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Development of an integrated management framework and approaches for livestock farming systems - IF0124

The ultimate aim of this research is to provide information on integrated farm management (IFM) that farmers can use to improve their contribution to biodiversity and landscape management at the same time as maintaining, or even improving, their economic sustainability.

This project aims to draw together information generated by previous and ongoing research projects, to develop guidelines and approaches for use by livestock farmers to develop IFM plans for their businesses. The livestock systems to be included in this study include cattle (beef and dairy), sheep, pigs, and poultry (broilers and layers of various species). Intensive (e.g. indoors) and extensive (outdoors/free range) systems will be incorporated, and conventional and organic farming systems will be considered. This project will summarise the actions that farmers can/should carry out as part of their farming system to ensure that the impact that they have on the environment is minimised, and that biodiversity is encouraged. Examples of the consequences of particular actions will be given, with anticipated outcomes, and various scenarios will be tested using a range of modelling techniques.

Under the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy reform in June 2003, farmers were set to receive direct subsidy payments for cross-compliance, i.e. activities that increased the environmental, animal health, and public health benefits of farming. This has encouraged many farmers to take a more holistic approach to farming and land management, because the aim of the farming system is no longer to produce food at more or less any cost. Integrated farm management systems view the farm as a whole, and encourage the use of natural resources in a sustainable way to produce a cost-effective product at the same time as safeguarding animal welfare and enhancing the biodiversity in the farm ecosystem. A number of IFM components in livestock systems need to be considered, including animal health, animal husbandry, forage and feeding systems, animal breeding policies, farm hygiene standards, and the quality of farm buildings. A good IFM system can give the farmer perspective and focus on their requirements for land and animal management, setting objectives to enable good quality livestock products to be produced with minimal environmental impact. The 'IFM wheel' is widely adopted principle that helps the farmer to focus on the issues that are important in sustaining his or her business in an environmentally sound framework at the same time as delivering a profit to enable the business to function in an ecomonically sustainable way.
1. To gather information from the literature, industry stakeholders, and other sources on integrated farm management (IFM) in the livestock sectors of the UK farming industry. By project month 18.

2. To consolidate data from all sectors of the UK livestock farming industry (cattle, sheep, dairy, pig and poultry) on integrated approaches to farm management. By project month 24.

3. To quantify, where appropriate, the potential of IFM approaches to reduce the environmental impact of livestock farming. By project month 30.

4. To generate information for use (by a third party determined by Defra, e.g. livestock levy boards) in a booklet of guidelines for farmers. By project month 36.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Development of an integrated management framework and approaches for livestock farming systems   (693k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 1, Livestock IFM review   (582k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 2, Livestock IFM matrix spreadsheet   (96k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 3, report of modelling activities for livestock IFM   (261k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 4, Farmer information   (1486k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2010

Cost: £300,026
Contractor / Funded Organisations
ADAS UK Ltd., Institute of Grassland and Environment Research (IGER), University Wales, Aberystwyth
Integrated Farming Systems              
Sustainable Farming and Food Science              
Sustainable Farming Systems