In order to avoid the succession of valuable permanent grassland areas with biodiverse common pastures in low mountain areas which predominantly feature FFH status, an interdisciplinary project was carried out which aims at further developing the value chain of organic beef production with reference to the Southern Black Forest. The entire value chain from grassland management to beef marketing at the counter was analyzed and further developed from the viewpoint of economy and environment. The results of this exploratory study show clearly that the extensive pasture areas in the Southern Black Forest with their feed supply of 16-21 kg DM/LU*day and average energy density of 8.9 MJ ME/kg DM are suitable for meat production only to a limited degree (daily weight increase is between 330 g and 482 g). However, with high producers’ prices of 5.50 Euro/kg SW and reasonable optimization of subsidies from the second pillar, sufficient farm profitability could nevertheless be achieved. This would promote the farming of the regional grassland areas and contribute to the preservation of nature. During the project, the interim results obtained aroused the motivation of all stakeholders and helped to nearly double the number of cattle produced in the organic beef value chain from 700 to 1300 and to increase the number of farmers involved by 50 % from 100 to 150, with a further upward trend. Moreover, the fattening of organic calves leads to a better eco-balance with regard to nutrient surpluses and climate protection. However, the fattening of organic calves for grassland-based beef is particularly suitable for better locations, while lower feed qualities on pastures with a high proportion of FFH areas can still be better used for suckler cows. Thus, both production systems offer a synergistic combination in terms of the establishment and further development of the value chain as well as the preservation of low-yield grassland. Economically efficient fattening of pasture-based beef could be performed in a collector stable or, as a decentralized solution, on several farms with suitable existing stables. Such a decentralized system may provide a low-cost solution; however, some improvements are necessary with regard to animal welfare. Besides production, an adapted unique marketing concept that will be well accepted by the retail trade is important for enhancing the success of the value chain of grassland beef production, with significant opportunities offered by motivated independent retailers within a framework of cooperatives. Based on these findings, other regions of Germany too have the potential to establish a similarly successful value chain for (ecological) pasture-based beef as does the Southern Black Forest. Some regions of the foothills of the Alps or of the Eifel may offer good conditions for this purpose.
|Translated title of the contribution||Ecological Pasture-based Beef Production Concept for the Protection of Low-yield Grassland in Upland Regions in Germany|
|Journal||Berichte uber Landwirtschaft|
|Number of pages||39|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2020|