important role in helping to restore agricultural sustainability to pre intensification levels. The diversity of OF4’s holding and the size. Having gained some further insights into the five geographically linked organic and con‐ ventional farmers’ environmental perceptions.5772/53072 135 lated to planting pheasant cover and providing ‘good environments’ for foxes. Her contextual life history revealed that. She illustrated some of the complexities of her daily work routine by detailing several aspects of a ‘typically’ tiring day during the lambing season: ‘Parts of my routine are seasonal. She emphasised the importance of feeding her animals with natural healthy food to ensure their good health. CF1’s daily activities revolved around his flock of 1.Organic and Conventional Farmers’ Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability in contrast to the other organic respondents. she had off-farm jobs thereby adding to the complexity of her daily work routine. attitudes and behaviours.000 ewes. this work routine was disrupted when a ram could not be restrained. but it hadn’t healed properly and it went straight into joint ill and died’ (OF2). CF1 claimed to be a keen naturalist and countryman and recalls happy childhood memories of: ‘… shoot‐ ing rabbits and squirrels with a 410 hammer gun’. but at half past three this morning I was still trugging away getting a lamb to feed. This description demonstrated vividly the rhythm of life and death on her farm and showed her individual care and attention to livestock. including fish in a recently excavated lake thereby increasing biodiversity levels on her holding. the cycles of planting and harvesting of crops. and the cycles of birth and death of livestock and ultimately people.’ Similarly. Many respondents’ work patterns were built around their livestock.

second. he said his work pattern was dictated by the seasons and he used words such as ‘revolves’ which indicate a cyclical pattern of time. the organic farmers seemed to have a signifi‐ cantly closer relationship with their livestock than conventional respondents. third. Burton (2004) also noted that: ‘a number of researchers found that conven‐ tional farmers have a penchant for landscapes that are neat. due to his serious illness which requires eating and resting at frequent intervals: ‘My work routine revolves around my illness – I have had ME for seventeen years and can only work for short periods then I have to have a rest’ (OF1). However. which may simply be due to them caring for smaller numbers of animals. In contrast. in terms of ‘responsible countryside behaviour’. it seemed surprising that all the respondents focused on the daily routine of look‐ ing after livestock when some are mixed farmers. this may indicate that the imme‐ diacy and care required by farm animals is considered more important than. He claimed that his farm‐ ing practices were ‘based on nature and natural processes which work best on their own’. organic respondents generally had relatively untidy farms with ‘over grown’ hedges and . attitudes and behaviours emerged from the respondents. raising crops. fertile condition. The weekday work pattern of OF1 was strongly influenced by the limitations on the amount of time he can work at any one period. This often contrasted significantly with some of the conventional farmers’ who showed little interest in conservation work oth‐ er than related to shooting. This was epitomised by some organic farmers’ individual concern for their stock and considerable interest in carrying out conservation work. however. This supports the ear‐ lier findings that conventional farmers often see the creation of pheasant cover as conservation works. a diverse series of environmental perceptions. with the aim of maintaining their land in good. in the short term. conventional farmers tended to have tidy farms with neatly trimmed hedges and weed-free fields. understandings and behaviours of organic and conventional farmers (in centralsouthern England) towards four core agricultural sustainability themes and a range of supporting and interrelated environmental dimensions of agricultural sustainability con‐ cepts. early morning feeding and moving his sheep between fields as necessa‐ ry and. Whether loosely labelled organic or conventional. clean and ordered’. having a regular shoot in the pheasant cover he created. For example. thereby further revealing his ecocentric attitudes and behaviours. The attitudes and behaviours of both groups of respondents during their work routines helped support earlier findings towards environmental dimensions of agricultural sustaina‐ bility. Many of the quotations demonstrated the cyclical nature of farming as a common thread linking all farmers. 5. his non-farming duties with his children because his wife works full time as a teacher. however.136 Organic Farming and Food Production three issues: first. other factors such as the life experiences of OF2 as a nurse and her ecocentric attitudes may also be important. In line with other farmers. Initially. Conclusion This chapter used an essentially behavioural approach to examine the environmental atti‐ tudes.

were more in favour of the Game Conserv‐ ancy Trust. This type of habitat creation is important in helping to restore agricultural sustainability to pre intensification levels.Organic and Conventional Farmers’ Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability http://dx. However. whose main countryside leisure pursuit is shooting. These findings may be related to conven‐ tional farmers anticipating future benefit from GM technology. Respondents’ attitudes towards global climate change varied significantly as exemplified by more organic. Organic farmers used this land loss as evidence of global climate change tak‐ ing place due to the burning of fossil fuels. This contrasted with the strong ecocentric attitudes of the organic respondents who condemned GM crops totally with their perceived environmental dangers. than conventional farmers. The periodicals read by the organic respondents were mainly con‐ cerned with environmental and sustainability issues other than agriculture.doi. Both of these play important roles in the biodiversity element of agricultural sustainability. Organic farmers were also more inter‐ ested in joining environmental schemes than conventional farmers. Membership of environmental institutions was quite low among both groups of farmers.5772/53072 137 paid considerably less attention to removing weeds. woods and hedges. However. This contrasted with a number of conventional farmers who thought that such weather changes are part of the normal course of events. conventional farmers saw the creation of woods and pheasant cover as conservation works. conventional farmers. rather than environmental. reflecting attitudes towards conser‐ vation work and agricultural sustainability. Woodland Trust and Friends of the Earth. 2006). Thus. particularly those associated with the ‘natural’ environment such as Countryside Stewardship and LEAF. The main reason that conventional farmers gave for not being critical of GM crops was their belief that environmental benefits would be gained from reductions in pesticide use. with many belonging to more than one In contrast. organic farmers may see such technology to be damaging to themselves. thereby pro‐ viding insights into their attitudes towards environmental dimensions of agricultural sustainability. essential for the sustainability of both types of farming. possibly because it may direct‐ ly affect their livelihood. with a much high‐ er proportion involved in the recreation of ponds. while organic farmers preferred the Wildlife Trust. which later proved to be of great benefit for agri‐ cultural sustainability through increased biodiversity. environmental concern for the loss of some of the UK’s most fertile agricultural land in East Anglia thereby adversely affecting agricultural sustainability. Conventional farmers were not generally critical of GM technology and the associated po‐ tential dangers of cross-pollination of GM crops with native plant species. their families and the environment without the possibility of future benefit (Hall & Moran. More organic than conventional farmers carried out conservation work. Differences did emerge. many conventional farmers’ revealed how genuine their attitudes were by initially entering their least fertile fields into the scheme for financial reasons. In contrast. This supports the earlier finding that many conventional farmers see the crea‐ tion of woods and pheasant cover as conservation work further suggesting that all environmental institutions are not equally ‘green’. however. The attitudes of the two farmer groups were quite similar regarding the reduction of water sup‐ plies. similar numbers of organic and convention‐ al respondents were in a set-aside scheme. .

However. Such practices resulted in an average decline in farmland bird popula‐ tions of 43 per cent between 1970 and 2009. through pesticides usage. most organic farmers believed that government policy had caused a lot of damage to the countryside and had little faith in government policy restoring such damage thus reflect‐ ing their ecocentric attitudes. In contrast. (2000) who found that environmental concern was correlated with variables such as age and education. which they claimed was minimal thereby demonstrating their belief in the importance of a conventionally farmed country‐ side. whilst acknowledging that intensive farming has been harmful to birds in the past. In contrast. This contrasted with conventional farmers. Such practices contribute to climate warming and are therefore liable to have a detrimental effect on long-term agricultural sustainability through reduced crop yield and/or failure. This suggests that organic farming systems are not always as environmental‐ ly sustainable as is often claimed. However. some organic respondents claimed that organic farming systems are ‘better’ for birds than conventional agriculture. conventional farmers were generally not in sup‐ port of those views.. who believe that it is essential for them to use pesticides to grow their crops. On the one hand. sometimes suggesting that organic grass farmers cause more problems with nitrates than they do. by ploughing clover into their soil. dem‐ onstrated by half of the organic respondents claiming that environmental concerns were their main reason for adopting organic methods. Organic farmers’ attitudes towards lowland farmland bird populations were revealed by their greater interest. Most organic farmers were also very critical of the way in which conventional agriculture harms water quality. justified their opinion by blaming government agri-environmental policy for forcing them . This finding is supported by Dunlap et al. for example. both groups of respondents’ attitudes towards government policy regarding environmental issues such as agricultural sustainability varied considerably. most organic farmers said that conventional agriculture is unsustainable because conventional farmers tend to use high levels of nitrate and pesticides on their crops. Probably somewhat unsurprisingly. there is a strong causal relationship between the intensification of agricul‐ ture. the attitudes of both farmer groups varied considerably towards conventional agriculture. knowledge and understanding of farmland avifauna than the conven‐ tional respondents. and the decline in agricultural sustainability. fewer conventional than organic farmers be‐ lieved that conventional agriculture has negative environmental impacts.000 miles of hedgerows were destroyed be‐ tween 1984 and 1990. Most of the or‐ ganic respondents accepted that a lot of fossil fuels are used in their mechanical weeding processes. but claimed to be aware of the dangers of over-use of such chemicals. half of those who emphas‐ ised environmental reasons had a degree or higher degree. For example. Most organic farmers said that they believed that organic agriculture is environmentally sustainable. caused by the Common Agricultural Policy since its inception. possibly suggesting a link be‐ tween higher education and environmental awareness. most conventional farmers had some faith in government policy in restoring countryside damage. On the other hand.138 Organic Farming and Food Production Interestingly. For example. Significantly. some conventional farmers. leading to damage to agricultural sustainability. The attitudes of both groups of farmers towards organic farming were equally diverse. 620. For example.

Organic farmers’ work routine was found to be more complex than the conventional respondents due to the diversity of their enterprises. similar to organic farmers. Most members of both groups of respondents had little faith in gov‐ ernment agri-environmental policy as it relates to farmland bird populations. For example. attitudes and behaviours. Many re‐ spondents were generally cynical about the government and believe they will be unsuccessful in achieving their objective of restoring farmland bird populations to 1970 lev‐ els by 2020. Acknowledgements This study could not have been carried out without the collaboration of the twenty five or‐ ganic farmers and twenty five conventional farmers who took part in the ‘extensive’ tele‐ . This was not accomplished without problems concerning the discrepancies ex‐ perienced between respondents’ attitudes and their physical on-farm behaviours. convention‐ al farmers often see the creation of pheasant cover as conservation works contrasting with the more environmentally friendly attitudes of the organic farmers who often plant hedges and excavate ponds thereby helping to restore agricultural sustainability. more conventional farmers could be encouraged to join agri-environmental schemes and environmental institu‐ tions with the aim of luring them from their perceived key traditional role of producers of good healthy food. Importantly.doi. In contrast.Organic and Conventional Farmers’ Attitudes Towards Agricultural Sustainability http://dx. This study provided a conceptual and empirical contribution towards geographical research. For example. thereby further contributing to farm biodiversity and agricul‐ tural sustainability. possibly because of the outrage from conservationists regarding this proposal.000 on a licensed three-year trial of Common Buzzard Buteo buteo capture and nest destruction on three shooting estates in Northumberland (Pitches. Generally the attitudes and behaviours revealed by the contextual life histories and work routines supported the findings revealed from the earlier analysis. The behavioural approach adopted in this chapter proved useful in contributing towards sensitive understandings of organic and conventional farmers’ perceptions. The wide ranging differences of opinion and behaviours demonstrated by the respondents in this chapter may influence their environmental attitudes towards agricultural sustainabil‐ 2012).5772/53072 139 out of mixed farming. It is important that the technocentric attitudes of many conventional farmers become more in line with the ecocentric attitudes of most organic farmers if long-term agricultural sustainability is to be realised. Defra announced during the first week in July 2012 that farmers can apply for payment through agri-environmental schemes to provide supplementary food for farmland birds during their leanest months. Such mixed messages leave in considerable doubt that the government is serious in their aim of revers‐ ing the long-term declines of farmland birds and restoring sustainable populations to 1970 levels by 2020. Defra announced on 24th May 2012 its plans to spend £375. knowledge and understandings of the environmental dimensions of agricultural sustaina‐ bility in the UK.

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5772/52445 1. distribution. 3]. not only where to buy prod‐ ucts. but also whether to buy OF products or not [17]. retail chains. This covers the extra costs of not using fertilizers and antibiotics. production methods and operations size are key here. and reproduction in any medium. .doi. use of pesticides and antibiotics.0).org/10. Of particular interest are the operations size and the situation of small and medium size farms. provided the original work is properly cited. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons. food industrializa‐ tion. GMOs. An increasing number of organic brands. Introduction Looking at the present food chain. and the effects of food technologies and food scares [1.Chapter 7 Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values Leila Hamzaoui-Essoussi and Mehdi Zahaf Additional information is available at the end of the chapter http://dx. consumers seem to be ambivalent about channels of distribution as trust/mistrust appears to be an important factor in deciding. and industrializa‐ tion of the agricultural system. concerns are related to anxiety among consumers about the quality of the food they eat. Large-scale farming is sustained by important economies of scale while small scale farming leads to higher prices. Moreover. Growing consumer demand for organic food (OF) is based on most of these facts [1. Among other factors. which permits unrestricted use. there are some unique challenges to the cost and lo‐ gistics of moving locally or regionally produced organic food to the market. This in turn gives raise to 2 distinct distribution systems: long channels. © 2012 Hamzaoui-Essoussi and Zahaf. and wider range of organic product categories has been observed in terms of efforts to provide higher food safety and food quality. that add value through price and high distribution the operations’ size. The pro‐ duction of the latter is of little interest to mainstream grocery chains as it is limited to a few hundred tons. Although OF is generally considered to present less risk than conventional foods. As a result. licensee InTech. eg. But these factors do not seem to have increased consumers’ perceived value of organic food products nor trust in OF. certification labels. From the production and supply side. there is a wide variety of product classifications depending on the production meth‐ ods and thus. this debate has been re-launched as a direct consequence of rising con‐ cerns related to risks associated with intensive agricultural production. 2].

if enacted on a farm previously farmed using conventional methods. The model integrates the different levels of the production/supply side key factors. and (iii) all other labels regrouping local. natural. eg. Hence. This study first presents the current literature related to the structure of the production and dis‐ tribution of the organic food system and market. These strategies are used by (i) the pre-supply. (ii) transitional organic. Labels like “local”. direct from producers. Organic food product classification From a production standpoint. “organic” foods have to be differentiated from “functional” foods [4]. and (iii) the distribution channels. “Transitional organic” is also a restricted label and describes farms which have made the commitment to move toward organic certification. The first product class is well defined and regulated since 2009. the value chain and the value delivery system are still a challenge for the organic food sector. (ii) the supply/production. “pesticide-free” and “ecologically friendly” are not regulated and tend to be used by small farms catering to local/regional clientele.146 Organic Farming and Food Production and short channels. while the second and third cate‐ gories are neither . The main issue here is to determine the factors on which the different production methods and distribution systems rely on in order to add value to the organic food products offered. 2.1. there are three main classes of production labels: (i) organic. In Cana‐ da. production and handling of foods sold under these labels is for the most part not monitored or regulated except by gov‐ ernmental agencies and district health units. With the exception of marketing board-regulated products like dairy or chicken. The organic food system 2. requires at least three years to ensure all chemicals have leached from the soil and that or‐ ganic amendments have had the opportunity to rebuild soil fertility. and the farm can be certified organic. Organic certification is an ar‐ duous process which. processors and other interme‐ diaries in the value chain between production and consumption which has been certified by Certifying Bodies (CB). discrepancies between market realities. As a result information on farms operating out‐ side of the organic certification system is scattered and incomplete. These CBs are independent and private fee-for-service agencies that are generally overseen by National Food Inspection Agencies. the "transitional" label is ap‐ plied to farms label is applied. to farms which have switched to certifiable or‐ ganic methods and are in the 36-month period between the last use of chemicals and the time the land can be assumed free of chemicals. supported by an integrative productiondistribution model. there are various categories of production methods. Challenges and strategies that add value to the organic food products are ana‐ lyzed. products. The use of the term “organic” is restricted to farms. Lastly. that add value through their production methods and sustainable practices. “natural”. Organic foods tend to be regulated and are based on supply side value while functional foods are not very . pesticide-free and ecologically friendly.defined nor regulated. For instance.clearly . for example.

Medium-sized producers tend to produce for a smaller geographical market [7]. Handlers of organic products must also be certified. including soil organisms. Most dairy farms would be considered large producers in this context. "Organic production is a holistic sys‐ tem designed to optimize the productivity and fitness of diverse communities within the agro-ecosystem. but these relationships are painstakingly developed and rely on niche marketing and personal relationships. Certification. i. This is the other major factor. has enabled large players to get into the game. in diminished credibility of the organic standard and a refusal to participate. " [5]. They may supply some restaurants. While both types of product are marketed to achieve the same objective.Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values http://dx. by livestock or field crops which are most likely to go to dis‐ tributors and processors for further treatment [7]. healthy products.2. It has also hardened the value chain against entry by these small farmers [6]. Organic food production According to the Canadian General Standards Board. for some small farmers concerned with the philosophical aspects of organic production. specialty retailers. The principal goal of organic production is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment. processed foods must be processed in certified facilities. which came about to prevent fraudulent claims. and one that could mitigate the seasonality of foods: further processing could provide a wider mar‐ ket and a longer selling window for perishables. These . or small grocers. By characterizing producers' use of the val‐ ue chain to get products to the consumer. we can break the organic producers down into three categories: large. 2. 5772/52445 147 regulated and are based on demand side value. Large producers are characterized by organic cash crops. It is worth noting that the organic movement. which are either exported or proc‐ essed after they leave the farm. Limited by in‐ frastructure. small and medium-sized operations. plants. some of these producers are now working together to develop their own prod‐ ucts. facilitating the long-distance shipping and distribution of organic products required to bring them to grocery stores and wholesale clubs. the market positioning is very different. partnering up with complementary businesses to be able to expand the offerings of their on-farm market to attract more customers. It applies within the value chain the same downward pressure on price exhibited in the conventional food value chain. Most medium pro‐ ducers offer on-farm markets as stationary storefronts. to be qualified as livestock and people. which began as an alterna‐ tive style of production among small farms looking both to reduce their environmental foot‐ print and to differentiate their products from commercially produced foods.doi. This has resulted. Further. Others have partnered with small regional processor/distributors to reach restaurants and specialty food retailers. incorporating products sold on con‐ signment or retailed for other area producers. e. Added-value processing in Canada is limited by the small number of certified processors. has been admitted to the mainstream market. Small organic producers tend to not use distribution intermediaries. Instead they focus on di‐ rect relationships with consumers through farmers' markets and on-farm markets.

the trend has been reversed [10]. total mass market sales of certified OF products approximated CA $586 million allocated as follow: CA $175 million through small grocery stores. the total annual retail sales of certified organic products in 2009 were approxi‐ mately $2 billion. On the other hand. a similar mainstream value chain has developed for organic products being sold through conventional outlets. . More specifically. Ten years ago the bulk of OF sales were made in specialty stores (95%) while the remaining 5% were realized in main‐ stream stores. Imports from warmer climates offer this consistency. Farmers’ markets among other alternative distribution channels are being used and are characterized by a direct link be‐ tween the producer and the consumer [11]. characterized by a longer channel where consumers do not see and interact with the produc‐ er and where the information about food is limited. to reach 26. large supermarket chains [8. coming in from other regions.with the producers [11]. 3%. channels such as box delivery. and CA $411 million in large grocery chains. and specialty stores. with about 45% moving through mainstream supermarkets [15]. to mainstream markets. 13. e. In some countries. 14]. These are the regular OF consumers. Conventional distribution channels. e. 7% of the food market. retailers prefer to deal with a single supplier rather than displace the year-round supplier with a seasonally-available product. ask them questions about their production methods. 6 billion US dol‐ lars. Most of the demand is coming from Europe and North America and these two regions are not self-sufficient. and OF retail sales represented 1% of total retail food sales. food origin and variety. and other channels such as res‐ taurants. The main problem for producers and growers is to supply this demand. These are the hardcore consumers. The largest market for organic products in . These channels totalize CA $415 million [16]. 2. and small grocery stores or even direct channels such as the farmer’s market are targeted toward consumers that look to interact – socially . drug stores. Nowadays.3. seeks consistent supplies of products.148 Organic Farming and Food Production are the small farms most likely to give up on organic certification due to the paperwork and expenses involved. The or‐ ganic food industry has steadily moved from niche markets. Organic food has emerged as an important segment of food retailing in recent years. These figures do not account for alternative distribution channels such as farmers’ markets. Since organic products have entered into the mainstream market. specialty stores. are used to balance the un‐ dersupply. sales of organic products approximated EU 18’400 million in 2009 [18]. box delivery. In Europe. g. 9]. Organic food distribution In conventional food systems. In Canada. Traditional retail. natural food stores. small specialty stores. we see California and Mexico lettuce occupying shelves year-round because. and cooking tips. Large volumes of organic imports. 17]. . is targeted toward consumers that look for a one-stop grocery shopping experience [6. there exists between producers and consumers of food prod‐ ucts a series of handlers involved in the processing and distribution. for reasons of efficiency. US sales of organic products grew in 2009 by 5. representing 3. distributors are promoting their own line of OF products under specific brand names [12. g. with its fo‐ cus on profit.

such as health and tradition in France Concerns for the environment and for animals’ wellbeing appear as other reasons for buying organic food [20. 3. Perceived risks pertaining to food consumption and lack of knowledge regarding organic products are leading consumers to rely on different indica‐ tors such as brand name. 27]. The propensity to be‐ have in an environment-friendly way (environment and animal welfare) relates to the value of universalism whereas supporting the local economy is related to the value of benevo‐ lence. 21. Good taste and eating to enjoy re‐ lates to hedonism or pleasure and sensuous gratification for oneself. But this latter is only highlighted in fewer studies. label or partners like producers. organic products are associated by fewer consumers with local produc‐ tion because they like to support the local economy [6. OF consumers also have different buying processes that are not the result of one decision but a series of decisions nested in each other. or safety and harmony. 24]. health and environment in Sweden [2. Personal health remains a strong motivating factor. Consumers’ trust to‐ . In their study. When considering health as a motivation for purchasing organic food. 8 billion euros) followed by France (3 billion euros) and the UK (2 billion euros).doi.1. store image. 3. This is even more interesting as an important share of organic food is still imported because OF markets are not self-sufficient. 22]. The organic food market The organic food market is characterized by consumers buying organic food products for different motivations and values. Trust in the organic foods distribution system Given the prevailing climate of food-related fear and consumer uncertainty. Issues about food quality but also “eating to enjoy” is mentioned to be im‐ portant motivations for OF consumption in several countries like France. [29] provided an overview of the personal motivations of organic food con‐ sumption within a framework linking these motivations to Schwartz’ values theory. Among these.Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values http://dx. trust indicators may have a significant role to play. The cultural differences cause consumers in different countries to have various motivations with regard to OF. tasty and nourishing products are considered as important motiva‐ tions and [25] found that most organic consumers think that organic food tastes better than conventional. 26]. Last. several motivations to buy organic food have been identified and ranked. organic food products being perceived as less associated with health risk than conventional food products [19]. it appears that consumers link it with the value of security. 3. 5772/52445 149 2009 was Germany (5. Italy and Greece [23. decisions about where to buy is here considered as it directly relates to consumers’ most used and trusted distribution channels. Furthermore. Consumers’ motivations to buy organic food products Through the literature.

distributors. labeling or setting proper pricing and communication strategies. such information is important for all market participants involved in the supply food system. This will lead to an in-depth understanding of the value added in the organic food distribution sys‐ tem.150 Organic Farming and Food Production ward the distribution channels also appear to be an important factor in deciding not only where to buy but also what to buy. The dimensions of trust necessary to achieve market growth have to be integrated to the OF product positioning and the distribution strategies. at different levels and with different strategies to consumers’ level of knowledge of. as well as the determination of the challenges faced by the major players of the organic food industry. and direct channels. and sold quantities. distributors. imports. Further. Lastly. building trust in the OF supply requires tools such as quality certification or labeling that have to be established and used as a promotion strategy. Trust orientations should be studied in the context of market actors such as producers/farmers and distributors or certifying bodies. To address the abovementioned objectives. . the current market structure. each player (producers/farmers. the logistics of the value delivery network need to be investigated. Indeed. Building trust in the OF supply requires more than just ensuring product quality and product knowledge. laws and regulations related to government agencies. certifiers) adds a different value to the product and requires distinct distribution flows to do so. and (iii) channels of distribution: broken down into 3 main categories. this study aims to uncover variations among supply side players (producers/farmers. certifiers) with regards to the OF supply chain and factors they rely on to add value to organic prod‐ ucts. This value needs to be determined and estimated at all levels of the channel of distribu‐ tion. In their effort to rebuild consum‐ er confidence and satisfy consumer demand. Since markets differ in how the food system is organized. as trust is missing at various levels of the marketing value delivery system and the food supply chain. to support these two objectives it is important to provide a precise and useful profile of organic food consumers in relation with their preferred channel of distribution and main trust orientations. As a matter of fact. There are 3 layers of decisions in this model (i) presupply: this is related to certification decisions. the main OF market actors are contributing. This highlights the importance of examining the trust issue from the supply side. 4. (ii) supply: this is related to the production. our approach is based on an integrative produc‐ tion-distribution model (cf. and finally expert opinions on the industry structure and evolution. production methods. Figure 1). as well as trust/mistrust in OF products. This is very likely to be in direct relation with the type of consumers and their preferred and most used channels of distribution. long or standard channel. Objectives and framework Whereas the majority of previous research is focusing on the demand side. A second objective is to identify the different dis‐ tribution strategies and arrangements to market organic foods and increase trust in OF products. short channels. preferences for.

(ii) by or‐ ganic food products variety. there is a three-prong challenge related to the interviews quality and consistency: (i) inter‐ views had to cover a wide range of producers and distributors in the organic food industry. ). Design The abovementioned objectives require a 2-level design. Design and procedure 5. Further. then in-depth interviews were conducted with producers. This design determines how dis‐ tributors/producers manage similarities and differences between what consumers want and what they offer them. wholesaler. 5772/52445 151 Figure 1. A supply-side study has been developed to assess the production-dis‐ tribution model. Distributors and producers were profiled as follow: (i) by channel size and type. This in turn will lead to the development of a second model that takes also into account the demand-side (production/market model). etc. (ii) interviewees had to be decision makers or gate keepers in their channels of distribution/ . in the supply-side study. Integrative Production-Distribution Model secondary data on the organic food industry was collected to understand its market struc‐ ture. and (iii) by channel position (retailer.Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values http://dx. First.1. distributors and certifiers.

based on 2 thematic interview guides that lasted about 30 mi‐ nutes to 45 minutes. transcribed. Research tools The secondary data analysis led to the compilation of information coming from various sources. as private enterprises. The first set of inter‐ views focuses on the production/supply aspects while the second set focuses on the distribution/market. and ana‐ lyzed using content analysis [30]. Interviews by Distributor Type Production/ distributionDistribution/ market 0 0 0 15 0 0 15 30 7 2 12 17 8 7 7 60 5. 2 sets of in-depth interviews. some farms. and government represen‐ taitves). are under no obligation to do so.3.152 Organic Farming and Food Production organization. Interviewees Retail chains Small grocery stores Specialty stores Organic producers/farmers’ markets Certifiers Organic food experts Other distributors Total Table 1. Lastly. while fairly comprehensive within its scope. Table 1). is not necessarily accurate. were conducted with 90 respondents (cf. and hence the distribution logistics and its impact on the consumer’s market. The interviews were recorded (digital voice recorder). certifiers. These gaps relate to discrepancies between . This technique allows the researcher to include large amounts of textual information and methodically identifies its properties by detecting im‐ portant structures of its content. This is illustrated by the example that.2. then information gaps were determined. in order to reach various target export markets. Two separate judges coded the data to ensure a minimum of 80% correspondence. 5. and (iii) the sample size should be sufficient enough to ensure consistency of the results without reaching any saturation. coded. As gatekeepers to the organic label. these key players can provide the most recent and accurate information about the numbers and types of organic farms. products and busi‐ nesses. products and businesses are certified by multiple bodies simultaneously. Information obtained from these gatekeepers. Qualitative and quantitative procedures Secondary data was collected in Canada using major sources of information as well as infor‐ mal interviews with 14 industry key players (experts.

and the last section deals with certification and labeling. small and medium-sized opera‐ tions. By characterizing producers' use of the value chain to get products to the consumer. Findings 6. (v) trust issues: these are consumers concerns regarding OF and the corre‐ sponding distribution strategies used to increase trust. clustered in 13 themes. because certifying bodies deal only with certified or transitional organic products and businesses. have been generated from the interviews transcriptions. when provided. These farms are selling under one of the "natural" and "local" alternative labels commonly used in direct-to-customer sales at Farmers' Markets and on-farm stores. are generally esti‐ mated based on current market values and expected yields by acre for the crops in production. and (vi) sustainability: this last category deals with the impact of sustainability on the organic food industry. their numbers do not reflect the uncounted number of small mixed-production farms operating outside of the certification process.doi.1. the analyses have been combined for the sake of obtaining more exhaustive and integrative results. Production and supply Information on the production of organic foods tends to be collected and provided in terms of acreage in production and not in final retail sales value. Like the medium-sized farming/processing ensuring sufficient throughout to . and place). Results from this phase have been used to design and struc‐ ture both interview guides: • The production/supply interview guide is composed of 5 sections. 3 sections related to marketing mix elements of organic foods (product. 5772/52445 153 dollar sales and dollar production. 59 keywords. (ii) value delivery system: value creation throughout the distribution channels. The first sec‐ tion probes distributors to discuss their perceptions of the current OF market and the structure of their distribution channel. and how consumers’ concerns are addressed. (iii) market/industry structure: this theme category covers various market trends and the demand as perceived by the supply side. Hence. and ex‐ ports/imports of organic foods. trust issues related to their distribution strat‐ egies. making it difficult to bridge be‐ tween production and economic value. price. organic producers can be broken down into three categories: large. These 2 sets of interviews are complementary.Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values http://dx. 6. (iv) distribution strategies: this section groups all distribution strategies as well as dis‐ tribution logistics. the characterization of the value delivery system. They do not account for any added-value processing which may occur between the producer and the consumer. • The distribution/market interview guide is composed of three main sections. These themes are classified as follow: (i) production and supply: the section presents the challenges and issues that pro‐ ducers/farmers deals with when marketing their organic foods. Retail numbers. The second and third sections deal with distribu‐ tors’ perception of consumers’ concerns. a 4th section about the organic food market. larger processing and distribu‐ tion centers tend to co-pack with conventional products. Further.

The system for the medium-sized pro‐ ducers. distributors perform different distribution flows. This supports the importance of pricing. There is very little shared infrastructure between these levels.154 Organic Farming and Food Production be profitable. shorter channels need larger mar‐ gins to stay in business. like the large retail outlets they serve. closed. those are interested mainly in consistency of product and supply and so they contract with large growers for their raw products. To maintain year-round clien‐ tele these operations supplement with organic imports on a seasonal basis and retail the products of other producers. culminating in three types of retail. This adds value and extends the selling window for their own products. There are effectively three distribution chains of in‐ creasing efficiency at work in the organic food system. As in any distribution structure. thus creating distinct “organic values” sold through their channel of distribution. tends to remain closed because they are still struggling to maintain their position. The “organic value” is directly related to the efficiency of the value delivery system. according to the supply side. the return to a focus on price has decreased the value of the organic label to small farmers. Smaller packing. The processing and distribution system for large producers is. it's available to those large producers only. while short channels offer a value based on traceability and quality. This price must also be low enough to be attractive to consumers.more details will be given in the upcoming sections. Long/medium channels have a price/variety driven value. developed by those same medium-sized producers. for the most part. There seems to be little overlap between large. Value delivery system It is clear from the interviews that the organic food system tends to echo the conventional system in terms of the size and distribution of margin within the value chain . These enterprises tend to be closed systems. and producers. . processing and distribution op‐ erations are often spawned by the producers themselves as a way of making their products more marketable. distribution and sales stages. Further to this. Entry into the market of large supermarket chains has had a significant impact on price. every intermediary involved in the organic value chain must be able to add sufficient margin to cover its operating costs and generate enough profit to justify continued operation. Prices tend to be higher in shorter channels than in longer channels as there are more flows performed by fewer channel members. 6. While this has made organics more accessible and increased the volume of sales. Hence. basically building in forward integration of the value chain. It is also clear that there are two distribution perspectives: long/medium size channels such as retail chains and small grocery stores versus short channel such as specialty stores. farmers’ mar‐ ket. producing downward pressure on the value chain in much the same way it has occurred in the conven‐ tional chain. medium and small producers at the process‐ ing. The final price paid by the consumer reflects a share paid to each participant.2. they've done enormous amounts of work in establishing themselves and often consider the information and infrastructure they've de‐ veloped to be proprietary.

Most of these distributors argued that the organic food market is demand driven. with the growth in popularity of organic food products.3. that at the retail level. Further. Organic Value Creation 6. This demand is exponentially growing.doi. The increasing number of distribution channels is also based on an increasing number of supermarkets and food store chains offering and widening their offer of organic foods at very competitive we would have a better supply of it to meet the demands of our customers”. lead‐ ing distributors to rely more and more on imports to compensate the under-supplied of lo‐ cal and national production. They have been encouraged by chain stores that need larger quantities at regular delivery times. many conventional channels are increasing their organic sales adopting conventional marketing strategies to organic food products. “I am wishing. many wholesalers have entered the organic food supply chain. it is basi‐ cally based on a derived demand. we would . Further. Overall. Market/industry structure In terms of product lifecycle. This is done to satisfy the needs of wider OF segments. and have to work through them because of high demand. 5772/52445 155 Figure 2. includ‐ ing organic versions of conventional brands. the OF market is not at maturity yet.Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values http://dx. distributors agree that the OF market is growing and shows substantial opportunities. “I am wishing. that at the retail level. More specifically they mentioned an increasing diversification of product lines and channels of distribution.

More wholesalers have entered the organic food supply chain with the growth in popularity of or‐ ganic food products. “local food” consumption is starting to drive the organic food demand. such as health and support of local farmers. price has been more dis‐ cussed as a cost-control tool rather then as a market price-sensitivity issue. Producers and farmers’ markets managers stated that their customers have specific needs and motivations to buy organic foods. Most conventional channels are increasing their organic sales using conventional marketing strategies for organic food (like offering organic versions of conventional brands). It is clear that the industry is slowly moving toward a price skimming strategy. with producers offering tracea‐ . Conversely. consumers buying from conventional channels. However. re‐ tail chains. Third. 6. They have been encouraged by chain stores because demand is up and they need larger quantities at regular delivery times. all interviewees agree to say that consumers are becoming more educated and make smarter food choices. supermarkets are able to provide consumers with a larger variety. the diversification of the offer is the main driver of the market growth for supermarkets and retail chain managers. imports from re‐ gions with large organic farming activities (eg. e. In other words. This helps satisfying the needs of a wider number of OF segments. “but one of the most difficult things is to make it price competitive”. However. certifiers.4. lower prices and convenience whereas specialty stores differentiate themselves with the quality and the origin of their products. From the organic food specialty stores’ perspective (independent stores as well as small chain stores). there are clear differen‐ ces in their purchasing behavior. As a matter of fact. On the other hand. From the producers and farmers’ perspective.156 Organic Farming and Food Production have a better supply of it to meet the demands of our customers”. It is interesting to note that direct channels offer competitive prices with regards to retail chain and supermarket. the organic market shows differences with supermarkets in terms of variety. and experts agree that price is a key factor to enhance organic foods demand. The second major trend is pricing. being able to expand supply is a big issue that translates into poor supply reliability and poor availability at the demand level. Conse‐ quently. Producers are also making efforts in diversifying their offering and widening their product lines. and wholesalers are key here. i. are looking for a different shopping and consumption experience. The main difference between suppliers is deter‐ mined in terms of short-direct/long channel of distribution. This represents a seri‐ ous alternative for consumers looking to buy organic. This is directly related to the OF adoption process. All interviewees including distributors. Distribution strategies The increasing number of distribution channels seems to be mainly based on an increasing number of supermarkets and food store chains offering OF products and widening their of‐ fer of organic foods at more competitive prices. These products are a superior quality alternative to what is called “industrial organic” of‐ fered in supermarkets and retail chains. Consumers trusting the labels and certifications are in the interest-evaluation-trial phase while consumers trusting stores are in the adoption phase. price and quality. Consequently. imports from other regions with large organic farming activities still prevails. California) still prevails.

6. 5772/52445 157 bility and quality.5. trust in the store selling OF. Retail chains selling organics use intensive distribution strat‐ .org/10. This is also related to the value offered in these channels: price versus quality. and trust in the production origin.Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values http://dx.5. Trust Levels by Distributors NA NA Consumers’ education Retail chain managers mention – unanimously – that the product label is important. Consumers buying in these outlets feel very confortable knowing what to buy and finding all information they look for.doi. Distributors Retail chains Trust more Product labels ++ Certification labels + Trust less Brands To Increase trust Price Accuracy Consumers’ education Quality Small Grocery Stores Product labels ++ Store reputation ++ Store manager ++ Specialty stores Product labels ++ Certification labels ++ Brands Brands Consumer education Knowing the producer Price accuracy Consumers’ education Quality Consumers’ education Knowing the producer Organic producers Certification labels + Production methods ++ Certifiers/ Experts Certification labels ++ NA Information on the labels Consumers’ education Knowing the producer Production methods Certification process Other distributors Product labels ++ Certification labels + Table 2. Trust issues and distribution 6. They also acknowledge that there are different types of consumers based on their level of trust.1. Table 2 presents the distributors perspective on consumers’ trust and ways to increase trust in organic food products. Trust issues Consumers have different trust orientations/levels depending on the type of distribution channel they use: trust related to labeling and certification.

Managers acknowledge also that OF consumers are more knowledgeable. Furthermore. Hence. Conversely. as their customers are also looking for a one-stop shopping experience. con‐ venience and price are the main drives of the organic value here. Since the clientele base is smaller than in chain stores. when they show them around. e. This. but they also add a new emerging and fast growing trend: local foods. price-skimming strategies. Further. What is interesting though is that managers do not see any difference between consumers with regards to their trust level. Lastly.158 Organic Farming and Food Production egies. For instance. some said that more consumers want to buy local even if it is not organic. to open your farm and have it open for your customers so they can come and see”. shelf-space and shelf life. this is a guarantee for quality and counterbalances the lack of brand ef‐ fect. consumers trust the store hence they trust the manager. It is important to note that even if brands are crucial to position the store offering. This val‐ ue offsets price sensitivity and the need for branding. Specialty stores managers observe that consumers trust labels. i. obviously. product label and certif‐ ication label. deepens the divide between the market segments. such as wholesalers. The discussion revolved around several aspects of “local foods”. managers argue that consumers buying in their store are knowledgeable and ask about specific product attributes when buying organic. Most organic producers and farmers’ markets managers acknowledged that consumers trust certification. retail chain managers are using conventional marketing strat‐ egies to increase their OF market share. reiterate the importance of labeling and pric‐ ing. especially knowing that not all producers are certified. which is very important to stay afloat and in business. . “I would guess trust because the consumer is trusting me as a store owner”. brands are not used to increase trust in this market. Therefore. managers are more approachable and they know some of their customers by name. This is important. They say that when consumers approach them to buy organic foods. consumers start building a trust relationship that acts as a certification seal. thus they are able to recognize and also to evaluate the different certif‐ ication labels. “the fact that the product is organic is less important than the fact that it is direct selling”. the organic value marketed in small grocery stores is mainly based on the relationship with the manager. Lastly. brand name and country of origin to a passive role. the store reputation and also on the product/certifica‐ tion label. branding is not important. they look for certification la‐ bels. This enhances the trust rela‐ tionship between the store and the consumers. Some relate it to organics saying that there is a clear difference between what they called “industrial organic” – sold through long chan‐ nels – and “local organic” – sold through short channels. . Hence. as well as product differentiation are used to penetrate this fast growing mar‐ ket segment. labeling is important as a source of information. the organic value is based on the production methods. Managers’ strategies are mainly targeted towards store loyalty. The value offered in this channel is based on the width and depth of the prod‐ uct lines. “I think that’s part of the trust. and also on the traceability of organic foods via certification labels. From a strategic standpoint. This relegates other product attributes such as certification. when producers discuss the production methods with them. other distributors. However. As for retail chains.

and show people what it is supposed to achieve. Labeling – product labeling and certification labeling plays a key role to inform consumers and strengthen trust whereas brands do not add to the level of trust in OF whatever the type of distribution channel. the store reputation and also on the product/certification label. we can confidently associate pull strategies to short channels while push strategies are associated to long channels.5. if it says organic on my bins. their customers mainly buy organic for health reasons. According to the retail chain managers. production methods.Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values http://dx. 5772/52445 159 To recapitulate. Consumer education can be seen from different angles: mass communication as part of a push strategy or providing information/building aware‐ ness as part of a pull strategy. These strategies are related to what has been said above re‐ garding channel length. there are several market clusters based on distinct trust orientations and dis‐ tinct organic values. “If the government puts out some information. and I am in turn trusting the company that I am buying it from“. Results are presented by type of distribution channel in Table 2. Hence.quali‐ ty is not a key determinant to increase trust. There is a lot of competition in the market and one way to differentiate the offering is to charge the lowest price to consumers. While pricing accuracy increases trust . 6. this has to be nuanced. Small grocery stores managers believe that trust should be increased if competition is to in‐ crease. retail chain managers suggest that price plays an impor‐ tant role in increasing consumers’ trust. It is clear that the common denominator to all dis‐ tributors as well as certifiers and experts is consumers’ education. Long channels rely on standardized organic values such as certification and pricing while short channels rely on product traceability. From a long channel perspective. Consumers rely on various cues to build their trust in the OF products offered in all distribution channels. local foods and local or‐ ganic foods represent serious new trends in the industry.doi. then that would increase the trust. made it more available to the public. Distribution strategies to increase trust The interviews aimed also at uncovering the distributors strategies used to increase trust to‐ wards organic food products and to address consumers’ concerns. The organic value marketed in this channel is mainly based on the relationship with the manager. as well as the store/manager loyalty/reputation. Hence.2. Trust orientations depend also on the channel length. “the consumer is trusting me as a store owner. a price that re‐ flects the organic value of what organic means to these consumers. the involvement of the store managers/owner is more important than in retail chains. Last. They also argue that consumers are making smarter food choices but not all con‐ . It is important to note that all interviews have been conducted with independent storeowners. One need to keep in mind that consumers shopping from these points of sale are not very knowledgeable about organics nor they buy organic for principle oriented reasons. but they also are price conscious. what organic actually meant. and what it’s not”. They unanimously state that consumers’ education is key to increase loyalty and trust. Consumers associate quality with the store rep‐ utation and their relationship with the store manager.if price reflects the value of OF products sold in these store .org/10. While almost all interviewees emphasize that education is a prerequisite to stabilize the demand and in‐ crease trust.

Rather. the distribution strategies used to increase trust are mainly information driven. . Hence. these are pull strategies. Hence. This is related – again – to the struc‐ ture of the trust relationship. Sustainability as a differentiation strategy as well as a trust enhancing strategy is not important in Canada yet. As stated previously. the producer/farmer. We have to keep in mind that most of these producers sell at farms gate and at the farmers mar‐ ket. taste and environmental reasons. and pricing. One could draw the parallel with green products. i. It is interesting to note that some distributors do not trust certifi‐ cation. This offsets the price sensitivity effects. Education means information about the products and traceability. low sales volumes. “conventional or‐ ganic”. This is a clear indication that some of these consumers are very con‐ scientious. the value offered in this channel is based on the width and depth of the product lines.6. However. as it may be a condition to ac‐ cess the market. the or‐ ganic food distribution system should factor in sustainability. they focus their activity on building long-term relationship with their clientele to increase their market base. education is the key factor to increase trust. as now recyclable packaging is the industry norm. Hence. “I like supporting our local economy to that extent”. other distributors and experts were skeptical about sustainability and said that for now it does not add any value to the current market and it is not a differentiation strategy. education is crucial to keep current consumers and attract new ones. those who produce organic because of health and environmental reasons. and those who do it because of market reasons (profit driven). keeping in mind that the organic value offered in these channels is based on the production methods. Hence. and “local organic”. Consumers expect that the quality is there and that the products are certified. they think that organic should be local and sustainable. It is also important to note that there are two main types of pro‐ ducers.160 Organic Farming and Food Production sumers are knowledgeable about organics. the perception of trust may dif‐ fer depending on the size of the farm operations. costs and margins are higher than in conventional channels. and also on the traceability of organic foods via certification la‐ bels. This is also seen in the arguments put forward by the managers when asked about the reason why their customers buy organic. Most of these producers use direct channels and in most cases. They also supply some grocery stores or specialty stores. and of course the most impor‐ tant element is “knowing the producer”. Hence. Conversely. trust is increased by providing informa‐ tion about the product. most distributors said that in the future. It is because of the type of store (specialty store) that expecta‐ tions are different. especially when it comes to supporting the local economy and the farmers. 6. they have small-scale operations. As far as specialty stores go. they mainly buy organic for heath. Producers and farmers markets managers have the simplest distribution strategy. e. . Sustainability Distributors as well as experts discussed what they call “industrial organic”. Hence. This is the only way to sustain the production opera‐ tions as producers cannot offset the cost increase in their channel.

a 2-prong design has been used along with a conceptual model of the ex‐ isting organic processing and distribution structure. Discussion This study attempts to provide readers with an overview of the structure and function of the market for organic food products in Canada based on the most current information availa‐ ble. 5772/52445 161 7.doi. OF Market Model Findings show that the organic market is the fastest growing sector in the food industry with double-digit market growth rates. Due to the difficulties inherent to the study of a relatively new market which includes play‐ ers ranging from the private and not-for-profit to government and commercial/industrial. Further. industry and government reports. As can be seen in Figure 3 the production-market model takes into account the production/supply dynamics as well as the market dynamics. In an attempt to produce a comprehensive picture. to fill in the information gaps. Figure 3.Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values http://dx. academic papers. articles and personal communications have been reviewed for information on the Organic Food market remains partially incomplete. Although organic agriculture is now going main‐ . They are presented as a way to describe how the market has evolved.

large volumes of organic im‐ ports. For consumers purchasing from producers and farmers markets. but it is also distribution based. quali‐ ty. Conversely. are used to balance the undersupply. Consumers purchasing in specialty stores trust the store itself. Hence. Because of the differences in these trust dimensions and based on consumers’ specific interests and knowledge. These channels serve consumers having a princi‐ ple-oriented life style. All players from the supply side also mention an increasing diversification of OF products and distribution channels. Another issue with organic foods as with any food in the value chain is the multiple dimensions attached to organic products. brands. there is a clear differentiation between two distinct distribution perspectives: long channels versus short size channels. Hence. Not only it is production based. product labels. it is clear that the OF industry is slowly integrating new product lines. provid‐ ing standard information for all OF consumers may not be the best communication strategy. these are customers that buy organic mainly for health reasons. and taste. However. For consumers buying from supermarkets. but price is not a concern. communication on the products quality and traceability. Their level of knowledge as well as their motivation to consume organic products seems to differ depending on the point of sale they mostly use. demand remains concentrated in Europe and North America. coming in from other regions. advices and in‐ formation provided by store managers and sales persons (and store reputation) could in‐ crease consumers’ trust in OF. organic la‐ bels are mainly what they trust. the products’ traceability (transparency of the supply chain) and organic labels they know. . traceability is the main element of trust. and/or store reputation. For most suppliers. They offer an organic value targeted toward a certain consumer pro‐ file. Further. which is addressed through a trustful rela‐ tionship established between the producer and the consumer. consum‐ ers are in general knowledgeable and are looking for authentic and healthy products. thus the OF purchasing framework is different than for conventional products. This is clearly different from results presented by [30] showing that OF consumers buying in supermarkets mainly rely on organic labels as well as brands. It is also obvious that the supply is not located where the demand is. leading to a lack of market standardi‐ zation. Long channels strategies are conven‐ ience and price driven. advice. It is based on consumers trust orientations. In fact. Ultimately this discussion converges towards store choice and store positioning. The organic market is also segregated by the entry of large commercial/industrial supply chains and the lack of existing small-scale infrastructure. Suppliers provided also their perception on several organic consumers’ characteristics that are in direct relation with the type of distribution channel used. not brands. short channels are production method driven. the marketing of organic foods is not at maturity yet. tracea‐ bility. thus the environment and the support of the local economy are the main drives of this market demand along with health reasons. distributors link consumers’ trust in OF to different factors: organic labels. In addition. Overall. These trends are directly dependent on the product life cycle [6]. the sales per‐ son advice. This shows the current divide in the organic food supply and demand.162 Organic Farming and Food Production stream. In other words. these two regions are not self-sufficient because production is not meeting demand. The main prob‐ lem for producers and growers is not with respect to demand for organic products but being able to supply that demand. Or‐ ganic foods are value-based products.

. traceability. The results also provide an insight into the structure of the organic food industry and the determinants of consumers’ trust. create trust. According to [18]. consumers using standards channels of distribution – or long channels . g. and foster confidence. trust related to the channel of distribu‐ tion. It is a commitment from producers/farmers to work with certain standards of production. certification labels – assumed to play a central role . Consumers are becoming more sophisticated in their purchasing decisions of OF. 5772/52445 163 consumers adopting short channels (producers/farmers market and specialty stores) are clearly looking for proximity with the producer. as some consumers do not know which one(s) to trust.Production and Distribution of Organic Foods: Assessing the Added Values http://dx. fresh products and quality. understanding and credibility in order to do so. and local organic.doi. there are 80 countries using national standard of certification.are looking for convenience. Conclusion Consumers’ interest in organic food has exhibited continued growth for the past two deca‐ des. and has also led to the creation of standards and regulations to guide the OF industry. Lastly. and supply continuity. This some‐ how induces some confusion. Several organic labels are now present on the Canadian market. This segment shows a clear interest for the im‐ pacts of the production methods on health and on the environment. As mentioned by experts. This study has also some limitation. In fact. The OF industry and all its stakeholders will have to elaborate strategic responses to these opportunities and chal‐ lenges that are in direct link with the supply level and the distribution structure. certification and labeling systems serve as tools to enhance distribution and market development. 8. and companies are focusing on supply chain management in order to ensure high quality. industrial organic. healthy products and com‐ petitive prices. as results cannot be generalized. Therefore. There‐ fore. certifiers and distribu‐ tors. This research is exploratory and highlights the need to carry out quantitative and conclusive studies in order to generate not only conceptual clarifications but also answers regarding the Canadian or‐ ganic food industry. there are different levels of trust according to the channel mem‐ bers: trust related to the labeling and and a better un‐ derstanding of the organic farming process. Conversely. This will in turn help to address implications of the consumer food con‐ sumption behavior for management and public policies. But the OF industry also faces some other challenges: (i) maintaining and increasing consumers’ trust in the OF products and the OF industry in gen‐ eral. and trust of the producer. organic labels can be seen as an important source of trust. These consumers also seem to be confused between organic and natural products. there is a sub-segment in this target market that clearly differentiates between local food. fair trade products and local products).do not seem to have achieved that position in the OF consumers’ decision-making process yet: they need to gain awareness. and (ii) facing new and fierce competition from market intermediaries and other types of “sustainable” products (e. which has attracted entrepreneurs and corporations seeing a big potential for this in‐ dustry. These trust dimensions are direct consequences of the perceived added value to organic food provided by the producers.

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Section 3 Alternative Feed .


such as prickly pear cactus. when used. The spineless cactus is an important alternative for farmers due to its high productivity po‐ tential [2] and considerable survival and propagation capacity under conditions of little rain and high temperatures [3. Dairy farming has emerged as one of the few options in semi-arid regions. a succession of drought years is not a rare occurrence in semi-arid regions[1].org/10. .4]. distribution. which permits unrestricted use. Roughage supplementation. licensee InTech. According to [6]. scarcity. a crop that is widespread in the These properties have justified the use of the spineless cactus in this region to nearly 450 g/kg of the dry matter of the total diet.0). Populations in these areas are predominantly rural. Rubem Ramos Rocha Filho.. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons. Native vegetation is used on a smaller scale and lends a number of seasonal attributes to the production in this region. The spineless cactus can be successfully introduced into a diet due to its efficient water use [5].doi. where forage grown in pastures is the predominant source of feed for the herds. © 2012 Ferreira et al. and the primary occupations of the workforce are in the agricultural sector. According to [2]. consists of local fodder. forage production largely occurs during the rainy season. and reproduction in any medium. provided the original work is properly cited. low frequency. The combination of adverse envi‐ ronmental conditions and economic activity that is largely dependent on nature results in productive systems that are extremely vulnerable to unfavorable weather conditions. with or without concentrate supplements. particularly in northeastern Brazil. Safira Valença Bispo. and limited amount of rain or a poor distribution of rain dur‐ ing the winter period. Introduction The primary characteristic of semi-arid regions is frequent drought. which can be defined as a lack. Stela Antas Urbano and Cleber Thiago Ferreira Costa Additional information is available at the end of the chapter http://dx. therefore. 77 g/kg of crude protein (CP) and 278 g/kg of neutral detergent fiber (NDF).5772/53294 1.Chapter 8 The Use of Cactus as Forage for Dairy Cows in Semi-Arid Regions of Brazil Marcelo de Andrade Ferreira. the spineless cactus is composed of 101 g/kg of dry matter (DM).

04 ± 4.53 3.61 4. Chemical-bromatological composition of cactus As shown in Table 1. In contrast. The crude protein in the spineless cactus varies depending on the species. Table 1.37 28. 81.63 8. 2.170 Organic Farming and Food Production In this context.10 26.62 13.60 18. ADF = Acid Detergent Fiber.55 4.72 7.60 25.79 ± 5.7%).17%).07%).69 ± 2.69 16.00 14. neutral detergent fiber (NDF. 18.79 17.40 ADF1 ----20.50 19.02 83.81 ± 1.20 5. 26. cactus represents an extremely important feed source: it is well-adapted to the edaphic and climatic conditions of the region. DM = Dry Matter.08 10.09 6. MM = Mineral Matter.40 12. non-fibrous carbohydrates (NFC. The large amount of moisture found in the spineless cactus is in agreement with other reports [14.93 55.60 17.18]. and time of year [7]. 11. age of the cladodes. and acid detergent fiber (ADF. Chemical-bromatological composition of cactus Regardless of the genus.40 9.56 12.21 7. The literature reports a low crude protein content for .20 6. the chemical-bromatological composition of cactus varies according to the species.40 10.60 16.10 73.34 5.55 ± 8.40 6.88 17. and it is frequently used in dairy cattle feed.17 53.17. which suffer from a lack of available water for most of the year [16.10 75.93 16.60 77.79 50.45 5.00 NDF1 ----26.59 7. NFC = non-fibrous carbohydrates. cactus exhibits low levels of dry matter (DM.80 CP1 4.24 14.56%).16%). cactus has high levels of total carbohydrates (TCH.21 2.09 27.05 23.9%).40 TCH1 ----87.13%). and mineral matter (12.17 35.63 71. the fertilization of the soil and the cultivation practices. notably during periods of prolonged drought. Genus Opuntia (Redonda) Opuntia (gigante) Opuntia (Redonda) Nopalea (miúda) Opuntia (gigante) Opuntia (gigante) Opuntia (gigante) Nopalea (miúda) Opuntia (gigante) Opuntia (gigante) Nopalea (miúda) Opuntia (IPA-20) DM (%) 10. CP = Crude Protein.66 21.90 28.14 4.85 ± 3. crude protein (CP.96 86. 58.70 14.00 13. 4.93 13.23 ---MM1 ----6.12 ± 5.10 Authors [8] [7] [7] [7] [9] [10] [11] [11] [12] [13] [13] [13] 1 % at Dry Matter.32 87.15].77 78.10 NFC1 ----61.98 10. TCH = Total Carbohydrates. NDF = Neutral Detergent Fiber. This finding is very relevant to the arid and semi-arid regions in Northeast‐ ern Brazil.

doi. Palma miúda (Nopalea cochenillifera Salm-Dyck) and Palma redonda (Opuntia ficus-índica – Mill). Palma Miúda – Nopalea cochenillifera Salm Dyck Figure 2. Figure 1.The Use of Cactus as Forage for Dairy Cows in Semi-Arid Regions of Brazil http://dx. The cultivars most used are: Palma gigante (Opuntia ficus-índica – Mill). the spineless cactus is an excellent replacement for a portion of poor fodder. 2 and 3 respectively.5772/53294 171 the spineless Due to this low protein content and the high content of non-fibrous car‐ bohydrates. where are illustrat‐ ed in Figures 1. Palma Gigante – Opuntia ficus-índica Mill .

18 0. [21] reported a calcium/phospho‐ rus ratio that ranged from 8:1 to 11:3 and mean calcium and phosphorus contents ranging from 20 to 95 g/kg DM and 2.172 Organic Farming and Food Production Figure 3. as well as limit microbial growth and the digestibility of differ‐ ent nutrients [19].4: 1 to 22. the lower value may possibly be due to the characteristics of the semi-arid soil in which the cactus was grown. depending on the age of the spineless cactus and the type of soil.7 P 0.11 1. However.5:1.4 g/kg DM.1 Genus Opuntia (gigante) Opuntia (gigante) Opuntia (gigante) Opuntia (gigante) Opuntia (gigante) Opuntia (gigante) Nopalea (miúda) Nopalea (miúda) Table 2.3 1.35 2.4 to 8.37 2.85 1.1 5.5 0. in these studies.87 2. potassium.36 0. Mineral content of cactus Authors [22] [7] [23] [12] [24] [13] [13] [24] . and magnesium in cactus (Table 2) may reduce the absorption of these minerals.0 2. As with the majority of tropical forages.16 0.25 K 2.13 0. Palma Redonda – Opuntia ficus-índica .5 Mg 0.Mill The high levels of calcium. The calcium/phosphorus ratio ranged from 3. respectively. where phosphorus levels are very low. Minerals (% of DM) Ca 2.58 2.78 4.12 0.6 0.7 2. the amounts of phosphorous in cactus are considered low and insufficient for the needs of animals [20]. the phosphorus level was found to be 27 g/kg DM (Table 1).0 2.

Using these values. the feed preparation and processing. 75.57 50.4%.56 49. such as the composition of the diet. A number of factors influence this process.94 59. metabolizable. Fiber is fundamental to the maintenance of optimal conditions in the rumen because it alters the proportions of volatile fatty acids (VFAs).11 52. the fodder maturity and the temperature of the surrounding en‐ vironment. There are also equations for estimating the energy value of feeds. Table 3 lists the TDN content of cactus and other commonly used roughages in dairy cattle feed. An excessive reduction in the fiber lev‐ els in the diet of ruminants can have a negative effect on the total digestibility of the feed. in addition to factors that are dependent upon the animals and their nutritional status.73 61. The rumen degradability for several forages is listed in Table 4. with the round.5772/53294 173 3.The Use of Cactus as Forage for Dairy Cows in Semi-Arid Regions of Brazil http://dx. stimulates mastication and maintains the pH at adequate levels for microbial activity [31].07 - Authors [26] [12] [27] [26] [12] [28] [28] [28] [28] Estimated from a digestibility assessment Table 3. Total digestible nutrient (TDN) content of various roughages Digestion is defined as the process of converting macromolecules from food into simpler compounds that can be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract [29]. These data indicate that . such as those proposed by the [25].91 63. The TDN content in cactus is higher than in any of the other roughages listed.13 Cactus is a highly digestible roughage. which estimate the total digestible nutrients (TDN) for mainte‐ nance by means of laboratory chemical analysis. especially the energy density of the feed [30]. Energy content and digestibility of cactus Measuring nutrient digestibility is the primary method for assessing the energy value of feeds.0%. and net energy can be estimated.59 60. giant. and small cultivars exhibiting in vitro DM digestibility coefficients of 74. and 77. the concentrations of digestible. any associative effects. Feed Cactus Cactus Cactus Tifton hay Sorghum silage Corn silage Elephant grass Cane (1% urea) Coastcross grass hay 1 TDN1 (% of DM) 64.24 TDNNRC(2001) (% of DM) 65.33 59.4%. The main dif‐ ference between cactus and other forages is the degradability of the nutrients in the rumen [32]. respectively.doi.

and NDF observed for three varieties of cactus.0 604 109 891 5. and nutrient absorption by the animal. Furthermore. the highest rate of degradation for the fraction that is water-insoluble yet potentially degradable. are highly de‐ gradable.174 Organic Farming and Food Production among the forages studied. Considering a rate of passage of 5%/hour.9 592 128 872 6. This difference may be due to the high con‐ tent of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) found in cactus.3 603 Crude protein (CP) a (g/kg of CP) b (g/kg of CP) kd (%/h) ED (g/kg of CP) 1 121 884 6. and the great‐ est potential and effective degradabilities. [33] similarly observed higher in vivo and in vitro digestibility values for cactus compared to grass hay and alfalfa hay. Rumen degradation parameters (a. b = water-insoluble yet po‐ tentially degradable fraction. the effective DM degradability values for the evaluated varieties of cactus are greater than those for other forages.1 585 81 882 7. cactus has the largest water-soluble fraction. kd = rate of degradation of the b fraction Table 4. High rumen degradability is as‐ sociated with maximal rumen fermentation capacity and increases in the following: microbial protein synthesis. b.5 590 41 872 8. Table 4 lists the rumen degradability parameters of the DM. Variety Giant Small IPA-20 Item Dry matter (DM) a (g/kg of DM) b (g/kg of DM) kd (%/h) ED (g/kg of DM) 1 45 908 7. and kd) and effective degradability (ED) for three varieties of cactus The data indicate that the different cactus components. . a = water-soluble fraction. particularly the DM.8 392 50 698 5.4 396 Adapted from [1]. CP.4 398 49 703 4.2 602 Neutral detergent fiber (NDF) a (g/kg of NDF) b (g/kg of NDF) Kd (%/h) ED (g/kg of NDF) 1 1 56 668 5. volatile fatty acid production.

39]. which affect the digestion rate. and large quantities may be voluntarily consumed. such as the fol‐ lowing: rumination. and re‐ duced milk fat content were not observed. the time elapsed for the reduction of particle size and the passage of the di‐ gested food. the NDF and NFC contents were within the limit recom‐ . and maintenance of the correct content of milk fat [38]. which include herd behavior. An adequate level of fiber is necessary in the diet of ruminants. Diarrhea. including diarrhea. particularly dairy cattle. The [25] has recommended that diets for lactating cows contain at least 25% NDF in the total DM and that 19% of the DM components be from roughage with high effectiveness. NDF. ruminal motility. and CP contents of cactus are insufficient for adequate animal performance. reduced DM consumption. homogenization of the rumen content. and these values should be taken into consideration when cactus is used in ruminant feed. [36] found that crossbred cows that produced approximately 15 kg of milk per day and received diets with 50% cactus drank almost no water. the NDF concentration and the diet composition. In light of these observations. environmental factors and stress [34]. [6] previously emphasized the need to combine cactus with other roughages because cactus alone may increase the rate of passage through the digestive system and cause diarrhea. As indicated above. The use of cactus in the diet of dairy cattle The regulation of the dry matter intake (DMI) is complex and is influenced by physical limi‐ tations and physiological and psychogenic The NFC con‐ tents are between 36% and 44%. The physical factors include distention (a sensation of being full). The physiological factors include the control of hunger and satiation by the hy‐ pothalamic region of the brain and psychogenic factors. Similarly.doi. weight loss. especially in lactating cows [8. the combination of cactus with other roughages in dairy cattle diets was assessed (Table 5). Moreover.5772/53294 175 4. changes in DM consumption. salivary secretion (which helps stabilize the rumen pH in addition to providing more phosphorous for microbial fermentation). Cactus exhibits high palatability [35]. diets formulated with large proportions of cactus roughage typically have a high degree of moisture. the [25] indicates a presumed negative correlation between the moisture and the DMI. Fi‐ ber is required for normal functioning of the rumen and associated activities. and weight loss. it should be noted that in all of the studies. Due to the low DM content of cactus. Higher NFC values or lower NDF values may cause changes in the rumen fermentation pattern and a corresponding decrease in nutrient digestibility and milk fat content. decreased milk fat content.The Use of Cactus as Forage for Dairy Cows in Semi-Arid Regions of Brazil http://dx. cactus has low NDF and high NFC contents. [37] observed a complete lack of water consumption by dairy heifers fed diets with 64% cactus. Al‐ though cactus may be an excellent source of NFC (an important source of energy for rumi‐ nants). which reflects the NDF content in the diet and the propor‐ tion of NDF from roughage. Indiscriminate use of cactus as roughage has been found to cause several problems. With regard to the feed composition. the low DM. feed palatability. which may be favorable in regions where water is scarce during certain seasons.

50 42.5% of the live weight of the animals. [43] substituted up to 75% of ground corn with cactus meal in a digestibility trial for cows and found no changes in the energy contents of the diets.6 16. the need to use it in monogastric animal diets.00 3.81 46. and the de‐ mand for it in regions where it is not produced.2 25.48 40.39 35.176 Organic Farming and Food Production mended by the [25] for maintaining normal rumen conditions.66 50.39 42.80 17.6 29. elephant grass hay (EGH).05 24.42 36. Tifton grass hay (TGH). All of these considerations can be summarized as a single objective: the elimination of such problems as diarrhea. sorghum silage (SS).46 37. sunflower silage (SuS).00 34.26 41.1.07 33.3 43. Cactus as a substitute for feed concentrate The increasing cost of corn kernels reflects the following factors: its high value as a food product for human consumption.00 39. However.31 22.8 9. Combination of cactus with other roughages When other roughages are combined with cactus.63 NFC % 35. The authors provided evi‐ dence for the viability of low-cost feeds containing cactus and other roughages and demonstrated that milk production levels were similar to those obtained with more expen‐ sive feeds.47 43. Guandu hay (GH) Table 5.7 10.33 37.50 37.00 41.33 22.60 33.80 28. which are most often the result of an inefficient combination of feeds in cactus-based diets. 4.00 34.35 27.38 31.65 60.64 NDF % 40. linear .00 22.30 35. and weight loss.71 11.98 24.4 29.00 49.7 0.79 Concentrate % 23. Roughage SS SB SS TGH EGH SB SS SS SuS GH MP 13.34 43.91 36. low DM consumption.81 62. It should be noted that consump‐ tion was restricted to 2.00 58.9 13.0 55.85 Cactus % Roughage % 38. notably urea.63 33.2 25.6 17.5 17.45 36. sugarcane bagasse (SB). when cactus meal replaced 100% of the ground corn in the diets of growing sheep fed ad libitum [44].16 [42] [22] [41] Reference [23] [40] Milk production (MP). The high NFC content of cactus has sparked interest in it as a substitute for energy concentrates and also in combination with non-pro‐ tein nitrogen (NPN) sources.00 25.29 0.90 40. The amount of cactus incorporated into diets rich in NDF and poor in NFC can be much greater than in diets with a greater level of concentrated feeds. the balance between fibrous and non-fi‐ brous carbohydrates in the diet should be considered alongside financial restrictions.00 34.

An interest‐ ing finding of these studies was the minimal effect on milk production when corn was sub‐ stituted with cactus in contrast to the changes in milk production that were observed when soybean meal was substituted with cactus.50 36.68 33. In general. Simi‐ larly.94 37. and 16 days) for giant cactus on dairy cattle performance. this particular application of cactus is economically advantageous.The Use of Cactus as Forage for Dairy Cows in Semi-Arid Regions of Brazil http://dx. The most important observation was that the complete or partial substitution of concen‐ trates with cactus lowered feed costs due to the reduced use of concentrates.00 67. to minimize costs associated with harvest and transportation.77 36.00 45.15 14.44 31.13 40. Storage.31 13.58 1.85 19. did not observe any effects on the composition of the cactus. These findings indicate that greater quantities of cactus can be harvested at a single time.03 14.00 9. concentrate consumption (CC) Table 6.30 Reference [12] [45] [46] [47] Milk production corrected for 4% fat (MPCF).51 43. regardless of the concentrate used with urea.40 1. This typi‐ cally occurs on a daily basis. preparation methods.50 4. the cactus is manually harvested and transported by horses.92 15.19 19.36 17.42 27.12 0.28 15.00 0.06 30.98 34. although DM consumption was unaffected. . studying the effects of different storage periods (0. there were no apparent losses in the DM and CP of cactus stored for up to 16 days [49]. regardless of whether it will be used immediately.88 0.00 51.00 37.37 9. The total substitution of corn with fresh cactus and the partial substitution of soybean meal with fresh cactus and urea were studied in the diets of lactating cows (Table 6).00 1.28 36.80 57. DM consump‐ tion.2.00 6. which results in increased production costs.90 14.00 30.20 1.02 34. Because there may be ways to compensate for the changes in milk production. 8.69 0.00 3.00 0.72 39. Cactus as a substitute for feed concentrate in the diets of lactating cows 4.64 39. MPCF Cactus % Roughage % 19.00 0.12 31.20 37.39 0. [48].85 30.00 60.89 1.00 16.30 7.83 19.66 11.00 41. horse-drawn carts.70 1.10 3.40 30.00 21.70 34.27 13.doi.00 Corn % Soybean % Urea % NDF % NFC % CC kg 14. reductions were observed in milk pro‐ duction when urea was included in the diets of lactating cows. or tractors.30 0.87 15.00 50. and administration of the diet In the majority of farms that use cactus as a feed resource for dairy cattle.63 36.00 6.57 37.95 14. and milk production by lactating cows in response to different storage periods.5772/53294 177 reductions in the weight gain of the animals and in the TDN content of the diets were ob‐ served.04 8.

Figure 4. When the feeds are supplied separately in this manner. These approaches also contribute to the supply of the diet. especially when the ingredients were provided sepa‐ rately. In such cases. which led to a reduced amount of effective fiber along with a decrease in rumination and chewing. It is important to stress that rough‐ age rich in NFC. especially when more than one type of roughage is consumed. may cause a number of rumen disorders when provided separately and in large amounts. when used. As a result. sorghum silage. which should provide an ade‐ quate balance of nutrients. Total mixed ration containing spineless cactus [50] previously reported that diets consisting of cactus. such as cactus. As a result. making it difficult to calculate the average individual consump‐ tion and to characterize the diet ingested by the animal. The concentrate. should be offered at the time of milking. the use of the complete ration or TMR (Figure 4) has become a common practice for regulating the composition of the diet. and concentrate should be provided in the form of a complete mixture (Table 8). This difficulty in measuring is due to a preference for certain feeds. . the use of the complete ration or TMR (total mixed ration) has become a common practice for regulating the composition of the diet [29]. it is not always possible to obtain an accurate estimate of the real intake of these feeds. The authors observed that the proportion of ingredients in the diet actually consumed was different than that of the diet offered.178 Organic Farming and Food Production The most common approach to administering cactus to dairy cattle is mincing it in the trough without mixing it with any other roughage. animals consumed smaller amounts of sorghum silage.

The NDF and NFC contents in the diet were 30. which is one of the intended goals of providing the diet as a complete mixture. Thus. which would have subsequent effects on rumen conditions [51]. the balance of structural and non-structural carbohydrates is important for animal health and function along with nutrient utilization.22%.doi. A better utilization of energy for milk production was also observed when using a complete mixture feeding strategy. Dairy cows eating total mixed ration. The difference between the two types of processing . In addition to the supply strategy. 8 and 9). These values are notably close to the limits recommended by the [25] for maintaining rumen health and milk fat. rather than supplying the ingredients sep‐ arately (Figure 5) Figure rather than supplying the ingredi‐ ents separately [53]. another aspect that warrants attention is the way in which the cactus is processed (Figure 6.3% and 39. 7. the cactus is minced with a knife or with specific forage equipment.The Use of Cactus as Forage for Dairy Cows in Semi-Arid Regions of Brazil http://dx. According to [52].5772/53294 179 Changes in the amount of milk fat indicated that the production of saliva was probably also decreased. A better utilization of energy for milk production was also ob‐ served when using a complete mixture feeding strategy. respectively. any changes in the proportion of feed components could significantly alter these val‐ ues and the nutritional balance of the feed supplied to the animals. Generally.

As a result. When cactus was combined with sugarcane bagasse and soybean meal and fed to lactating cows.3 versus 15. feed selectivity is reduced.2 kg/day. Forage machine . In turn. which adheres to the other feed components. is facilitated. Animals that received cactus minced with a knife had a greater opportunity to select partic‐ ular feed components.180 Organic Farming and Food Production is that mincing with a knife does not lead to mucilage exposure. including unpalatable components such as sugarcane bagasse. respectively). re‐ spectively) [54]. which resulted in an imbalance of structural and non-structural car‐ bohydrates in the diet. and consumption of the complete feed. Figure 6. this imbalance led to a reduction in milk fat compared to animals fed cactus processed using a forage machine (36 versus 39 g/kg. higher consumption rates were observed when the cactus was passed through a forage machine compared to processing with a knife (16. while the use of forage equipment does. This result probably reflects the exposure of the mucilage.

The Use of Cactus as Forage for Dairy Cows in Semi-Arid Regions of Brazil http://dx. Spineless cactus processed in machine . The laborer doing the process Figure 8.doi.5772/53294 181 Figure

00 64. achieving this goal requires supplementation of the diets with roughage and concentrate feeds.01 4.60 27.60 0. In semi-arid regions. Cactus in the diet of heifers The establishment of an efficient rearing system. The literature on the use of cactus in the diets of growing dairy cattle is limited.80 69. is a challenge for the majority of milk producers.60 2.84 0. Spineless cactus minced with a knife 4. Cactus in the diets of growing heifers .01 30.00 30.72 0.60 30.00 30.75 0.00 64.43 [37] Reference [55] *5/8 Holstein/Gir Table 7. Breed Holstein Holstein Crossbred* Crossbred* Crossbred* Crossbred* Crossbred* Cactus % 69.00 64.182 Organic Farming and Food Production Figure 9.3. It is therefore necessary to strike a balance between calving at an early age and economic factors.60 4.80 64.02 Supplement (kg/day) Wheat meal (1) Soybean meal (1) Wheat meal (1) Soybean meal (1) Cotton meal (1) Cottonseed (1) No supplement WG (kg/day) 0.02 Bagasse % 27. there are im‐ portant economic considerations.00 4.00 4. mainly of females.02 Urea % 2. The feeding plan adopted for the heifers should allow for the weight at puberty and first mating to be reached as soon and economi‐ cally as possible. a portion of the available data is listed in Table 7.00 30.00 4.01 64.20 0. Although heifers should receive appropriate feed and manage‐ ment to reach an ideal weight for breeding and to start productive life earlier.71 1.

The Farm is about a thou‐ sand hectares of land operates a livestock complex integrated with nature. Effect of organic fertilization in the production of spineless cactus Source: [56] In the semiarid region of Brazilian there is already success stories about the example cited above. . considering a production of 175 tons of green matter (GM) per hectare per year. the value of the local cul‐ tural and it can supply the livelihood to farmers too. especially because manure is considerably to increases the green matter per Livestock and Supply – MAPA. 0 30 60 Figure 10. The property was one of the pioneers of the country. Spineless cactus in organic farming and food production Brazil has the second largest area of organic farming in the world.Cacimbinhas / AL. The spineless cactus has being great potential in organic animal production system where it has traditionally been grown with the use of organic manure. . Organic agriculture presents as a cost-effective and relevant alternative to small farmers which it can also be an important way to people from countryside and downtown have health food easily. being second only to Aus‐ tralia. The aim is to produce healthy vegetables. grains and meat. The country holds the largest consumer market for organic foods in South America since the data is based on survey means that was conducting between January and February this year by the Coordination of Agroecology of the Ministry of Agriculture. that production might be enough to feed 12 cows per hectare for about 240 days. As an example.The Use of Cactus as Forage for Dairy Cows in Semi-Arid Regions of Brazil http://dx. figure 10. where it takes al‐ most all the inputs needed to produce. as Timbaúba Farm Organic Food Ltd. providing ecological balance at the ground without harming the environment. As a social view that combination can increase the life quality of countryside’s families.5772/53294 183 5. and a cow consuming 60 kg per day of spineless cactus.doi.

In this man‐ ner. The high concentration of soluble carbohydrates in cactus facilitates the incorporation of nitrogen into microbial protein. Furthermore. In ad‐ dition to the cactus-fiber-NPN triad. Safira Valença Bispo2. primarily as an energy source. The increased fiber promotes rumen health and improves the absorption of nutrients from the diet. Information about your use ration‐ ally in ruminant diets has been obtained.On that farm the spineless cactus is one of the feeds produced to supply for herd. the protein content of cactus. Brasil .184 Organic Farming and Food Production and it was the fourth company to receive certification seal advice given by IBD in 2002. may be increased. it is possible to provide it in large quan‐ tities to ruminants. Rubem Ramos Rocha Filho1.ufrpe. and therefore must be effectively adopted. 6. Aspects such as providing complete diet and association with bulky and nitrogen sources. combining cactus with sugarcane bagasse. Conclusion The spineless cactus is presented as a forage crop vital to the sustainability of farming sys‐ tems in semi-arid regions. providing a supplementary source of amino acids (true protein) is also an important consideration. Author details Marcelo de Andrade Ferreira1. regardless of the animal category. Acknowledgements The Federal Rural University of Pernambuco which provided the facilities and animals to perform this experiments. the physiological stage and the pur‐ pose of the production 1 University Federal Rural of Pernambuco / Animal Science. The authors would also like to thank CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development) for funding the researchs. The combination of cactus and urea represents a viable option because it provides adequate energy and sufficient nitrogen for the microorganisms in the rumen. As seen. makes it possible to improve nutrient ab‐ sorption because sugarcane bagasse introduces effective fiber into the system. Brasil 2 University Federal of Paraiba / Animal Science. which has a high NDF content (of low nutritional value). which is normally insufficient for adequate animal per‐ formance. are basic premises when the use of spineless cactus. Stela Antas Urbano1 and Cleber Thiago Ferreira Costa1 *Address all correspondence to: ferreira@dz. which is the main source of metabolizable protein for the host animal.

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