Roamfree Heading (Photo: Rose Bergslid)
Roamfree Heading (Photo: Rose Bergslid)

Free-range organic livestock combining different species - ROAM-FREE

The pig is an intelligent and social animal where outdoor free-roaming can contribute to better animal welfare while fulfilling the organic principle of natural behavior for animals.

The project will investigate animal husbandry combining different species together with varied plant production to find out what impact this has on:

  • Animal health and welfare
  • Productivity
  • Feed supply
  • Biodiversity
  • Economy
  • Environment

Free range livestock combining different species

Results from farms with free-range livestock combining pigs and other species will be registered and evaluated by partners in Norway, Denmark, Romania, Italy and Slovenia. The project will for example look at farms that combine organic production of cattle, pigs and goats. This will cover a variety of climate zones with different vegetation, and diseases that are both common and different for the contries in the study. The project will also compare local, traditional solutions to the questions we are looking at in the study. As well as the economic foundation for this type of production in the countries. The results found will be applied to support more organic livestock production across Europe.

Animal health and resistance to disease

It is a common goal to reduce the use of antibiotics and anti-parasitic pharmaceuticals in agriculture to limit resistance in disease-bearing microbes. Hence special attention is directed at animal welfare and resistance to diseases. Animals that roam freely outside often experience increased exposure to infectious diseases and parasites. The project will explore preventive strategies, including the use of plants or trees that contain bioactive substances that may protect the animals from parasites when they eat these plants.

Stronger knowledge base for free-range animal husbandry in organic farming

We expect that the project will reveal both benefits and challenges for a number of mixed production systems for free-range livestock. And form a stronger knowledge base for improving existing organic farming systems. In co-operation with pig producers, efforts will made to develop innovative concepts that can help facilitate more extensive use of free-range livestock combining different species in organic pig production. We will also investigate how more diverse livestock farming affects biological diversity. This will be done by looking at insect species and populations, and determining diversity through genetic analysis

Project owner:University of Copenhagen
Project coordinator: Stig Milan Thamsborg, University of Copenhagen
Project staff NORSØK:Atle Wibe
Project partners: University of Copenhagen, Aarhus Univeristy, Denmark, CREA Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, University of Ljubljana, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Romania, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and Ruralis - Institute for Rural and Reginonal research
Funding:ERA-NET CORE Organic
Funding: The Norwegian Research Council
Project period:

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