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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Low input dairy systems: between traditions and innovations

INRA Prod Anim 27(2) 123-134


1 INRA, UMR1348 PEGASE, F-35590 Saint Gilles, France
2 Agrocampus Ouest, UMR1348 PEGASE, F-35000 Rennes, France
3 INRA, UR0055 ASTER, F-88500 Mirecourt, France


After a period of stable and high milk prices and milk volume production, facilitated by the strong CAP, the French dairy sector now faces a difficult period. Global food demand is increasing and the pending EU milk quota abolition should create a positive environment and stimulate European milk production. These deregulations are also contributing to increased tension around agriculture products on the world market, reinforcing the concerns regarding the future of French milk production potential. Dairy cow breeders are concerned with the evolution of dairy systems and the current interest in diverse technical options. Low input dairy systems reduce their sensitivity to market fluctuations due to a strong link between local agronomic potential and animal demand. Reductions in the cost of production should result in increased income in those systems due to system durability. Such systems stimulate innovation through revival and adaptation of traditional technical practices. This process, already applied by some farmers, requires structural strengths to realize a long grazing season, to limit climatic stress impact through awareness and early adaptation of management, and to promote legume use and the efficient recycling of nutrients. Herd management, especially the calving pattern, and the type of cow are also necessary. If the economic and social performances of these systems are in accordance with expectations, they require knowledge and conviction due to the paradigm shift in the performance evaluation criteria of milk production systems.

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