Welfare in the stable, an essential condition for modern animal husbandry
The care of dairy cows, boh in nutrition and in the management of the stable, is essential to make farms profitable. This is the recommendation that emerged from two livestock conferences held at Agrilevante
Animal welfare is the indispensable frontier of modern animal husbandry. It is no coincidence that Agrilevante, which this year for the first time gives ample space to livestock exhibitions, hosted two conferences on the welfare of raised animals. Explaining how animal welfare and ethical productions can be strategic to differentiate and enhance livestock productions was the topic addressed by the publisher Edizioni L’Informatore Agrario in the conference that was moderated by Director Antonio Boschetti, entitled “How much is welfare in the stable worth?”, held on Friday 11 October. For the president of the Regional Association of Breeders of Puglia, Piero Laterza (himself the owner of a dairy cow farm in Noci - Bari), welfare is worth a lot and will always be worth more on the market. “Puglia, which is the first region in the South and the fourth in Italy by importance of animal husbandry - Laterza said - can rightly achieve all the conditions to ensure welfare in the stable. The Apulian breeders send their animals to pasture, allowing them not only to feed themselves directly in the autumn-spring grasslands, but also to walk, live in the open air and strengthen their immune defences. Secondly, thanks to the extensive livestock farming they practice, they provide at least 70% of the annual feed supply through the production of farm fodder. Finally, since Apulian farms are mostly family-run, the relationship between farmers and animals is very close: we take care of them to the maximum of our abilities, ensuring them the best possible living conditions”. Welfare in the stable means respecting the ethology of the cow, in order to improve production and revenues, added Alessandro Fantini, a freelance professional. Raffaele Luigi Sciorsci of the University of Bari highlighted that the rational use of pharmaceuticals reduces costs and respects the cow, and Guido Visentin of Anafi noted that genetic selection aims to obtain more resistant Frisians.
The production of fodder was instead at the centre of the conference “Quality starting from the field” organized on Friday 11 October by AIA and Ara Puglia, introduced by Eros Gualandi, president of the Cooperative “Il raccolto” of Bologna, presenting applications of technology in their cultivation. “Feeding cows with high quality fodder is a guarantee not only of welfare, but also of sustainable milk production”, highlighted Giorgio Borreani, professor at the University of Turin. “Provided - said Igino Andrighetto, a professor at the University of Padua - that the forage is not too soft and straw is added if necessary, because cattle are ruminants and must ruminate”. Lastly, Gianluca Battaglia of the Computer Science Office of AIA presented the Si@llEvA® Mobile Project, “which allows you to quickly record all the information that the farmer observes while he is in the stable, in direct contact with the animals, entering the data on his mobile device and then using it on Si@llEvA desktop”.
by the editorial staff