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Webinaire le 5 juin : Développement des très grands troupeaux laitiers dans différents pays du monde : forces motrices, enjeux et impacts

By May 6, 2024June 12th, 2024No Comments

Document type Webinar announcement published on the Académie d'Agriculture de France website

Host: André Pflimlin

Abstract: The issues surrounding very large dairy farms would seem to be almost taboo in France since the disappearance of the '1000-cow project', the only one of its kind in this country, but the rapid development of such farms in the USA and China and their spread to other continents raises a number of questions. The aim of this webinar session is to provide an initial overview of the situation, attempting to explain the reasons for the proliferation of these very large herds in different parts of the world, and to understand what future there is for them, looking at their advantages and their limitations given the diversity of the pedoclimatic, socioeconomic and cultural contexts in which they are created. In the United States, these very large herds are mainly found in the West of the country but, with an increased risk of water shortages and the resultant loss  of forage security, many have migrated to the crop-growing areas of the Midwest and are now establishing themselves in the Northeast, supplanting family farms. In China, in the wake of the melamine scandal, the government has supported a restructuring policy that is highly favorable to high-tech dairy mega-farms to ensure the country's self-sufficiency. Still a rare sight just fifteen years ago, farms with more than 1,000 cows now account for almost half the country's livestock and more than half the milk brought to market. Conversely, India has become the world leader in microherd milk production, providing a livelihood for nearly a hundred million families. Despite the announcement of the development of a future export sector based on large herds, the latter remain rare, with their development hampered by numerous constraints. In Europe, these large herds have barely developed outside the Eastern Member States, where they are a legacy of collective farming. However, the end of quotas has rekindled the race for expansion, with a new class of herds of over 500 cows developing rapidly, particularly in Northern Europe and Spain, but not in France. Beyond this country-by-country analysis and an examination of the driving forces at work, we'll be looking at the contribution of such mega-farms to the challenges of food security and employment, but also to human and animal welfare, as well as environmental and climate conservation. After this broad overview, we'll try to draw some lessons for France, and make a few more concrete recommendations.

Live on our YouTube channel from 2.30pm:

Logo of the French Academy of Agriculture
From the website of the French Academy of Agriculture