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September Project - IMPRO

Eu Events is very pleased to present the next "Project of the Month": IMPRO, co-funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme


IMPRO (“Impact matrix analysis and cost-benefit calculations to improve management practices regarding health status in organic dairy farming”) is a project funded in the 7th Framework Programme, addressing the current state of animal health in organic dairy farming and looking at ways of improving it.

Despite the EU organic farming regulation with its higher minimum standards, animal health status varies a lot between organic farms. Indeed, the prevalence of production diseases on organic dairy farms does not generally differ from levels reported on conventional dairy farms. New approaches are therefore required to identify effective and cost-efficient strategies for organic dairy farming which produce results corresponding to the expectations consumers of organic products have.

Production diseases are the result of complex interactions occurring between numerous factors on the farm level. Accordingly, there is a need to take the interconnectedness of factors by which production diseases emerge within farm systems into account. During the past four years, research within IMPRO has aimed at developing tools to foster farm specific and systemic decision making support in order to reduce production diseases.

IMPRO partners are:

  • University of Kassel, Department of Animal Health and Animal Nutrition - Germany

  • Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitets, Department of Clinical Sciences - Sweden

  • Veterinary School of Nantes – ONIRIS, Research Unit Biology, Epidemiology and Risk Analysis in Animal Health - BIOEPAR - France

  • Wageningen University, Business Economics - The Netherlands

  • Institut de Recerca i Tecnología Agroalimentàries, Department of Animal Nutrition, Welfare and Health - Spain

  • Data Service Paretz GmbH - Germany

  • University of Reading, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development - United Kingdom

Project Outcomes

The transdisciplinary IMPRO project has developed a participatory and
equifinal approach, bringing together farmers and their animal health advisors to undertake farm-specific analyses of dairy health management. The project employed a series of tools to help understand the particulars, reduce the complexity of individual farm systems, and develop farm specific strategies for improvements in health management practice.

More than 200 organic dairy farmer, together with their animal health advisors, participated in the project and contributed to the assessment of the level of extant production diseases, the estimation of the costs of these diseases and the benefits of animal health improvements, as well as undertake an examination of the motivation and attitudes of farmers, and their animal health advisors to a range of measures to improve animal health.

Decision-support tools were developed to foster a participatory assessment of the farm system, bringing together the different perspectives and expertise of the people involved. Furthermore, a pro-active monitoring protocol was developed to improve the effectiveness of prevention and treatment strategies, and the effectiveness and practicalities of alternative treatments were assessed.

IMPRO Final Conference

Approaches and framework conditions for the improvement of animal health in organic dairy farming are the subject of the final IMPRO workshop taking place on 9th September in Brussels. Members of the IMPRO team will present research outcomes from the project. They will also discuss tools with stakeholders, and the possible implications of a participatory approach for improving and making animal health status on organic dairy farms consistent. A detailed agenda and registration form are available at www.impro-dairy.eu/workshop.