Two brother and their families make a living on 1200 dairy goats, 400 hectares and a small farm dairy. SOLID helped them improve their feeding strategy.
By Ulla Skovsbøl
Hundreds of black goats swarm around the visitors as the agricultural scientists of the SOLID project approach the Pérez Family Farm in the Andalusian countryside outside Granada on for a farm visit.
José Luis Perez Peula and his brother Antonio Perez Peula run the farm with two milkers and a an elderly goat herd, while his daughter Belén is in charge of the farm dairy producing a delicious goat cheese using 20 percent of the milk produced on farm by his daughter Belen Peréz Peula – the rest is delivered to the local dairy.
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!
SOLID-partners are developing software intended to optimise feeding management within organic and conventional low input dairy systems. First part of the model – a simulation of feed demand – is ready. It works as a useful library or starting point for other users and developers.
Productive land is subject to many competing demands such as increased food production to meet the needs of a growing world populatio, demand for biomass for bioenergy such as short rotation coppice to meet the EU Renewable Energy Directive target of 20% of Europe’s energy from renewable sources by 2020, and the demand for farm land to support and deliver ecosystem services such as safeguarding soil, water and air quality, mitigating climate change, and supporting biodiversity.