Livestock vaccination drive begins in Tharparkar

Livestock and Fisheries department of the federal government of Sindh launched the PPR vaccination power in district Tharparkar nowadays. Mr Abdul Bari Pitafi, the provincial minister for farm animals and fisheries launched the campaign in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

the vaccination will assist ensure that wholesome cattle which will likely be instrumental in ensuring meals safety and sustainable livelihoods for the already drought stressed communities within the area.

Mina Dowlatchahi FAO Representative in Pakistan

The campaign is part of the reaction to the drought in Tharparkar.

The vaccination will prevent farm animals loss against Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) illness sometimes called ‘goat plague’. It is a viral illness of goats and sheep characterised by means of fever, sores in the mouth, diarrhoea, pneumonia, and on occasion demise.

Emphasizing the significance of animal health for Tharparkar, Mina` Dowlatchahi FAO Representative in Pakistan said the vaccination will assist ensure that wholesome cattle which will likely be instrumental in ensuring meals safety and sustainable livelihoods for the already drought stressed communities within the area.

Tharparkar district hosts more than 20% small ruminant of the whole province Sindh.


She also mentioned that the record Sindh Drought Need Assessment (SDNA October 2018) performed via FAO in collaboration with Natural Disaster Consortium (NDC) reveals that of all the surveyed household, 25% reported demise in their cattle, 21% in buffaloes, 53% in goats, 45% in sheep, 20% in camels 18% in donkeys, and 57% in poultry during previous six months.

Tharparkar district hosts more than 20% small ruminant of the whole province Sindh. The small ruminants are predisposed to multi-stress in the district which lead them to prone to deadly illnesses like PPR. The illness can also be avoided and eradicated thru vaccination.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr Farrukh Toirov Deputy FAO Representative in Pakistan mentioned goal groups for proposed action includes subsistence farm animals farmers, small-scale agriculture farmers and ladies headed households. The intervention will vaccinate three million small ruminants in Tharparkar and 1.2 million in Umerkot.
Drought in district Tharparkar immediately affects the growth of vegetation in addition to water resource for farm animals, which in turn ends up in lack of animal manufacturing, and cattle top mortality charges, which is an immediate threat to food safety and livelihoods.

Organic livestock Farming — Challenges, Perspectives, and Strategies to Increase Its Contribution to the Agrifood System’s Sustainability — A Review


The livestock  sector  is of great importance  for the sustainability  of rural economies and many ecosystems;  however,  it also has a high environmental  impact. Due to the growing demand for animal products, there is a need to design new livestock production systems  that allow  the combination  of food security  and sustainability.  Within this context, organic livestock may be a useful strategy to achieve such a pivotal goal. However,  there is a lack of studies that integrate the existing knowledge,  specifically in organic livestock, and integrating the main aspects implied in its practice (its externalities and challenges).  The present work aims to fill this knowledge  gap, providing strategies  and insights that will help stakeholders  and policy makers to improve  the sustainability  of both the organic sector itself and that of the whole food system.

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Keywords: Organic, cattle, livestock, sustainability,  food system

Alfredo J. Escribano

1. Introduction

There has been considerable growth in the number of organic livestock farms [1] in response to the necessity to fulfill the growing demand for animal products predicted for 2050 [2]. Furthermore, it is required to combine it with the farms’ profitability, environmental protec‐ tion, food safety, and ethical concerns. Due to this, organic livestock farms are nowadays not a despicable part of the census. However, there is no consensus about the consequences of organic livestock farming systems to the sustainability of the overall food system. This lack of convergence has its roots in the effect played by the different characteristics and contexts of the farms. Moreover, some barriers are challenging the development of the sector and shaping its future perspectives. Within this context, and in view of the lack of studies addressing the ing

sustainability of the organic livestock sector as a whole by integrating different points of view, it is very timely to conduct a thorough study of this type. Due to this, the present review was carried out, aimed at improving the knowledge about the organic livestock sector such that it will be possible to adopt a holistic view that increases our understanding of its challenges and future perspectives, with a special emphasis on the sustainability of both farms and the whole food system. This integrative knowledge and approach will help stakeholders and policy makers to make decisions, either at the farm level (implement organic farms) or making policies. Thus, they both will be able to design strategies that increase the sustainability, competitiveness, and success of organic livestock farms, looking at the sustainability of the food systems as a final and priority goal.

1.1. Socio-economic and environmental role of livestock production

Animal production systems are of great importance for the sustainability of rural economies and many ecosystems. The economic importance of livestock activity is reflected by the weight of the agricultural sector in the regional gross domestic product. For example, in rural areas located in southern Europe, cattle, swine, and small ruminants sectors billed 396.46 M € in

2010, representing 36.10% of the agricultural sector production in some regions [3].

From the social point of view, it is noteworthy that in semi-arid regions, such those in the Mediterranean basin, the extensive livestock production systems are often the main activity, and even the only source of livelihood. This dependence of the sector highlights the need to protect and enhance it, as it contributes to the creation of jobs, to the rural economy, and to the fixation of the rural population, which are vital for sustainable development in rural areas worldwide [4-5].

From a cultural perspective, the particularities of the different livestock systems are crucial for the conservation of the heritage, including breeds, landscapes, and habitats of high aesthetic and environmental value [6-7], which redounds in the economic development of the rural areas.

Regarding the environment, livestock activity involves lots of environmental benefits [8], especially when it is carried out under environmentally-friendly production systems, such as the extensive, pasture-based, low-input, and/or organic systems.

However, the livestock sector also has an important environmental impact. This sector employs 30% of the overall area not covered by ice and uses around 80% of global agricultural land. It also generates most of the greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions in the agricultural sector, accounting for 14.5% of human-induced GHGs, exceeding that from transportation [9].

Moreover, it is a major consumer and polluting water resources, contributing around 30% of N and P content of watercourses [10-13]. These data are even more striking in the case of the bovine meat sector as beef is often the food of animal origin with greater ecological impact [14-18]. Moreover, various socio-economic factors have led to either the abandonment or the intensification of the farms, which threatens the conservation of valuable agro-ecosystems.

Such environmental impact, along with the increasing demand toward animal products, makes it difficult to combine profitability, competitiveness, and environmental sustainability. Consequently, it is necessary to design and implement sustainable livestock systems globally (environmentally, socially, and economically), in which organic ones have an important role to play.

2. Objectives

The objectives of the present work is (i) to fill the existing knowledge gap with regard to the sustainability, challenges, and perspectives of the organic livestock sector, as well as regarding its contribution to the agrifood system’s sustainability. Moreover, this study is also aimed at (ii) providing strategies and insights that will help stakeholders and policy makers to improve the sustainability of both the organic livestock sector and that of the whole food system.

3. Externalities of organic livestock farming systems

To reduce the abovementioned environmental impacts, different production systems have been developed. Among them, organic livestock farms have been studied by several authors in order to assess their potential and impact on environmental [19-22] and socio-economic aspects (sustainable rural development) [23-24].

However, some results are contradictory and some papers are not conclusive, which make it difficult to generalize the advantages of the organic livestock sector at either farm level or globally. This lack of convergence in the results is due to the fact that the externalities of organic livestock farms are highly dependent on their structure, the breeds reared, as well as their management, context, and marketing strategies [23-25]. In other words, it seems that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Moreover, papers normally address specific aspects of the farms (i.e., economic, health, welfare, etc.), which does not allow an integrative picture of the situation.

In order to deal with this scenario, many points must be addressed, as [26] argued, “the concept of organic animal farming can only fulfill the criteria for sustainability if all requirements on animal health, welfare, and ecological soundness are strongly considered and controlled”. Due to this, an analysis of the aspects mentioned by these authors, along with those related to the economic and social aspects, have been included in the present work.

3.1. Social dimension: Sustainable rural economy and development

An important part of the world forms part of the so-called “rural areas”. In the case of the European Union, rural areas cover 90% of its territory, where over 23% of the European population lives in them, and another 35% lives in intermediate zones. In these areas, farming is one of the main drivers of sustainable rural development [27].

However, these areas are going through processes of depopulation that reduces the sustaina‐ bility of such areas, from the social, economic, and environmental points of view. Due to this, there is a necessity to develop strategies that allow overcoming this issue. Within these strategies, organic farming has become popular, even in the legislative environment. In fact, [28] defines organic production as “a system of farm management and food production that plays a dual societal role: on the one hand it provides food products to meet specific consumer demands; on the other hand it delivers public goods that contribute to the protection of the environment and animal welfare, as well as to the development of rural areas”.

As a consequence, several researchers have evaluated the contribution of organic livestock to sustainable rural development [29-30], of which most of them have been reviewed and discussed by [24]. Some of them have considered that organic production is an important pillar of sustainable rural development, since this production model generates more positive externalities than the conventional one in terms of conservation of agro-ecosystems, creation of jobs, farms’ profitability, workers´ income, and local economy.

In this regard, it is fair to mention that most of the benefits provided by the organic production model in relation to rural development seem to be due to both their participation in short marketing channels [31-32] and obtaining a higher price (“price premium”) for their organic products [33-34]. According to the authors cited, this premium price is necessary for organic farms profitability, especially during the years of conversion, because the farms’ incomes are often reduced and costs increased [31-32]. However, there is controversy on the relationship between the condition of being organic and short marketing channels, but in general terms, such relationship is weak [24, 35].

However, few studies addressed the potential role of organic livestock production systems (studies usually mix agriculture and livestock) towards sustainable development, despite having been proposed to be models of it [30]. Furthermore, such studies show contradictory results and did not adopt a holistic approach (social, economic, and environmentally public policies), which is really needed. Due to this, [24] summarized the studies published with regard to organic livestock sector and discussed them with the results of the case study they carried out addressing organic beef cattle farms located in southwestern Europe.

Studies dealing with this topic paid special attention to the number of jobs created, salaries paid, and the profitability of the farms. Thus, authors such as [36] found no increased presence of labor in organic livestock farms when compared with conventional holdings. On the contrary, [24] found that organic beef cattle farms (mainly those that also fattened their calves) used more labor. However, these last authors stated that this was mainly due to both the higher degree of business diversification of these farms and the fact that for many of the farmers, the farm under study was not the only source of income. Both aspects increased the necessity to hire external workforce. Moreover, [24] found that the salaries paid by the organic farms were lower than those of the conventional ones, which is contrary to the findings of the review carried out by [23]. However, these two last studies did not focus only livestock farms, such that results cannot be compared precisely.

[37] concluded that organic dairy farms may contribute more to the local economy and economic development of rural communities located in the northeast and upper midwest of the U.S. than average and similar-size conventional dairy farms. As they stated, in Vermont, organic dairy farm sales revenue would result in greater state-wide impacts of 3% in output,

39% in labor income, 33% in gross state product, and 46% in employment relative to the impacts from an equivalent level of sales revenue to conventional dairy farms. In Minnesota, these economic impacts are 4, 9, 11, and 12% greater.

Later, [24] found that organic beef cattle farms that fattened their calves performed better from the economic point of view. These authors compared these full-cycle organic farms with (i) conventional farms that scarcely fattened their calves and (ii) organic farms with no fattening period. This comparison allowed them to conclude that the differences were mainly due to the consequences that some differential factors had on overall economic performance, more than the condition of being organic. These factors were the following: most of the farms that fattened their calves were full-cycle (they were part of an association that had the organic crops, the mill, the livestock farms, the trucks, and even established contracts with supermarkets). Moreover, they all received the subsidies for organic farming (in the other organic group of farms they did not), and they sold their fattened calves at a price 25% higher than that of the conventional ones. However, as the production cycle (and the age at which calves were slaughtered) was longer, these farms showed lower economic performances when it was calculated per year.

In summary, the authors have come to the conclusion that many of the benefits provided by organic production in relation to rural development are not due to the mere fact produced under the ecological model, but to sell their products through short marketing channels [31-32] and to obtain a higher price (“price premium”) for organic products [33-34]. This is especially important during the years of conversion because farm incomes are often reduced, and its costs increased.

Moreover, the pathway followed by the products (marketing channels) has a great impact on the sustainability of the food system. Thus, transportation accounted for 17.43% of the total energy consumed by the Spanish food sector in 2000 [38]. In this sense, it is important to comment that short marketing channels (and “local” products) are commonly thought to have lower environmental impacts. However, the concentration of supply can lead to lower emissions of GHGs of short marketing channels, in which small amounts of products are transported by vehicle or fuel. In fact, [38] found that most of that 17.43% of energy consumed by transport comes from road transport due to their lower energy efficiency per load trans‐ ported.

3.2. Environmental dimension

Pasture-based and low-input livestock systems (e.g., the organic systems) are key to the ecosystems in which they are integrated as they provide with numerous benefits, such as increased carbon sequestration, improved quality of the pastures, and reduction of scrub invasion and risk of fire [5, 8, 39].

According to [28], livestock production is fundamental to the organization of agricultural production on organic holdings in so far as it provides the necessary organic matter and nutrients for cultivated land and accordingly contributes towards soil improvement and the development of sustainable agriculture. [40] completed this view arguing that organic livestock provides organic nutrients that are recycled at the farm level, allowing the production of on-farm inputs, which increases their sustainability. Similarly, [41] claimed that when cattle are introduced in environmental systems, increased efficiency and sustainability occurs. However, organic livestock farms do not always present a significant cultivated area, so that their differences with conventional farms with regard to this parameter may be few [24]. Moreover, mixed crop-livestock farms could miss out on potential economies of scale. To overcome these interactions, organic mixed crop-livestock farms could be a solution, since [42] observed that these farms exploited the diversity of herd feed resources more efficiently than the rest of the groups, which varied in both their degrees of mixing these two components and their organic/conventional status.

In relation to water resources, some authors have found that its use is more efficient in organic farms, and that water retention is increased, leading to higher resistance to drought [43]. Moreover, in these farms, land degradation is prevented and soil fertility increased [44]. These aspects are of particular interest in semi-arid areas, where water shortages often occur, and both soils and pastures are poor. Additionally, it has been shown that agrobiodiversity is greater in organic agro-ecosystems [20, 21, 45], which greatly increases the number of inter‐ actions between system components and their complexity. Therefore, their resilience is increased, which is key for their adaptation and resistance against pests, diseases, and climate change. In parallel, their higher degree of business diversification make them less vulnerable in the face of market changes [25, 44].

When looking at comparisons between organic livestock farming systems and conventional ones, several authors have shown that organic systems have a greater potential to preserve the environment, mainly with regard to biodiversity [19-21]. These positive externalities are the consequence of many factors, such as the reduced use of inputs, better nutrient recycling, less use and exploitation of non-renewable/external resources, and finally, ecotoxicity.

These aspects are of great importance, since the increasing degradation of the agricultural soils and the reduction in the supplies of fresh water are two of the most serious problems that humankind is facing. These problems pose an impediment to achieving food security, especially if one takes into account the growing population and demand for animal products. It is even more relevant in developing countries and in semi-arid areas characterized by pasture-based (low-input/pasture-based/extensive) production systems. According to several authors [46-47], organic livestock systems have the potential to contribute to the sustainability of these areas.

Due to the advantages provided by organic livestock production, it would be logical to think that this production model allows facing the two main challenges of the food system: sustain‐ ability and food security. In this sense, [48] stated that a shift to organic production will be increasingly necessary for the renewal of resources (mainly water and soil) and to secure sustainable food security. However, there is much debate in this sense [49], due to the lower

production that organic production often shows, the increased need for agricultural land for organic production, and the scarcity of organic fertilizers of good quality.

Regarding the environmental impact in terms of GHGs and energy use, extensive and low- input farms (including the organic ones) tend to be more sustainable [50-52]. Among other reasons, this is due to lower consumption of fossil fuels and energy. However, some studies conclude that emissions in organic systems may be higher than those of the conventional ones [16], because they have lower production per unit of input. In this sense, [22] showed that the product carbon footprint in dairy cow organic farms was significantly higher than that of the conventional farms [1.61±0.29 vs. 1.45±0.28kg of CO2 equivalents (CO2 eq) per kg of milk].

This divergent results are showing that the differences among studies are mainly due to the productive system under study, its context, the experimental design work, and the units and limits of the study (farm level, hectare, unit of product, food system, etc.), more than their conditions of being organic.

One of the aspects that plays a great effect on greenhouse emissions of the farms is the quality of the feed. In this sense, [53] measured the GHGs from enteric fermentation and manure on organic and conventional dairy farms in Germany in order to assess the effect of different feeding practices. In general terms, lower emissions from enteric fermentation were found when feed quality and feed intake was increased (which normally means feedstuff, instead of pastures). In general terms, results depended strongly on the calculation methodology, especially those related to enteric fermentation. Moreover, differences between the methods were particularly prominent when high amounts of fiber-rich feedstuff were used. As feed quality management on farms influences milk yield and enteric CH4 emissions, these aspects should be part of advisory concepts that aim at reducing GHG emissions in milk production.

In line with these results, [22] stated that feed demand per kilogram of milk, high grassland yield, and low forage area requirements per cow are the main factors that decrease PCF (product carbon footprints). They observed that the interaction between GHG mitigation and the farm’s profitability is key for improving efficiency and sustainability. Thus, for organic farms, a reduction of feed demand of 100 g/kg of milk resulted in a PCF reduction of 105 g of CO2 eq/kg of milk and an increase in incomes of approximately 2.1 euro cents (c)/kg of milk. For conventional farms, a decrease of feed demand of 100 g/kg of milk corresponded to a reduction in PCF of 117 g of CO2 eq/kg of milk and an increase in management incomes MI of approximately 3.1 c/kg of milk. Accordingly, farmers could achieve higher profits while reducing GHG emissions.

Regarding the environmental externalities of the different livestock species and sectors, dairy cows are those that have received more attention. [54] studied the productive, environmental and economic performances of organic and conventional suckler cattle farming systems. They found that the reduction in the use of inputs resulted in a 23% to 45% drop in NRE (non- renewable energy) consumption/ha, 5-20% of which is a drop in non-renewable energy per ton of live weight produced. The authors stated that, however, the shift to organic farming does not significantly affect gross GHG emissions per ton of live weight produced, but suggested that net GHG emissions could be lower for organic farming systems due to the

carbon sequestration in grasslands. Contrary to the results that are normally found when GHGs are measured per kg of product, the lower productivity per hectare (fewer animals reared per hectares) allowed a reduction from 26% to 34% in net GHG emissions per hectare of farm area in the study of [54].

[55] reviewed studies that compared different beef production systems using life cycle analysis (LCA). They classified such systems by three main characteristics: origin of calves (bred by a dairy cow or a suckler cow), type of production (organic or non-organic), and type of diet fed to fattening calves (roughage-based -<50% concentrates, or concentrate-based -≥50% concen‐ trates). They observed that organic farms had lowers GWP (global warming potential) and use of energy (on average 7% and 30%, respectively) than that of the non-organic systems. However, they showed higher eutrophization potential, acidification potential, and land use per unit of beef produced. Lower GWP (on average 28% lower), energy use (13% lower), and land use (41% lower) were found per unit of beef for concentrate-based systems when compared with roughage-based systems. Although these results are not giving the whole picture (because aspects such as biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and others were not included in all the studies), the authors came to interesting conclusions that we cite literally:

•  Environmental impacts were lower for dairy-based than for suckler-based beef

•  GWP was similar for organic and non-organic beef

•  GWP, energy use, and land use were lower for concentrate- than roughage-based beef

•  Dairy-based beef showed the largest potential to mitigate environmental impacts of beef

•  Marginal grasslands unsuitable for dairy farming may be used for production of suckler- based beef to contribute to the availability and access to animal-source food

The study of [56] studied the potential environmental impacts of four different types of organic dairy farms, paying special attention on the farm´s structure (the percentage of grassland on total farm area, and feeding intensity). The results showed that farms with high feeding intensity tend to show ecological advantages with regard to their climate impact and their demand for land. On the contrary, low-input farms showed to be better with regard to animal welfare, milk quality, and ammonia losses. But more interestingly, when they assessed the overall environmental index of the farms, low-input and mixed ones showed the best results. Finally, the authors pointed out the necessity of using a wider range of environmental parameters, since results may differ greatly between studies, farms, and systems.

[57] measured the carbon footprint of the organic dairy sector, based on farm data from six European countries. The results showed that the main contributor to the farm´s carbon footprint was enteric fermentation, which has much to do with the feed management, as exposed earlier.

To sum up, high-quality feedstuffs reduce enteric methane emissions, and this is important because these emissions account for a high proportion of total GHGs (45% of them in the study of [57]). However, one must keep in mind that the environmental impact of the farms belongs to just one pillar of global sustainability. Hence, with regard to feed, other factors must be taken into account, such as the competence with human food.

Regarding the methodological aspects of the assessment of farm sustainability, it must be remembered that the different parameters, frameworks, and approaches available, as well as the limit of the study and the context of the farms, make it difficult to integrate results and make conclusions. In this sense, [57] stated that the method for calculating the carbon footprint could be improved, since this calculation does not take account of carbon sequestration. This aspect is very important for extensive livestock systems (either organic or not), especially for ruminant ones, since cattle grazing captures 20% of the CO2  released into the atmosphere by deforestation and agriculture worldwide [58]. If carbon sequestration were included in the evaluations (as done by [25]), extensive farms and sensitive ecosystems would show better results in the evaluations of their environmental impact, which could lead to higher public support, competitiveness, and sustainability.

In relation to the organic beef cattle sector, [25] carried out a comparative assessment of the sustainability of organic and conventional beef cattle farms located in agroforestry systems and rangelands of southwestern Spain. It is worthy to mention that conventional farms where extensive, pasture-based, and low-input; and that all farms had cows, either with presence of a fattening period of the calves or just selling them at the weaning age. These two last pro‐ ductive orientations where selected as they are representative of the sector and the area under study. The results showed that organic farms had a higher overall sustainability, especially with regard to the environmental dimension. In this sense, the authors reported that the agro- ecosystem management (agricultural practices) and farm structures were slightly more environmentally friendly. For example, organic farms tend to implement more measures to reduce erosion and to improve soil fertility, also developing better dung management that avoided nitrogen fluxes and allowed farmers to elaborate compost. Only clear differences where found regarding the use of pesticides, herbicides, and/or mineral fertilizers. This is consistent with the findings of [59] in smaller organic beef cattle farms located in a more humid area (northwestern Spain).

Hence, the presence of an approach and configuration of the farms oriented to organic principles (namely, the environmental systems) found in the study of [25] was really scarce, since the improvement and/or maintenance of the ecosystem did not constitute an important driver nor a motivation of the farmers to run their organic adventure. A higher degree of farmer’s engagement and awareness toward the sustainability of the agrifood sector is needed. Specifically, the implementation of such sustainable management practices of the agro- ecosystem, such as diversification (the integration of crops, livestock, and trees), are advisable for sustainable land use management [60, 61] and reduce their carbon footprint [57]. Also, these measures deserve to be taken into account by policy makers due to their positive agro- environmental and socio-economic externalities [24].

With regard to swine, Dourmad et al. (2014) evaluated the environmental impacts (per kg of pig live weight and per ha of land used) of 15 European pig farming systems, comparing them with their conventional counterparts, among other types of farming systems, from which “traditional” was an interesting classification worthy of being mentioned since they account for an important part of the livestock sector and rural economy of many areas. This system was defined as “using very fat, slow-growing traditional breeds and generally outdoor raising

of fattening pigs”. When looking at the results, one can observe that the main differences were found between the traditional systems and the rest of farms. Environmental impacts were, in general terms, lower for conventional farms, when they were measured by kg of pig produced. Conversely, when expressed per ha of land use, mean impacts were 10% to 60% lower for traditional and organic systems, depending on the impact category. These results are in line with those abovementioned, and as previously explained, they are mainly due to the higher land occupation per kg of product and the longer productive times.

Another important point that [62] mentioned was the effect of the autochthonous breed on the environmental impact of the farms. They stated that the use of traditional local breeds, with reduced productivity and feed efficiency, results in higher impacts per kg of live weight. [63] added that the effects of the use of autochthonous breeds have not been adequately demon‐ strated with regard to some topics (different than the preservation of the genetic heritage and traditional landscape—aesthetical values). Due to this, [24] and [63] highlighted the necessity to deeply study the interactions and effects of the different livestock systems, especially those with beef cattle, since the scientific literature in addressing this sector is scarce. In line with this argument, [64] mentioned that agricultural practices affect biodiversity in a higher degree than the breeds itself.

Due to these results, context, and the scientific literature available that addressed the topic, [25] came to the conclusion that the externalities of organic farms (when compared with the conventional ones), are highly dependent on their production system, their context (socioe‐ conomic, environmental, political, and institutional), and their marketing strategies. These conclusions can also be found in other studies, such as the review of [23] about the organic sector as a whole and its relationship with rural development.

Therefore, the future strategy of research and innovation in organic farming must priori‐ tize productivity gains that address the farms as a whole, while paying major attention to secure the positive ecological performance organic agriculture can provide, since the environmental benefits it provides are absolute goods and cannot be relativized by the fact that yields are currently lower than in conventional agriculture. Moreover, there is a high potential for reducing the yield gap between organic and conventional farms through agricultural research [47].

4. Factors influencing organic livestock farms’ success

4.1. Regulation and certification bodies

With regard to the legislative side, it is very important to note that regulations on organic production embrace a wide variety of organic farms; they allow using different animal breeds, structures, agro-ecosystem managements, feeding strategies, and marketing strategies. As a consequence, organic the livestock farm’s success and perspectives are really different from one place to another. For example, [65] found that the situation in North Germany was in contrast to the region in the south, where the variability of amount and proportion of the

different feed types is predominantly independent of the milk yield. Many factors shape these differences, such as the ecosystems on which farms are based and consumers’ demands and willingness to pay.

Additionally, the different criteria of the certification bodies (public and private) act in the same way, since they usually decide whether some exceptions to the regulations can be applied at the farm level. Due to this, it is important to unify criteria. Also, the cost of certification is not affordable for many farmers (especially small farmers, which play a great role in sustain‐ ability and food security). Fortunately, nowadays, many efforts are being made to both facilitate the market of organic products worldwide (i.e., agreements between the European and American (USDA) standards) and to reduce cost of certification (i.e., by means of Partic‐ ipatory Guarantee Systems).

Moreover, organic regulations and private standards do not cover marketing aspects (key in the social, economic, and environmental sustainability), so that it is difficult to evaluate to contribution of the organic livestock sector to the sustainability of the food system.

4.2. Implementation of organic farms: Its consequences on the farms’ economic and productive performance

Some studies have assessed the consequences of converting livestock farms to the organic system. Their feasibility and success depend upon the structure and context of the previous (conventional) farm. To cite an example, ruminants pasture-based farms such as those located in southwestern Europe and in the Mediterranean basin (especially those oriented to meat production) may be easily converted into organic ones since conventional and organic farms are quite similar [66-67]. On the contrary, species that are mainly reared under intensive production systems will have to go through a difficult process of conversion, e.g., poultry, swine, and dairy cows. And in parallel depending on the farmers´ motivations for converting, the situation of the farms, and their perspectives vary.

As monogastric production systems are not so linked to land as ruminants ones are, and due to the higher prices of organic feedstuffs, it is far more difficult for farmers to convert to produce under the organic system. In this sense, swine rearing under free range production systems (such as those of the dehesa ecosystem in southwestern Spain) appears to be the system that could be converted to the organic model successfully. However, the weaning period seems to be the bottleneck of this sector, because many veterinary interventions are usually needed.

Moving from species to farms structure, it is interesting to note that mixed livestock production systems are those with a higher resilience (also economically), which would allow an easier transition to the organic system [25]. Accordingly, [68] claimed that co-grazing sows with heifers can diminish the parasite burden of the heifers, and that the pig inclination for rooting can be managed in a way that makes ploughing and other heavy land cultivation more or less superfluous. With regard to poultry, there is an indication that quite big flocks can be managed efficiently in a way where the flock act as weeders in other crops or fight pests in orchards. This integration of feed resources of the farms with the different livestock species is possible

due to their different grazing habits [69, 70], and is pivotal for the sustainability of the agro- ecosystems and rural areas [25].

However, the consequences of the conversion process and externalities of organic farms may be very changing, since they depend on many factors [66, 23, 25, 35], such as the socioeconomic and environmental context of exploitation, the climate and topography of the land, the production system under study, the species reared, the regulations on course, the influence of private standards of certification, the availability of organic inputs and prices thereof, the development of the organic industry and marketing channels, and the consumer’s behavior (demand and willingness to pay). In order to deal with these uncertainties, researchers have conducted studies that have evaluated the ease of conver‐ sion of different conventional farming systems to the former one: for dairy goats [71] and dairy cattle [72]. Therefore, before making conclusions about the adequacy of organic livestock farming, one must establish the limits of the study (local or global scale), its objectives, and motivations. Later, a multidisciplinary assessment of farm sustainability, a SWOT analysis, and an assessment of the feasibility of success along with a study of farms competitiveness must be carried out, as proposed by [67, 73].

In relation to organic beef cattle farms, although there is controversy, studies mainly show that organic farms have worse economic results than their conventional counterpart when they are studied by farm and year since they used to have longer production cycles when the farms are under the Common Agricultural Policy’s (CAP) conditions [25, 59] or not [74]. They are also more dependent on both subsidies and premium prices. Finally, higher production costs (mainly derived from feeding and during the conversion period) have also been observed [25, 59, 74-75].

[54] analyzed the productive, environmental and economic impacts of the conversion process of conventional suckler cattle farms. They reported that the ban on chemical fertilizers led to a drop in farm area productivity and meat production (by 18% to 37% for the latter) and farm income (more than 20%). These drops were not compensated by the increase in the meat selling price (+5% to +10%). However, the use of inputs was reduced (by -9% to -52%), which is really important for the sustainability of pasture-based/low-input ruminant farms.

With regard to milk production, [76] found that organic systems had greater milk production. However, it seems that milk production per animal [77] and agricultural area [40, 78-79] is lower in organic farms.

Although at first glance, this lower milk production seems negative, this could have very positive implications and advantages. Firstly, cows could have a longer productive life (longevity), which in turn could make animals produce more liters in their entire life, thus reducing the environmental and economic impact of rearing heifers. Secondly, the increase of the productive capacity of the cows has been followed by health problems such as increased somatic cell counts and mastitis, as well as reduced fertility rates and tolerance to heat stress, which could be reduced if cows reduce their production level. Moreover, such reduction would help to reduce the amount and/or proportion of non-structural carbohydrates given to the animals, which would reduce the risk of acidosis, lameness, and other secondary disorders. In

this sense, [76] observed that cattle on conventional farms were fed approximately twice as much grain as cattle on organic farms. All these advantages match part of the goals set in the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda for Organic Food and Farming set by the European Technology Platform (TP Organics) [80]: improved health, robustness, and longevity.

Moreover, as the price of organic milk seems to be more stable [81], the consumption of mothers’ milk by calves may be a profitable strategy in farms where milk is not the main marketable product. Thus, [82] found that the consumption of mothers’ milk by calves resulted in high weaning weights at 3 months of age, and Keifer et al. (2014) found that organic dairy cows farms performed economically better than the pasture-based conventional farms analyzed.

Not all is about ruminants. Other sectors, such as rabbits, have also been studied. Thus, [83] showed that the effects on zootechnical parameters are due to the production system and genetics. They found that hybrid rabbits reared under conventional housing had the highest average daily gain, and local grey and organic, the lowest.

4.3. Public subsidies: The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the European Union

Despite the abovementioned low productivity in organic farms, their higher environmental externalities should drive a higher support by the rural development measures of the EU’s CAP [24, 84-85], since they play a greater role in the conservation of traditional landscapes and ecosystems by means of a “greener” agro-environmental management, which is finally of great importance for the sustainable development of the surrounding rural areas, where the agricultural sector remains an essential driver of the rural development of this area [27]. In this sense, [84] have claimed the necessity to recognize in a higher degree the role of the extensive livestock systems on environmental and cultural heritage preservation.

4.4. Animal nutrition: Legislation and market

Animal nutrition constitutes an important pillar of organic livestock production. Thus, [86] found that feeding strategies among Wisconsin organic dairy farms were major determinants of herd milk production and income over feed costs. These findings may serve current organic and transition farmers when considering feeding management changes needed to meet organic pasture rule requirements or dealing with dietary supplementation challenges.

In relation to organic feedstuffs, the most important obstacles are the difficulty to find them and their prices. This situation is aggravated by the farms’ high external dependence of feedstuff due to decoupling between crops and livestock. These facts reduce the organic livestock farms´ adaptability, and their access to feed additives and materials of high quality. As a result, the organic livestock sector face a big challenge that, along with other factors, has lead to a situation characterized by organic livestock farms without organic products, which reduces their profitability and future perspectives of success. This has been observed either in beef cattle [25], dairy cows farms [87], or other species [88].

One possible solution for overcoming this barrier would be the use of local agricultural by- products for animal nutrition since their price is usually low, and according to [89], they allow

to add to their economic value, while providing an environmentally sound method for disposal of the by-product materials. Also, it would lead to either an increase in the incomes for the organic business that sell such by-products or a reduction in the expenditure related to their disposal.

European regulations limited the use of many feed additives, such as mineral preparations, with the aim that organic livestock farms rely on soil minerals. However, their levels can be low in some areas, which can lead to some mineral deficiencies, as observed by [90] in organic calves. This limitation is especially important in the case of dairy cattle, since nutritional requirements of cows are really high. Due to this, researchers are looking for new feedstuffs that are both allowed and useful for the organic livestock sector, such as minerals sources (seaweed in [91]), different pastures (birdsfoot trefoil by [92]), and fat supplements [93].

As the ration for organic herds has been required to be 100% organic by the European regulations, [94] investigated the possible effects of 100% organic feed on the energy balance in Swedish organic dairy herds as indicated by blood parameters, and concluded that the legislative restrictions “did not appear to have had any detrimental effects on the metabolic profiles of organic cows in early lactation and there was no evidence that organic cows were metabolically more challenged or had a severe negative energy balance”.

However, the feed resources of the own farm are usually scarce and/or of poor quality in many areas. Thus, [46] pointed out that the availability of the forages in semi-arid areas, such as the Mediterranean basin, is seasonal, and that its quality is not always optimal. Due to this, the supplementation of the animals is frequently needed. Nevertheless, their availability is low, because for the feed industry it is really costly to turn organic or to create an organic line of products, as they must separate the conventional and the organ‐ ic lines of productions, and the profitability of this investment is very questionable. Moreover, the bureaucracy would increase the workload of the companies, thus reducing their agility and profitability. In this sense, more concrete instructions for the inclusion of feed additives should be introduced in the regulations.

A correct nutritional management is the basis for an optimal health status and, as a conse‐ quence, adequate levels of productivity. Furthermore, this productivity has been identified as key to reduce the GHG emissions from livestock. Due to this, policy makers should seriously address this topic since many conventional companies of the feed sector have a really good portfolio of feed additives that are not susceptible for having not-allowed products (such as GMO or residues of antibiotics), and could improve rumen fermentation (thus reducing the enteric methane emissions), reduce the use of antibiotics (reducing the environmental pollu‐ tion and public health issues related to them), which would increase the efficiency of the livestock sector, and finally, the competitiveness and sustainability of it. Good examples of additives would be limiting amino acids (such as methionine in dairy cows), chelated (also called “organic”) minerals, salts of organic acids, yeasts, essential oils, and fat supplements, among a large list of them. Specifically, organic minerals allow a correct nutritional manage‐ ment, reduce the exploitation of resources, and reduce environmental pollution.

4.5. Animal health, welfare, and technical management

As a consequence of the growth in the number of organic farms worldwide, many veterinarians are encountering this method of production. However, they normally suffer from lack of knowledge with regard to the management of animal health suitable to this type of production, such that it “sustains and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal, human and planet as one and indivisible” (according to IFOAM). The focus is to achieve and maintain high herd health and welfare status with low usage of veterinary medicines [95]. The EC regulations for organic farming [28] state that organic livestock should be treated preferably with phytotherapeutic products. However, almost no phytotherapeutic product is registered for livestock, and information regarding veterinary phytotherapy is really scarce [96].

As health and welfare of organic livestock are highly interrelated, veterinarians not only must avoid livestock illness, but also maintain the animals´ physical, mental, social, and ecological well-being [97]. However, the combination of “natural behavior/living” with optimal health and welfare status is not easy, as [98] and [99] interestingly stated, exten‐ sive production systems (e.g., free range production) expose livestock to increased disease challenge, and “a healthy system does not automatically mean good welfare for the individual”. However, outdoor housing also has benefits [100]; outdoor housing with functional wallows and access to grass and roots or outdoor runs and roughage can enhance pig welfare and reduce pen-mate-directed oral activity and aggression, which is a really important issue in piglet production.

[99] came to the conclusion that animal health is as good or better than in conventional farming, with the exception of parasitic diseases, and that organic farming systems have a “welfare potential”, but organic farmers must deal with the dilemmas and take animal welfare issues seriously. [101] explores how the special organic conceptions of animal welfare are related to the overall principles of organic agriculture. They identified potential routes for future development of organic livestock systems in different contexts (northwestern Europe and tropical low-income countries). Moreover, as outdoor-reared animals make more use of the farm’s feed resources, negative consequences can also be found with regard to food safety. Thus, it has been demonstrated that a significant number of organic eggs had dioxin contents that exceeded the EU standard [102].

When one analyzes the health and welfare status of different livestock species, one rapidly realizes that the control of intestinal parasites and to achieve adequate nutritional management are the main bottlenecks and challenges.

Regarding ruminants, [103] also identified these two issues as challenging after studying organic goats. Later, [77] observed lower calf mortality, less incidence of mastitis, fewer rates of spontaneous abortions, and reduced ectoparasite loads in organic farms. However, internal parasite control was again detected as a weak point (greater prevalence was observed in organic farms). Fortunately, animals in the organic system exhibited lower parasitic resistance to anthelmintics, which gives hope to improve herd health status by means of future strategies. [104] reviewed the prevalence of zoonotic or potentially zoonotic bacteria, antimicrobial resistance, and somatic cell counts in organic dairy production; and they found contradictory

results in relation with in bacterial outcomes and Somatic Cell Count (SCC) between conven‐

tional and organic farms.

Later, [105] discussed the effects of weaning calves at an older age on welfare and milk production. They claimed that foster cow systems with additional milking might be a prom‐ ising alternative since calves can satisfy their sucking motivation and have social contact to mothers/adult cows; and additionally, weaning stress might be reduced and milking the cows when suckling calves could lead to an increased total milk production. However, this system has economical consequences that must be assessed carefully. Due to this, the authors concluded that further research is needed to reconcile consumers’ demands and the possibil‐ ities of farmers using such systems.

With regard to animal welfare, [106] assessed the welfare state of dairy cows in European farm systems (extensive and/or low-input farms compared with organic ones) using the Welfare Quality® assessment protocol. Farms had mainly an acceptable and enhanced overall welfare state, although specific problems were found (injuries and discomfort of the lying areas, mutilations, poor human-animal relationship, or insufficient water provision). [107] indicated that most of the organic and conventional farms would have been unlikely to achieve many criteria of audit and assessment programs currently used in the U.S. dairy industry. The parameters recorded were the following: neonatal care, dehorning, pain relief, calf nutrition, weaning, age at weaning, pain relief after and during dehorning, size of the calving area, body condition score, animal hygiene scores, hock lesions, and use of veterinarians. [108] explored how calf welfare is approached in six different organic dairy farms and how far the concept of naturalness is implemented. They observed differing understandings of “naturalness” and welfare, which lead to such diversity of organic farms in aspects that should be shared. In this sense, [82] found that some farmers had difficulties accepting negative implications of suckling systems such as stress after weaning.

The reliance of veterinary drugs is a hot topic that globally is trying to be reduced. In organic farms, where limitations in the use of veterinary drugs are higher, health-related problems can occur, thus undermining the farm’s profitability. To reduce these situations, [94], through the CORE Organic ANIPLAN, carried out a study with organic dairy farms of seven European countries, aiming at minimizing medicine use through animal health and welfare planning. Overall, after the implementation of the plan, there was a reduction in the total treatment incidence, and an improvement of the udder health situation across all farms. Hence, these authors concluded that the plan applied “can be regarded as a feasible approach to minimizing medicine use without the impairment of production and herd health under several organic dairy farming conditions in Europe”.

Regarding beef cattle, [24, 59] found less use of veterinary medicines. These results are in line with those of [76], who found that the use of outside support and vaccinations were found to be less prevalent on organic dairy farms than on conventional farms. These last authors found little difference in the average reported somatic cell count and standard plate count.

In relation with monogastrics, parasites also constitute a concern. Due to this, the topic was also addressed under the framework of the COREPIG project, a pan-European project on

organic pig production focused on the “Prevention of selected diseases and parasites in organic pig herds”. One of the results of this project has been the publication of review papers that have provided really valuable information and reflections on the current status and challenges of the swine sector. [109, 110] reported that sows are kept in a variety of different production systems, “with some countries having totally outdoor management at pasture, some keeping animals indoors with concrete outside runs, and others having combinations of these systems”. Although reports suggest that relatively few health and welfare problems are seen, the problem of parasites is also a concern within this sector (they are more prevalent in the organic sector). According to the arguments above exposed by [98] and [99], the authors discussed that organic sows had more behavioral freedom, but may be exposed to greater climatic challenges, parasite infestation, and risk of body condition loss. So that, again, the combination of welfare, health, and productivity poses an issue. Even, public health could be compromised, [110] highlighted the high exposure to T. gondii in organic pig farms in Italy, indicating a potential risk for meat consumption.

[111] also studied the health and welfare of suckling and weaned piglets in six EU countries. For this purpose, these authors used animal-based parameters from the Welfare Quality® protocol, and showed the main issues prevailing in these farms. [112] studied issues related to weaning in piglets, and they concluded that diseases around weaning are multifactorial so that “in order to solve problems around weaning, the complexity and the individuality of farm systems need to be taken into account”.

Furthermore, it has also been reported that some disorders in pigs are less frequent under the organic system, namely, respiratory problems, skin lesions (including abscesses and hernias) and tail wounds. However, joint lesions, white spot livers, and parasitic infections were more common among organic pigs [100]. Due to this, although organic herds consumed three times less antibiotics than conventional ones, the reduction of anthelmintics seems to be more complicated. However, these researchers did not find any difference in mortality rate nor if more pigs in need of treatment in the organic herds.

Fortunately, it seems that some strategies to control the parasites in organic production are coming to scene. Thus, [100] recommended to rotate outdoor areas with as long interval as possible, i.e., by including the pigs in the crop rotation. Furthermore, they stated that an increase in the number of specialized organic farms will help carry out other management strategies needed to maintain the good health of the pigs: implementation of age-segregated production and buying piglets from only one or few units.

Finally, the aquaculture growing sector has also been assessed from the organic side. [113], after studying the open aquaculture systems, reported that both organic and conventional systems present unresolved and significant challenges with regard to the welfare and to environmental integrity, due to many issues such as water quality, escapes, parasites, predator control, and feed-source sustainability. Finally, they concluded that under the current situa‐ tion, open net-pen aquaculture production cannot be compatible with the principles inherent to organic farming.

4.6. Marketing of organic products and consumer’s behavior

Organic livestock farms (when pasture-based and low-input) are perceived as socially more acceptable than intensive ones because they provide many environmental services, such as reducing the risk of fire, improving soil fertility and pastures quality, as well as biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Moreover, they have lower environmental impact linked to land use change (deforestation) and to the use of energy (extraction, manufacturing feedstuff, transportation, etc.) [19-22]. Furthermore, they do not compete with humans for food, which could be another argument to buy organic as the concern about food security has become mainstream. Note that around 70% of the grains used by developed countries are fed to animals and that livestock consume an estimated one-third or more of the world’s cereal grain, with

40% of such feed going to ruminants, mainly cattle [114]. However, out of the farm gate, the lack of development of the marketing channels and industry,

low consumers awareness of organic products, and their low willingness to pay a premium

price for them hinder the demand for organic animal products. As a consequence, most of the farmers are not able to sell their products to the organic market and at a price that allow them to cover their production costs; one can easily find many organic farms without organic products [25, 88]. In the case of livestock, this situation is due to: (i) the difficulty to find organic feedstuff and its cost and (ii) low consumer demand linked to low level of knowledge, awareness, and willingness to pay premium prices. Specifically, in the beef sector, the demand for organic weaned calves (not fattened) was almost non-existent, which make it very difficult to carry out the market of organic beef [25].

In the few cases in which producers can manage to sell their products as organic, such scarcity of developed channels causes the price differential between organic and conventional products to be still high, feeding a loop characterized by reduced per capita consumption and low presence of organic products in the supermarkets [115-116]. As a consequence, demand and willingness to pay consumers for organic products is reduced [117], especially in relation to beef and in countries such as Spain [118-119], despite being one of the first producers in Europe. In order to reduce the cited price differential and increase consumption, a wider distribution of these products is key.

In the case of beef, this little demand is partly due to the fact that consumers do not perceive clearly the differences between organic and conventional meat [115]. Therefore, [120] showed that there is a clear need to excel in organic meat products, quality, and environmental contribution. However, it is can be complex to define and evaluate the quality characteristics of a meat product, especially when the benefits of organic meat over conventional are not clear from the sensory, nutritional, and health aspects[115], particularly when they are compared with conventional extensive systems, such as those present in the pasture.

In summary, it is necessary to note that the demand for organic meat could stagnate due to the following reasons: price differential with conventional meat, inelasticity of demand for this product, and limited knowledge and awareness about the product by consumers. Fortunately, there are strategies that could solve this weak domestic demand, such as exporting. However,

meat export is not a strategy easy to carry out due to the cost of transportation and storage, the bureaucracy, and the needed know-how.

Moreover, the approach should not be to just find the markets for organic products, but other additional strategies must be studied. Firstly, it must be taken into account that there is a change in consumer preferences towards local [121-123] and more sustainable [122, 124] products. Moreover, the level of knowledge and awareness about organic products is really low in some countries and regions in Europe [119], leading to the fact that consumers find it hard to differentiate between organic, local, traditional, and sustainable [122, 125-127]. Additionally, one cannot assume that all consumers believe that all organic products are totally complying with the organic principles (many consumers may have not even heard about such principles) and that the organic principles match with the internal triggers and values of the consumers.

To overcome this diversity in the market, organic products should try to be linked to other quality standards. The products with more added value (they would be more than organic) and the growing consumer preferences towards them have both been called ‘organic-plus’, and have been described by some authors [124]. Within this trend, environmental sustaina‐ bility, freshness, and local economy are attributes of relevance. In other words, the conse‐ quences of the agrifood system (marketing channels, distribution) are becoming important for a growing number of consumers. However, these topics are not covered by the organic regulations, and most of the organic products have been produced and marketed through the mainstream agrifood system; conventional marketing channels characterized by the concen‐ tration of production, exporting most of the production, low domestic consumption, and concentration in supply centers and large retail chains. This orientation of organic production into conventional marketing channels and production systems (monocultures and agrochem‐ icals) has been well-documented and is known as “conventionalization” of the organic production and “input substitution” [128].

As a consequence, this type of production (despite being organic) does not always provide consumers with products as fresh, local, and sustainable as they desire, nor positively impact environmental protection and/or rural development in such degree, as was explained above.

In summary, it seems that organic products are not the solution for many consumers that really want to access sustainable products. If organic companies and/or policy makers do not take into account these aspects, the growth of the organic sector, as well as their positive external‐ ities, will be limited.

5. Conclusions

Organic livestock farming (especially its organic principles than regulations) may be a useful strategy to overcome the challenges of the agricultural sector (sustainability, food security, and food safety) while matching with consumers´ tendencies (animal welfare, health, environ‐

mental protection, etc.). Furthermore, organic livestock farming could be also an interesting strategy for the eternal rural development issue and the farms’ decreasing profitability.

However, the combination of complying with organic regulations and objectives and princi‐ ples of organic farming while increasing overall sustainability is not an easy task. Due to this, it is inappropriate to generalize the benefits of organic livestock farming itself, since the feasibility of implementing organic livestock production systems and their consequences varies greatly, and are site and time-specific. Therefore, it must be remembered that any production system that does not evolve from its initial state (i.e., defined by law) and do not take into account both the time and spatial scales cannot be sustainable worldwide and for a long time. Due to this, a SWOT study along with an assessment of the future effects and difficulties of organic farms under specific contexts is really needed. By doing so, it will be possible to design site-specific and successful options that comply with organic regulations and principles, while being sustainable.

Moreover, some topics must be addressed in order to increase the organic livestock farm’s success. Firstly, it has been observed that most of the farmers do not focus on sustainability nor environmental improvement, and that many farms are easily complying with the organic regulations without carrying out environmentally-friendly management practices in their agro-ecosystems. Due to this, improved education and training of farmers and consultants regarding conservation agriculture and GHG mitigation are really needed.

Secondly, there is a need to design feeding strategies that provide adequate nutrition, espe‐ cially in areas with environmental constraints, such as arid and semi-arid areas. Moreover, regulations should both unify criteria and facilitate the production of feed additives by companies, because the consequences of it could be really important and positive for the organic livestock sector and for the sustainability of the food system.

Thirdly, the knowledge of the veterinarians with regard to animal health management must be improved as fast as the sector is growing. Related to this, more light must be shed on the relationship between animal welfare, “natural living-behavior”, and animal health. Further‐ more, health care protocols must be developed for each species, including research on alternative and complementary methods of disease prevention.

Fourthly, CAP schemes should be improved in order to reward systems that produce positive externalities in a greater extent despite being low in productivity, since the agricultural sector remains an essential driver of rural areas. These systems contribute to environmental, cultural, and heritage conservation, which finally lead to revitalized rural areas and overall sustaina‐ bility (from the economic, social, and environmental standpoints).

Finally, and more urgently, special attention must be paid on the marketing strategies of organic products (organic plus products and marketing channels) since this is the main constraint of the sector, and it is the point where there are more possibilities for improvement for both farm profitability and overall sustainability of the food system.

Author details

Alfredo J. Escribano

Address all correspondence to:

Researcher and consultant. C/ Rafael Alberti, Cáceres, Spain


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Iran eager to import meat, livestock from Pakistan

Pakistan and Iran on Thursday mentioned issues on the subject of improve family members within the field of agriculture between the two nations. The matter came under dialogue when Mehdi Honardoost, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran known as on Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan in Islamabad Thursday.

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Both Pakistan and Iran percentage a geographical border that gives an opportunity to facilitate industry in agricultural merchandise.

There are positive issues in export/import of agricultural commodities between the 2 facets. Both international locations signed an Agreement in 2005 for issuance of SPS Certificate for export of Pakistani mango and citrus to Iran.

The scope of the Agreement used to be enhanced with the consult with of the Iranian Quarantine Experts in 2015 because the collection of Hot Water Treatment (HWT) facilities had been increased from three to 16.

Federal Minister mentioned that both countries proportion a protracted border and we will have to exploit the potentials of this long border and should now not leave out alternatives which this border gives.

Honardoost instructed the Minister that that meat and farm animals is Iran’s larger demand and it imports from Latin America and Brazil and it costs them immensely and besides Iran is acutely aware of Pakistan’s potential within the field and is extra desperate to import from Pakistan.

Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan told the Iranian ambassador that Pakistan has a state-of-the-art meat processing plant in Karachi and it has doable to export to Iran the desired amount of meat and it’s thankfully supplied enough to export meat to any nation of the world.

The Federal Minister asked the guest that Iranian staff may just seek advice from the outstanding meat facility in Karachi. It used to be also proposed within the meeting that thru a mutual venture an abattoir may well be began at Taftan border for able and contemporary meat via Pakistan.

The topic relating to Punjab Agriculture & Meat Company (PAMCO) was additionally brought into the attention of Iranian facet, Iranian executive has 15% to 16% stocks of the company and these days no export benefit is secured throughout the corporate and Honardoost mentioned that we are keen to speak on each discussion board at their facet to have the benefit of Pakistan meat.

Federal Minister additionally proposed that relevant delegation could additionally meet Punjab agriculture Minister in this regard for further element of the subject.

Mehboob Sultan instructed the Iranian ambassador that Pakistani mangoes are exported to different nations across the world up to the pleasure of uploading international locations, Iranian reservations regarding scorching water treatment plants for mangoes might be removed and urged that Iranian concerned officers/mavens could talk over with the plants and they’d witness that those Plants are working with cutting-edge generation and mangoes thus exported meet all international standards.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan has greater than 34 scorching water remedy vegetation and processed fruit is exported so far as to Australia.

The minister urged that each international locations must mutually settle all problems associated with Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures. And National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO) of both the countries must have widespread collaboration to amicably resolve the quarantine problems to promote bilateral business.

Federal Minister Mehboob Sultan stated that both countries may cooperate in innumerable tactics and it’s in the most efficient hobby of both the countries to support their interactions and enlarge business volume.

The minister informed the Iranian Ambassador that we are hoping that Iran restarts issuing transit allow(s); (stopped some 3-four years in the past) for Pakistani items i.e. fodder, wheat straw, carrot and garlic to be exported thru Iran to Russia, Kyrgazistan, Iraq, Behrain, Oman and UAE.
These merchandise of Baluchistan were exported thru shortest land direction via Iran however presently due to the non-issuance of Transit allow to our exporters the products must be exported thru sea direction which is costly, expansive and cumbersome and due to the complexities involved few exporters even get discouraged.

The ambassador advised the minister he’s going to be in contact to involved quarters in this regard. The Iranian Ambassador further said that the Iranian Supreme chief directed that “all the doors should be open for Pakistan.”

He also expressed their aspect’s want referring to out of the country farming, to which the Honorable Minister said that Pakistan side will look into the topic and if such choice is available it might be communicated to the Iran.

Federal Minister Mehboob Sultan mentioned that shall we advertise bilateral family members through tangible method: business and trade and this may increasingly discourage the smuggling through Pak-Iran border; which in turn would benefit each the states. Both the sides expressed their resolve of bettering exchange of delegations for better working out and settlement of problems.

Organic livestock farming: benefits, principles, challenges

Introduction to Organic livestock farming:

Organic livestock farming is one among various farming systems that are close to nature & ethics. The use of veterinary drugs & synthetic products in conventional animal farming is continuously increasing the threat to human health. Organic livestock farming method is a land-based activity. In order to avoid environmental pollution, particularly natural sources such as the soil & water, organic production of livestock must in principle present for a close relationship between such production and the land.

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Organic livestock farming not only proves to maintain health & welfare of animals. But is also playing an important role in providing benefits regarding the health of consumers, profit to the producers and sustainability of the environment. Certified organic animals are generally reared by feeding on pastures, fully organic nutrition is provided that is grown and processed by avoiding the use of synthetic pesticides & herbicides. Animals are reared without the use of any genetic modifications & antibiotics or artificial hormones are allowed only when no other option is available that too to a limited extent.

The demand for organic livestock farming is increasing tremendously with the attendant expansion of organic livestock product markets. The presence of developing countries like Brazil & Argentina in exporting the organic livestock products provides welcome opportunities for the other developing countries like India. In order to increase export of organic livestock farming products and develop strong domestic markets a lot of challenges must be overcome by the developing countries. Organic livestock farming has a greater demand & scope in the present global scenario due to more focus on sustainability. Despite its benefits, there are several debatable questions like the circulation of disease organisms, use of medicines & management, etc. regarding organic livestock farming in which further research & re-consideration is needed.

Historical development of Organic livestock farming:

Historically, livestock has always played the main role in organic production systems. During the formative years of the organic livestock movement (the 1920s through the 1950s), the typical organic farms of Great Britain, Continental Europe & North America integrated livestock production with the growth of both food & feed crops.

Livestock provided manure, which is one of nature’s best fertilizers & a good means for recycling nutrients within a crop rotation. Rising organic livestock farming feed alongside food crops, expand rotations; because forage legumes & sod-forming grasses are among the best feeds for ruminant livestock, these soil-building crops physically became part of long sustainable cropping sequences. In such systems, livestock could be fed cull vegetables, weather damaged crops, crop residues, “alternative” grains, and forages & cash crop grains during years of low prices.

Organic agriculture has its roots in traditional agricultural perform in small communities around the world. Farmers passed down knowledge of efficient practices onto subsequent generations. Organic agriculture became observable on a wider scale in the 1960s, when farmers & consumers became concerned that the number of chemicals used in crop & animal production could have negative consequences for human being health & the environment. Since then, it has developed into a more cohesive & organized movement and it is now the fastest growing food sector globally.

Characteristics of organic livestock production systems:

Organic livestock management shall aim to use natural breeding methods, minimize stress, prevent disease, progressively eliminate the use of chemical allopathic veterinary drugs, and maintain animal health & welfare.

Breeds and Breeding

There is a large range of organic farming enterprises. There are farms that focus on scale economies & maximum production efficiency per animal or per hectare. Other farms focus on product quality, self-sufficiency, direct marketing or niche market, etc. These different types of farms may need livestock breeds with different characteristics. At present, organic farmers worldwide keep livestock according to circumstances where breed choice has been based on information from conventional production systems. Such livestock could not be optimally adapted to an organic, low-input farming system.

When animals are genetically adapted to specific or extreme conditions, they will be more productive and production costs will be lower. Also, selecting breeds suitable for the local environment will also safeguard animal health and welfare. Production in intensive systems is associated with high-energy concentrate feeding & regular, prophylactic veterinary treatments and the use of exotic livestock breeds. Livestock breeds developed for use under these circumstances. Organic forage-based livestock systems may need special breeds. Highly productive dairy cows, for example, may endure physiological problems under organic conditions, as they need concentrate.

Feeds and feeding

  • Livestock should be fed with 100 percent physically grown feeds.
  • More than 50 percent should come from farms or formed in the region.
  • Sufficient green fodder must be supplied.
  • Sufficient clean & potable drinking water should be provided.
  • Use of synthetic growth promoters, synthetic appetizers, preservatives, synthetic coloring agents, synthetic amino acids, emulsifiers, urea etc. is prohibited.


  • Animals should not be caged, tethered in buildings.
  • Animals should have enough area to graze.
  • Housing must allow sufficient movement.
  • The maximum amount of fresh air & daylight should be provided.
  • Should be reared in herds or flocks of appropriate size.
  • Dry litter material must be used as bedding.
  • Group penning is arranged.
  • The indoor area is complemented by an outdoor area that must be at least 75 percent of the indoor area.

Disease prevention:

  • Selection of breeds to avoid exact diseases. The indigenous breeds are resistant to most of the disease as compared to exotic breeds.
  • Animals should be raised in a manner that promotes good resistance against diseases & infections.
  • Availability of good value feed in outdoor areas strengthens the natural immune system.
  • Adequate space allowance avoids overcrowding & prevents health problems associated with it.
  • Vaccines should be used when diseases cannot be controlled by other manage mental techniques.


  • Avoid reliance upon routine or prophylactic makes use of conventional veterinary medicines.
  • Non-allopathic medicines, herbal medicines & methods, including Homoeopathy, Ayurvedic medicine and acupuncture should be emphasized.
  • Conventional veterinary medicines are allowed in case of an emergency. If used, the with-holding period for livestock products should be twice the legal essential period.

Challenges of Organic livestock farming in Developing Countries:Developing countries are already producing a wide range of organic products & many are thriving well. Though, most of them are often faced by a number of constraints, such as:

  1. Lack of technical know-how, for example, organic farming practices & production methods. In most developing countries, practical support is oriented towards using technologies that can enhance productivity per unit input and time. The practical knowledge, how about organic livestock farming is restricted to private companies that have access to export & limited local markets.
  2. Lack of market information, for example, which products to grow, which markets & distribution channels to choose, competition, market access. Although most of the population in the developing countries become aware of the health & environmental hazard of inorganic agricultural products, there are no extensive promotion works concerning the negative impacts of these products & initiation of the use of organic ones. In addition, most governments in developing countries are promoting the common conventional production systems which could hamper the market information about the accessibility of organic agricultural products.
  3. Organically produced foods have to meet strict regulations. Entering this profitable market is not easy. Farmers are denied contact to developed country organic markets for two to three years after beginning organic management since such countries will not certify land & livestock as organic before that time, arguing that it is essential for the purging of chemical residues.
  4. Intensive management & this is why farming is mostly done on a smaller scale.
  5. Organic farming is still faced with the difficulty of higher labor input in its operation. Other studies show that the major reason why organic farming requires more labor is to carry out manual & mechanical tasks essential to growth. The preparation for sale on the farm or on the market involves more labor on organic holdings. In fact, this could be a challenge to organic livestock farming because of the rising flow of the labor force from rural agriculture to urban areas where they could enjoy a better payment.
  6. Organic farming is still hampered by the requirement of clarity: Consumers were not always sure about what was actually covered by organic farming and the restrictions it implied. The reasons for the confusion lay, among further things, in the existence of a number of different “schools” or philosophies, the need of harmonized terminology, the nonstandard presentation of products & the tendency to blur the distinctions between concepts such as organic, natural, wholesome & so on. The situation was worsened by cases of fraudulent utilize of labeling referring to organic methods. In the future, organic livestock products will gain contact to lucrative local markets because of the growing income, urbanization & the increasing demand of animal products and these together with the information on the inclination to the requirements of organic livestock products, will make opportunity for the deceitful use of labeling.

Factors influencing organic livestock farming success:

With regard to the legislative side, it is extremely important to note that regulations on organic production embrace a wide variety of organic farms; they agree to use different animal breeds, structures, agro-ecosystem management, feeding strategies, & marketing strategies. As a consequence, organic the livestock farm’s success & perspectives are really different from one place to another. For example, found that the situation in North Germany was in contrast to the region in the south, where the variability of amount & proportion of the different feed types is predominantly independent of the milk yield. Many factors form these differences, such as the ecosystems on which farms are based and consumers’ demands & willingness to pay.

Animal nutrition: Legislation and market

Animal nutrition constitutes the main pillar of organic livestock production. Therefore, found that feeding strategies among Wisconsin organic dairy farms were the main determinants of herd milk production and income over feed costs. This could serve current organic farmers & transition farmers when considering feeding management changes needed to meet organic pasture rule necessities or dealing with dietary supplementation challenges.

In relation to organic feedstuffs, the mainly important obstacles are the difficulty to find them & their prices. This situation is forced by the farms’ high external dependence of feedstuff due to the decoupling between crops & livestock. These facts decrease the organic livestock farms´ adaptability, & their access to feed additives and materials of high quality. As a result, the organic livestock farming sector faces a big challenge that, along with other factors, has to lead to a situation characterized by organic livestock farms without organic products, which decreases their profitability & future perspectives of success. This has been observed also in beef cattle, dairy cow farms, or other species.

One possible result of overcoming this barrier would be the use of local agricultural by-products for animal nutrition since their price is generally low, and according to, they allow adding to their economic value, while providing an environmentally sound technique for disposal of the by-product materials. Moreover, it would lead to either an increase in the incomes for the organic business that sells such by-products or a decrease in the expenditure related to their disposal.

Opportunities for Organic Livestock Farming in Developing Countries Acceptance by Consumers:

Most consumers wish organic foods because they declare it is tastier, as well as healthier both for themselves & the environment. Consumers are ready to pay additional for organic products. Another reason for Organic products prominence is the opposition to genetically customized food. Under organic livestock production process, consumers expect organic milk, meat, poultry, eggs and leather products, etc. To come from farms that have been inspected to prove that they meet rigorous standards, which permit the use of organic feed, prohibit the use of prophylactic antibiotics & give animal contact to the outdoors, fresh air and sunlight.

Consumer demand for certified organic products is mostly concentrated in North America & Europe with the two regions contributing 96 percent of global revenues of certified organic products. Besides a large variety of organic crop products, major livestock products sold are eggs & dairy products. Even though there is less availability & lack of certification process of organic livestock products in developing countries, most of the people, particularly those living around urban areas in are aware of the beneficiary aspects of organic products & thrive to use these products for consumption. Once if the government of these countries endorses organic livestock farming as a policy and if awareness formed & technical assistance is provided among the communities of both urban & rural areas, people tend to produce more of the organic livestock products so this will increase the supply & compensate the price of products.

Encourages Biodiversity:

Organic livestock farming provides energy for microbial activity & this has been suggested as an indicator of change for soil properties because the size & activity of the microbial quotient is directly related to the amount & quality of carbon available.

Organic livestock farms often explore biodiversity than conventional farms since it is usually with more trees, a wider diversity of crops & many different natural predators, which control pests & help prevent disease.

Livestock farmers could tend to think of insects as pests:

mosquitoes & various flies come to mind. Yet dung beetles & other similar insects help to take manure into the soil, where it feeds the microorganisms & eventually the pasture plants. Pollinators that assist the ecosystem function are beneficial to livestock & insects are vital to the food chain. You can encourage insects by having a diversity of flowering plants & by not using broad-spectrum insecticides

Benefits of Organic livestock farming:

Environment: Organic farmers & ranchers use practices that reduce impacts on the off-farm environment. They implement plans to avoid manure runoff, instead of using compost as fertilizer it to conserve nutrients. As well, farmers use sustainable practices such as crop rotation & cover crops to maintain soil fertility and protect soil & water quality.

Animal health: Pasture-based diets develop ruminants’ digestive health, making the rumen less acidic. This lower acidity increases the number of beneficial microorganisms that help ferment ruminants’ high-fiber diet. Pasture-based systems have been exposed to reduce hock lesions and other lameness, mastitis, veterinary expenses, & cull rates.

Although livestock is generally the last part of the farm to be certified organic, they are often central to the farm & can contribute to its success. Livestock plays an even critical role in organic farms than they do on conventional farms. Livestock on an organic farm plays the main role in:

Nutrient cycling: a process in which nutrients are returned to the soil through manure & compost. Amending soils with animal manures can increase microbial biomass, enzymatic activity & alter the structure of the microbial community.

Incorporation of feed crops, such as alfalfa, grasses into crop rotations assists to build soil organic matter. Increasing cropping options, adding diversity of the agro-ecosystem.

Weed control: feed crops can be used to suppress & control weeds and animals can be used to graze out weeds on crops or pastures

Preparing the ground for cropping:

Livestock farm such as pigs can ‘Plough’ rough or new land earlier than planting vegetables or grains, reducing tillage & weed control costs.

Interrupting insect & disease cycles by taking land out of cropping.

Adding value to grasslands & promoting the use of green manures Reducing the financial risks of farming by converting lower quality grain crops & screenings into profit and spreading income more evenly over the year.

Organic Certification:

It is a certification procedure for producers of organic food & other organic agriculture products. In general, any business straight involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, dairy farm, farmers, food processors & retailers. Certification is basically aimed at regulating & facilitating the sale of organic products to consumers and also prevents fraud.

The five major certifying bodies which monitor the standards for organic production & having worldwide acceptance are:-

– EU regulation (1804/1999),

– Organic Food Products Acts (OFPA) of USA,

– Draft Guidelines of Codex / WHO/ FAO,

– UK Register of Organic Food Standards (UKROFS)

– International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM)

Steps required for certification:

  1. The local certification group has to be contacted to know their standards as they vary from area to area & type of production.
  2. Study the standards & check by the certification agency if there is anything that is not clear.
  3. Submit a completed application & fees to the certification agency. Confidentiality is secure.
  4. The certification agency’s certification group will consider the application & if anything is in order, will hire a third party inspector to create an on-farm assessment periodically.
  5. The inspector submits a comprehensive report & committee member’s made a decision based on the report & sells products as ‘certified organic’. Some agencies charge licensing fees & have official stickers or labels, which may be purchased.

The followings are the National Standards for Organic Livestock Production (NSOLP) In India:

  • Landscape
  • Fertilization Policy
  • Animal husbandry management
  • Length of the conversion period
  • Brought –in Animals
  • Breeds & Breeding
  • Mutilations
  • Animal Nutrition
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Transport and Slaughter


Rabbit Farming for Meat

To fulfill the meals demand for growing population, we have to to find out other ways of meals manufacturing. The rabbit known as “Micro-Livestock” generally is a great supply of food manufacturing. There is a great opportunity of rabbit farming in our country. Rabbit needs small position and no more food for survival. Rabbit meat contains high ratio of protein, power, calcium and vitamin than other species of animal.

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The cholesterol fat and sodium is less than other meat. The meat of rabbit may be very testy, easily ate up and all non secular people can consume it. They grows very fast and the female rabbit produce 2-8 baby every time.

Rabbit Farming for Meat

They eat very low quality food and make prime quality of meat. Raising rabbit is usually a great source of revenue supply to the unemployed people and landless farmers. So, we need to elevate rabbit to meet the call for of protein in addition to to scale back poverty from our society.

We generally elevate rabbit as puppy. But if we raise them commercially then it will be a perfect source of source of revenue and a wonderful means of employment. The annual demand of meat in our country is about six million lots. But most effective a million lots of meat produced in our country, remainder of the meat we import from foreign nation.

According to the call for simplest 15-20 % of animal protein comes from the cattle which could be very less compared to the requirement. Further, this demand is increasing with population expansion.

An grownup person needs 120 grams of meat day-to-day. But we get best 20 grams on a mean. So, we will consider rabbit farming as a possible direction of animal protein. It is so easy to take care of rabbit farm than other animals. Every particular person of the circle of relatives can handle it.

Species of Rabbit:
There are many species of rabbit are available in our country. Among those Dark Gray (inner), Fox, Dutch, New Zealand White, New Zealand Black, New Zealand Red, Belgium White and Chinchilla are maximum favourite.

Rabbit Meat Quality
In many analysis it has discovered that, young rabbit meat is very top quality than the grownup rabbit meat. And the meat quality of male rabbit is high than female rabbit meat.

In many analysis it has discovered that, young rabbit meat is very top quality than the grownup rabbit meat. And the meat quality of male rabbit is high than female rabbit meat.

The quantity of ldl cholesterol and lipids increases and decreases protein with the increase of the rabbit age. On the opposite hand, female rabbit meat contains more lipid, fats and cholesterol.

Benefit of Rabbit Farming:
There are many benefits of farming rabbit. The primary advantages of raising rabbit in step with our country economic and ecological condition are described bellow.

.The rabbit is a very fast breeding animal.
.Their food changing fee is best than different animals.
.One female rabbit can provide delivery 2-eight child rabbit at a time.
.Rabbit will also be raised in a short place.
.More manufacturing can also be made in little cost.
.Rabbit meat may be very nutritious.
.In meat production it has a place after poultry.
.Wast subject matter of the kitchen, grass, plant leaves and so forth. are favourite food of rabbit. So, we will be able to elevate them using this commodities.
.Family exertions can be successfully carried out to rabbit farming.

Method of Raising Rabbit:
With a small investment we will be able to make area for rabbit in our house backyard or in development roof and get started rearing rabbit. We could make house for rearing rabbit in two methods.

Deep Litter Method:
This means is acceptable for less quantity of rabbit. The flooring will have to neatly made concrete. 4-5 inches intensity litter must make with husk, rice straw or wooden lath. In this technique at most 30 rabbit can be raised. The male rabbit will have to keep in a separate room from the female. In this method the possibilities of being suffering from sicknesses is prime. Moreover, it is vitally tricky to control the rabbit in this system.

Cage Method:
To stay rabbit commercially this technique is the most efficient. In the program the rabbit are saved in a cage made with iron plate. This cage could be very useful for raising more rabbit. In each and every cage it need to have the facilities of vital space. Male and female rabbit should stay break free every different. They should stay in identical rood when thy want mating to supply child rabbit.

Food Management
Food eating rate and nutrient requirements varies in step with the rabbit age and species. For right kind nutrition of an adult rabbit its food must contain 17-18 % crude protein, 14 p.c fiber, 7 % minerals and 2700 kilo calorie/kg of metabolic power.

Green leafy greens, seasonal vegetable, spinach greens, carrots, Muller, cucumber, inexperienced grass and vegetable wast can easily used as the food of rabbit. For business goal poultry food can also be served to feed the rabbit. Accordance with right kind food management they will have to provide sufficient water in line with their call for. Thus a farmer can be good fortune in rabbit farming.

Dairy industry in Pakistan

With the every passing day, dairy products are turning into dearer because are living stock farming has now not scientifically grown with the rise in inhabitants and also it didn’t fit with the tempo of urbanisation.Recently, milk prices in Karachi greater without any explanation why. In a short time of two years, milk prices have long past up from Rs 20 consistent with liter to Rs 25, appearing a 25 percent build up. Moreover, meat costs have additionally risen to about 25 % within the closing six months.

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In any such scenario, the one solution to control prices is to increase the dairy business on scientific strains, which won’t simplest provide meat and milk in plentiful quantities to the home shoppers but further amounts may also be exported.

Production of Livestock Product Pakistan 1998-2003
Livestock farmers urged to get maximum production

In spite of having a big population of LIVESTOCK, the rustic is passing some $40 million yearly at the import of formula milk best, which is the best possible quantity spent through any country on the earth in this explicit commodity.Currently, there are some 160 varieties of infant system milk available within the markets. While breast milk is the most efficient a mom can give her infant relating to a balanced and nutritious diet.

LIVESTOCK is the most important sector of agriculture in Pakistan. It accounts for 39 % of agricultural worth added and about nine.4 percent of the GDP. Its internet foreign currency income, in 2001-02, have been Its 51.5 billion, which was 12.3 p.c of the full export profits of the country.

The position of LIVESTOCK can be judged from the fact that about 35 million individuals are engaged in raising 2 to a few livestock/buffaloes and 5 to six sheeps/goats of their backyards and are deriving 20 to 25 percent source of revenue from it.

The LIVESTOCK, include livestock, buffaloes, sheep, goats, camels, horses, asses and mules. During the final 5 years, the mixed inhabitants of livestock, buffalo, sheep and goat greater from 113 million, 1998-99, to 125 million, 2002-03, depicting a complete build up

of 12 million or 24 lac heads in keeping with annum.

In the yr 2002-03, the domestic are living stock inhabitants was once estimated at 23.three million cattle, 24.eight million buffalo, 24.6 million sheep and 52.8 million goats. During 1998-03, most building up used to be within the population of goats, showing an build up of 70 lac heads or 14 lac heads in line with annum.

During this period, manufacturing of beef greater from 963 to 1060 thousand lots and mutton from 633 to702 thousand tonnes.

This displays that the entire increase in pork manufacturing used to be 97,000 tonnes or 15.4 thousand tonnes p.a., and mutton 69,000 tonnes or 14,000 tonnes

The per capita availability of milk was 150 litre and meat 19kg according to annum in 2000-01, which involves zero.41 litre milk in step with day and five.2 grams meat according to day.

To meet the home demand of milk and meat, the speed of expansion will have to be no less than 5 to 7 p.c in step with annum.

Despite an building up in milk and meat production, the prices have moved upward abnormally.

The recent building up in meat costs is attributed to the export of are living animals or meat to the Middle East and Afghanistan.

There was a time when animals used to be imported or smuggled from Afghanistan into Pakistan however after nine/11 the situation all at once took a ‘U’ turn. In Afghanistan, the war has critically affected the LIVESTOCK sector.

Thus Pakistan started exporting as a substitute of importing LIVESTOCK from Afghanistan.

According to respectable figures throughout July-August, 2002, animals value Rs 30 million made their approach to Afghanistan. Besides, the smuggling of LIVESTOCK from Pakistan to Afghanistan has additionally started in a large method to meet their home shortage of animals.

The nation, although wealthy in LIVESTOCK, hardly ever were given a possibility to export meat or meat merchandise to earn foreign currency. It was offered a chance when quite a lot of Middle East states stopped importing meat from European nations due to the incidence of the mad cow illness.

Meat export from Lahore began to start with of the yr 2000 when carcasses of goats and massive animals were airlifted.

The meat used to be processed beneath a special association between the exporters and the Metropolitan Corporation of Lahore, which runs four abattoirs in the town.

The exports of LIVESTOCK – cow, buffalo, sheep and goat – are discovering their way to the Gulf States, Iran and Afghanistan where there is a scarcity of fine high quality meat and, therefore, it instructions a prime value.

Traditionally, Europe was once the largest exporter of meat and meat by-products and LIVESTOCK and had been a big supply of foreign currency echange for a number of European countries.

Technically, meat from South Asia has a awesome quality, because of grazing and vegetable concentrates as the primary supply of LIVESTOCK feed right here, in opposition to bone and meat meal in Europe.

According to official figures, the export of LIVESTOCK, all the way through 2001-02, registered an odd growth of 51 percent to a price of Rs 221 million as compared to 2000-01, when exports of meat stood at Rs 146 million.

The estimated export of these four classes of LIVESTOCK is estimated to be more than Rs 275 million during the fiscal year of 2002-03.

A rising pattern in LIVESTOCK export was once also sustained all through the first two months of present fiscal yr as exports of animals price Rs 43 million were reported to had been accomplished.

There is a greater chance that this pattern would go unbridled if the government does now not take corrective measures to ensure a gentle provide of animals in the home marketplace.

As a result of this, the value-added leather trade, including leather garment producers who mostly use uncooked hides and skins acquired from cows, buffaloes, sheeps and goats are faced with a scarcity of raw material.

Therefore, the Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PLGMEA) chairman Fawad Ijaz and the Pakistan Tanners Association chairman S.M Naseem has advised the federal government to immediately impose a ban on export of LIVESTOCK.

Pakistan desires to proceed meat and are living animal export, besides meeting domestic demand, trendy meat processing plants and LIVESTOCK farms will have to be set up in every single place the rustic.

Here we’re giving some main points of new to arrange a unit to boost 50 animals on industrial basis, for more details Smeda may also be contacted.


Dairy farming is an agro-based activity, buffaloes and cows can be raised for milk production in an organised manner for commercial goal.

For this mission, animals can be purchased from the animal markets or breeders in Sahiwal, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad.

More than 70 percent farmers hold not up to 5 acres of land. Dairy farming may end up a successful industry for small landholders.

They can also grow fodder on their land to feed dairy animals, with out annoying the principle crop.

Dairy farming is without doubt one of the absolute best initiatives if professionally done on small land holdings. The go back of the land used for feeding animals is higher as compared to land used for standard cropping.

The economical measurement of the herd is 50 animals, which can develop into 180 animals inside a couple of years. Cows also are proposed within the herd, as they are prime yields and efficient converters of feed into milk.

This herd would include 75 p.c buffaloes and 25 p.c cows. A cow, on reasonable, yields 14 litres milk a day over a lactation duration of 305 days while the buffalo, on a mean, yields 10 litres an afternoon over a lactation duration of 280 days.

The lactation duration is the period throughout which the animals provide milk. These animals are referred to as wet animals. Generally the lactation days of cows are 305 days and that of buffaloes is 280 days.

For calculation, 77 % of the entire selection of cows has been taken as rainy cows and 67 p.c of the overall number of buffaloes as rainy buffaloes.

The calving period in a buffalo is set 18 to 20 months, while a cow has 15 to 16 months.

On a mean, cows are productive for 7 to eight years, while buffaloes are productive for eight to nine years. Male calves will be bought on the end of 12 months or can also be reared one after the other for pork manufacturing.

Pakistan is the fifth greatest milk producer on this planet. Milk production is 28 million tonnes from 125 million heads. Milk is used for ingesting, tea, desi ghee, yogurt and butter making.

Milk is also used to make Khoya and different types of sweets. Milk processing corporations use milk as a raw material to formulate various kinds of milk ie pasteurised milk, UHT milk, condensed milk, skimmed milk, milk powder, and so forth Different price added merchandise like yogurt, ice cream, butter and cheese also are made out of the uncooked milk.

The daily consumption of milk in Lahore is 2 to three million litres and that of Karachi is four million litres.The call for for processed milk has greater its proportion in high quality mindful shoppers. During the remaining twenty years, processed milk has achieved four p.c share within the milk marketplace of Lahore, which is rising to about four.five p.c in step with annum. Therefore, metropolitan towns are the main markets for the sale of milk.

The capital price shall be budgeted for 4 years; therefore the preliminary infrastructure value has been calculated on the foundation of a 4th 12 months infrastructure requirement.

The overall cost of the undertaking is estimated, by way of Smeda, to be about Rs 2.94 million, out of which the capital value of the mission is Rs 2.67 million. Total infrastructure cost of 13 thousand squareft could be about Rs 842,388.

Besides hiring a tractor for fodder sowing, only a few simple farm apparatus’s like a fodder chopper, water pumps, milk utensils will be bought.

With the golf green fodder, to increase animal productivity, the ration feed can be given, which contains cotton seed truffles, corn gluten, wheat bran, molasses, and choker. About 1 kg of concentrate is needed for the manufacturing of three litres of milk.

There is not any fixed fodder requirement for the animals but a rule of thumb says that an animal needs daily fodder equal to nine to 10 p.c of its frame weight. According to estimates, buffalo consumes 40-55 kg fodder day by day while cow consumes about 30-40 kg. For a high yield the animals would be consumed a prime protein diet concentrate.

For this dairy venture, manpower requirement is 7 for appearing different activities like feeding, milking, and so forth, which would possibly cost about Rs 240,000.

Animals are susceptible to some sort of disease, at any stage of their life. Disease like foot and mouth, diarrhea and digestive problems are very common in animals, which have an effect on the productiveness of the LIVESTOCK.

Only right kind vaccination can stay the animals wholesome. Healthy and high yielding milk animals are the key to the success of a farm.

Sheep Diseases, Symptoms, Treatment Guide

Sheep Diseases, Symptoms, Treatment Guide

Diseases and Prevention in Sheep:

Sheep are affected by a variety of infectious and noninfectious diseases. Some diseases are called zoonotic diseases, which are dangerous to human beings. Below are diseases that are seen in sheep farming.

Abomasal bloat:

This disease mainly affects the artificially-reared lambs. This disease mainly effects the sheep that are hand-fed with warm milk.

Symptoms: Abomasal bloat is a bacterial disease, the infected lambs have swollen bellies and abdominal pain and discomfort.

Treatment: antibiotics are available for this disease, consult the veterinarian for treatment. Add probiotics or yogurt to milk replacements will prevent this disease.

Abomasal emptying defect (AED):

This disease mainly effects the Suffolk sheep over the age of two.

  • Symptoms: loss of appetite and loss of weight.
  • Treatment: Treatment will be successful when the disease is diagnosed at an early stage, it’s  tough to cure disease in an advanced stage. Affected sheep should not be kept for breeding. Consult the veterinarian if you observe sudden weight in sheep.


Abortion in sheep is due to common infectious cause of Chlamydia (Enzootic abortion), Campylobacter (Vibrio), and Toxoplasma gondii (Toxoplasmosis).

  • Brucellosis: Brucellosis is an infectious disease seen in sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, dogs, and other animals. This causes abortion during the second half of gestation.
  • Cache Valley Virus: it is a virus spread through mosquitoes. This virus may lead to abortion, if the sheep is infected at less than 28 days of gestation. And it won’t show any adverse effects if infected after 45 days of pregnancy.
  • Campylobacteriosis (Vibrio, vibriosis): Abortions at last months or gives birth to weak baby. Vaccinations and antibiotics are available. Good sanitation and constant supervision will keep protect them this disease.
  • Leptospirosis: this disease occurs during the  last month of pregnancy.
  • Q Fever: it is a  bacterial disease, causes abortion during the last months of pregnancy.  Symptoms are illness and loss of appetite.
  • Salmonella: this disease may cause abortion in early or last month’s gestation. Symptoms are diarrhea, metritis, peritonitis and septicemia.
  • Vaccination schedule: Vaccination should be done before breeding and repeated in 60 to 90 days. Vaccination should be done annually.


Lactic acidosis is a disease due excess grain feeds, excess grains in feed will produce high levels of acid.

  • Symptoms: depression, abdominal pain and listless. Acidity in sheep is a serious problem.
  • Treatment: Affected sheep should be treated with antacids like carmalax, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), or products containing magnesium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide. This disease can be controlled by proper feeding management. Grains should be introduced gradually in a proper quantity.


Arthritis is inflammation of the joints of the legs, which leads to loss production, loss of carcass value and may lead to death. This is bacterial diseases that enters the body through wounds or broken skin, for example, the infection enters through the umbilical cord after delivering, during docking, castration, and ear tagging.

  • Symptoms: Infected sheep will have swollen joint, and feel hot, and painful to move.
  • Treatment: Treatment is by giving massive doses of antibiotics. Best method to prevent arthritis is through good sanitation and hygiene.

Bacterial meningitis

Bacterial meningitis mainly affects lambs 2 to 4 weeks old.

  • Symptoms: Depression, hunger, and extreme weakness. Affected lambs sometimes have abdominal gait.
  • Treatment: Treat this disease with antibiotics and consult the veterinarian as soon as observe early symptoms.

Bent leg:

Bent leg is a disease due to malfunction of bone metabolism. Affects the lambs of age between 6 and 12 months.

  • Prevention and Treatment: Balanced feed, avoid high protein food, increase feed rich calcium and phosphorous, and the house should have good exposure to the sun in winter.


Bloat affected due to excess gas elimination. Bloat can be serious problem can lead to death in case of negligence.

  • Symptoms: The skin on the left side of the animal behind the last rib may appear distended.

There are 2 sorts of bloat: frothy and free gas.

  • Frothy Bloat: this causes due to consumption of legume forages, grazing in cereal pasture or wet grass pastures. Treatment-treat the infected sheep with anti-foaming agent.
  • Free Gas Bloat: occurs due to excess grain feedings. Treatment: inserting a needle or trochar into the abdomen can relieve from this problem.


It is a viral disease; infected flock may die.

  • Symptoms: Inflammation, swelling, and hemorrhage of the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and tongue. Soreness and inflammation of the feet can also be observed in infected sheep.
  • Treatments: Vaccinations are available, but they don’t prevent this completely. Pregnant sheep should not be vaccinated.

Border Disease: This disease mainly seen in newborn lambs.

  • Symptoms: Infected lambs have a hairy coat and trembles uncontrollably. Sheep affected by this disease will symptoms like open ewes, abortion, weak and frail lambs, abnormal hair coat, and nervous weakness that makes lamb shake.
  • Prevention and Treatment: There is no treatment for this disease, virus won’t respond to the antibiotics. Consult the veterinarian in case you observe any symptoms.

Caseous Lymphadenitis:

It is a contagious disease, that infect lymphatic system.

  • Symptoms: You can observe abscess formation in the lymph nodes, which discharges pus to surroundings, when ruptured or cut. When the infection spread gradually, the infected animals will loss weight and become emaciated.
  • Treatment: Good hygiene can control this disease to some extent. Vaccination is available, consult the veterinarian for schedule.

Clostridial Diseases:

Clostridial diseases are enterotoxemias (C, D), and tetanus.

Enterotoxemia type C: It mainly infects the lambs during the first few weeks of birth. This disease causes due to indigestion, change in feed, or increase in milk supply.

  • Treatment: Vaccinating the pregnant sheep 30 days before lambing is the better the preventive method.

Enterotoxemia type D: This disease causes due to overeating. Mainly affects the largest and fast-growing lambs that consume high concentrate rations.

  • Treatment: Vaccinate the pregnant sheep 30 days before lambing for prevention.


This is a disease that enters through the wounds.

  • Symptoms: The infected animals will have stiff gait; the sheep go down with legs held out straight and stiff and head drawn back.
  • Treatment: Vaccinations, antibiotics and anti-serum and available. Vaccinate the pregnant sheep 30 days before the lambing. If you don’t vaccinate pregnant ewes, treat the lamb with anti-toxin at time docking or castrating.
  1. Coli scours (watery mouth): This disease affects due to poor sanitation.
  • Symptoms: Diarrhea, watery mouth, dehydration, and coma.
  • Treatment: Treat the infected sheep with  oral, subcutaneous or intraperitoneal fluids and treatment antibiotics consulting veterinarian. Good sanitation in the house, providing clean and dry environment for lambing will prevent this disease.

Entropion: It is an eye disease, the lower eyelid is inverted, which causes eyelashes of the lower lid to brush against the eye. This may lead to corneal ulceration, scarring, and blindness. This infection affects one or both eyes.

Treatment: Treat the infection by injecting antibiotics to the skin of the affected eyelid. Consult veterinarian if you observe eye infection in sheep.

Fly Strike (blow flies, wool maggots, fleece worms, myiasis): It is the infestation of flesh, more common in sheep due to their thick wool. Wool attracts the flies mainly in the summer season.

  • Treatment: Docking, shearing and removing contaminated wool will prevent flystrike. You can use insecticides which are the best method to control flystrike.

Lice: These are small insects they stay on the skin and cause severe irritation and itching. Severe infection can lead to anemia.

  • Treatment: Use the insecticides to control lice.

Nasal bots (bot flies, head bots): Bot flies deposits tiny larvae on the muzzles or nostrils.

  • Symptoms: Snotty nose, weight reduction and sinuses are major symptoms. Infected Animals make their heads down or hide in a corner.
  • Treatment: Use suitable insecticide formulation containing ivermectin  by consulting a veterinarian.

Scabies: It is contagious diseases in sheep, sheep scab caused by mites feeding on sheep skin.

  • Symptoms: Severe wool fall, itching and reddened skin.
  • Treatment: The best method treat this kind of insecticides is to dip the sheep in insecticides.

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD): It is a common disease in sheep.

  • Symptoms: High fever, blisters on the tongues, lips, mouth, teats and hooves. Infected sheep losses its weight and you can observe reduced milk and meat production. This disease cause mortality in young animals.
  • Treatment:Vaccinations are available and consult the veterinarian for suitable medicine.

Footrot: It is highly contagious bacterial disease, caused by a bacteria that lives in animal hoof.

  • Symptoms: Lameness, and foul odor from the infected area.
  • Treatment: This disease can be controlled by hoof trimming, vaccination, foot bathing and soaking and culling. Zinc sulfate is the most effective foot rot treatment.

Foot Scald:

  • Symptoms: Sheep toes turn blanched or white, or red and swelled. A wet environment is the root cause for this disease.
  • Treatment: Keep infected sheep in a dry area free from mud and water. Treat the infected sheep with koopertox or zinc sulfate foot batbath.

Goiter: It is a disease caused due to enlargement of the thyroid gland. Low levels of iodine in pregnant sheep are the main cause of this disease in newborn lambs.

  • Symptoms: Swollen throat, low or no wool production, weakness and loss of appetite.
  • Treatment: There is treatment for this disease, the infected sheep can  be survived if the disease is in early stage. Feeding the pregnant sheep with food that contains 0.07% of iodine will protect newborn from this disease.

Grass tetany: It is the most common disease that affects due to magnesium deficiency. This problem mainly raises in within 4-6 weeks of lambing.

  • Symptoms:  Infected sheep are sensitive to touch and trembling of the facial muscles and are unable to move, in some cases, they may collapse and show repeated tetanic spasms with legs extended upwards. Treatment: Treat the infected sheep with calcium borogluconate and magnesium hypophosphite. Or can add supplemental magnesium to feed.

Hypothermia (chilling): It is a serious disease that leads to death in lambs. Mainly infects the new born lambs, newborn cannot regulate their body temperature during their first 48 hours.

  • Symptoms: Low body temperature (36°C or below).
  • Treatment: If the infected lamb is five hours old treat it with intraperitoneal injection. Lambs should the covered with a dry towel and put in the warming box using dry heat. Feed the infected sheep with colostrum. Consult veterinarian for proper guidance. Provide clean and warm shelter foe ewes and new born.

Internal Parasites Diseases in Sheep:

Cryptosporidios: Usually infects the young lambs of age below one month.

  • Symptoms: Dehydration, diarrhea, weak, and are unable to suck the milk.
  • Prevention and Treatment: Keeping the house and lamb clean is best prevention method.  Keep the new born in dry clean and warm area. Consult veterinarian if you observe symptoms for proper treatment.

Coccidiosis: This disease mainly infects the lamb due to stress.

  • Symptoms: The main symptom is diarrhea may be bloody or smeared with mucous.
  • Treatment: This disease mainly infects die to overstocking and poor hygiene. It can be prevented by using Lasolocid (Bovatec®), Monensin (Rumensin®), or Decoquinate (Deccox®) in the feed or mineral. It can treatment with Amprolium or sulfa medications.

Stomach worms: Sheep are highly affected with stomach worms (barber pole and brown worm). These parasites are blood sucking and causing blood and protein loss.

  • Symptoms: Anemia (pale eyelid) and diarrhea.
  • Treatment: Worm vaccination is  available, deworm the sheep for every six months.

Tapeworms: symptoms: Diarrhea:, weight loss, and illness.

  • Treatment: Treat the infected sheep with benzimadazoles and Praziquantel (available extra-label in Quest® Plus or Zimectrin® Gold). Good sanitation and nutritional feed will prevent this disease.

Joint or navel ill: Mainly occurs in young lambs of age up to one month.

  • Symptoms: Fever, inactive, swollen and infected navels. Infected lambs often lame in several joints, usually limb joints, including fetlocks, knees, hocks and stifles.
  • Treatment: Treat the infected lamb with a long-acting penicillin. Joint ill can be prevented by good hygiene and using a navel dip, such as betadine or gentle iodine.

Lameness: Lameness in sheep occurs due to foot conditions like Footrot and scald, strawberry foot, foot abscess, foot-and-mouth disease, Bluetongue, scald, sore mouth, arthritis, nutritional deficiencies, and physical injuries.

  • Treatment:Regular hoof inspection and foot pairing will control these problems.

Milk fever:

Milk fever is a metabolic disease that affects pregnant ewes. It is most commonly caused calcium deficiency prior or after lambing.

  • Symptoms: High fever and illness.
  • Treatment: Milk fever can be prevented by giving proper levels of calcium in ewe diets mainly during late gestation. Milk fever can be treated with calcium gluconate.

Pink eye: Highly contagious disease in sheep.  This disease lasts up to three weeks in each sheep.

  • Treatment: It can be treated with antibiotics, consult veterinarian for medication. There are effective vaccinations for this disease.

Pneumonia: It is a  respiratory disease in sheep.

  • Symptoms: Depression, cough, breathing problems, high fever and loss of appetite.
  • Treatment: Antibiotics are available to treat this disease, consult the veterinarian as soon as you observe above symptoms.

Polio: It is a disease of the central nervous system. Mainly affects the lambs that consume high concentrate diets and caused due to vitamin B1 deficiency.

  • Symptoms: Blindness and stargazing.
  • Treatment: Consult the veterinarian as soon you observe blindness in lamb.

Polyarthritis: It mainly infects the nursing lambs, recently weaned lambs, and feedlot lambs.

  • Symptoms: Stiffness, reluctance to move, depression, loss of body weight, and conjunctivitis
  • Treatment: Infected Lambs are with broad-spectrum antibiotics or tetracycline drugs.

Pregnancy Toxemia: It is a metabolic disease that affects ewes during the last months of pregnancy. It is a common disease in thin ewes, overweight ewes, older ewes, and/or ewes carrying multiple fetuses.

  • Treatment: Provide good amounts of glucose to the ewe intravenously or propylene glycol or molasses orally. Feed the ewes with energy foods 1 lbs of grains per day.

Rabies: It is a viral disease spread through bites or scratches, abrasions, or open wounds in the skin.

  • Symptoms: Difficulty in swallowing, watery mouth, abnormal behavior, lethargy and lying down, and paralysis.
  • Treatment: Vaccination is available, vaccinate the sheep with rabies vaccine.

Ringworm: It is a fungal infection, primarily shown in lambs.

  • Symptoms: Lesions on the head, neck, and back.
  • Treatment: Treat them with anti-fungal agents. Good sanitation will prevent this disease.

Soremouth: It is a most common skin disease in sheep.

  • Symptoms: It is a viral infection forms scab on the skin, usually around the mouth, nostrils, eyes, mammary gland and vulva.
  • Treatment: There is no treatment for this infection, this disease will run its course for 4 weeks. Vaccinations are available, vaccinate the sheep annually to prevent this disease.

Urinary calculi: This disease causes stones in the urinary tract and blockage of  the urethra.

  • Symptoms: Causes retention of urine, abdominal pain, distention and rupture of the urethra or bladder.
  • Treatment: Providing good balanced diet with minerals in proper ration is preferred. Add ammonium chloride to the ration will prevent urinary calculi. Adding salt to ration will increase water intake and reduce chances for stone formation.

White muscle disease: This disease mainly caused due to vitamin deficiency.

  • Symptoms: Stiffness of the hind legs with an arched back and tucked in flanks.
  • Treatment: Give selenium and vitamin E by injection. Feed ration should provide adequate levels of selenium and vitamin E. Dietary supplementation of selenium and vitamin E is usually preferred to selenium injections.

Poultry farming in Pakistan | Make Money – from Poultry | Best Idea for making Money

In Pakistan after textile industry Poultry farming is second industry because this business is start form small to large level so this is upto you start poultry faring under you capacity. Different type of poultry farming is famous in different country like ducks, chickens, turkeys and geese but her we want to mention in Pakistan just chickens poultry farming is famous. Through this page Poultry Farming in Pakistan Guide in Urdu is available so if you cannot able to understand English language then read Urdu tutorial. according to my poultry farming small level experience start chickens eggs business and just purchase few number of chickens in different type and sale eggs that is called layers.