Based on research from the SOLID project Spanish nutritionists recommend Mediterranean farmers to apply a low input strategy using by-products from the olive- and greenhouse industry as feed for dairy goats.
By Ulla Skovsbøl
Tomato salad with rich olive oil is a simple but delicious dish on the Mediterranean dining table. But tomatoes and olives are not only suited for the human diet – silages made out of waste from the olive and tomato industries have also proved to be an attractive feed for dairy goats.
Within the SOLID project the scientists at the Animal Nutrition Institute at the research institution CSIC in Granada have tested a broad range of by-products fit for husbandry production on low input farms.
In particular, leaves and pulp from the olive oil industry and wasted fruits from the intensive greenhouse production – primarily tomatoes – appeared to be promising as goat feed.
Both types of products were fed as silage and tested in vitro as well as in vivo at the institute and also on case study farms. Silage made out of tomato waste mixed with straw and barley appears to be very well suited for feeding ruminants, although the challenge is the high moisture of the tomatoes.
Goats apparently love cauliflower. The video shot by Spanish animal nutritionists involved in the SOLID project leaves no doubt. The movie star goats belong to the Pérez Family, who run a dairy goat farm outside Granada in Southern Spain.
The farm has been involved in the participatory research conducted by the Animal Nutrition Institute at CSIC in Granada aimed at finding the means to reduce livestock feeding costs as part of the SOLID project.
Apparently, the goats also enjoyed being involved in SOLID, in particular as it implied new and interesting diets such as self-service dinner in the cauliflower field, humorously documented on the video. They also tested silage made with waste from the tomato and olive industries but self-service cauliflowers was the winner!
Marco Horn, a young livestock scientist from Austria, did his Ph.D. as part of the SOLID project which gave him a unique opportunity to become part of an international network of more experienced livestock scientists.
By Ulla Skovsbøl
A number of young scientists have benefitted from being involved in research in organic and low input farming systems within the SOLID project. One of them is Marco Horn – a young livestock scientist from Austria who did his Ph.D. at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Austria as part of the SOLID project. At the annual SOLID meeting in Granada in May 2015, he agreed to give an interview about his SOLID experience:
The annual SOLID meeting in Granada was a major step forward for SOLID towards the completion of the entire project. A very successful meeting, according to the overall project leader of SOLID, Nigel Scollan.
By Ulla Skovsbøl
For two days in May the elegant lobby and the shady conference rooms of Hotel Saray in Granada buzzed with intensive discussions on cows and goats, organic farming methods and low-input farming, breeding and feeding and milk production as about 50 agricultural scientists and stakeholders from most of the 10 EU countries involved in the SOLID project met for the 5th Annual Project and Stakeholder Platform Meeting.
The participants agreed that the scientific discussions in plenum as well as in smaller groups were fruitful, but also the excursions and the social events contributed to make the Granada-meeting a success.
“It was fantastic to have the privilege of visiting Granada for the 5th Annual Project meeting of SOLID. The location was excellent and it was a delight to see so many of the “SOLID family” together. The meeting provided a forum for each of our work packages to update on progress and permit discussion with our stakeholders on implications of the research conducted,” SOLID´s overall project leader Nigel Scollan, Aberystwyth University (UK), says.
Participatory research has become a useful tool for many animal scientists thanks to the SOLID project. In Spain the scientists at the Animal Nutrition Institute in Granada have experienced how working with the farmers can add new dimensions and a broader perspective to their scientific work.
By Ulla Skovsbøl
The agricultural scientists from 10 European countries involved in the SOLID project on low-input and organic dairy production have so far not only produced and published scientific results since the project started in 2011 – but many of them have also developed new skills and been able to add new tools to their science tool box.
“The major benefit of being involved with SOLID is becoming part of an international network of agricultural scientists with very diverse backgrounds. The cross-border cooperation has a major positive influence on our science,” says David R. Yáñez-Ruiz, a Spanish nutritionist well-known to all the participants at SOLID´s 5th Annual Project and Stakeholder Platform Meeting in Granada (May 2015).