OASYS Producing bioclimatic milk in system experiments

INRAE project (June 2013 – 20 years period)

The OASYS dairy system has been redesigned globally with several partners using an agroecological approach and to be adapted to climate change. This system has been implemented at the INRA Forages, Environment, Ruminants experimental unit in Lusignan (Vienne) since the end of 2013.

It is based on a diversification of fodder resources (including trees), the development of pasture and leguminous, the recycling of water and nutrients, and on a breeding strategy adapted to this new fodder system (two calving periods, extended lactations, cross cows).

Figure: Implementation of grazed agro-forestry plots

Grassland grazing covers 100% of animal needs in spring, 50% in summer and autumn and 25% in winter, thanks to 2 rotations. The first is entirely grazable in order to limit interventions (and therefore the energy used), and the 2nd is grazable or harvestable to cope with climatic hazards (building up of stocks). Another rotation in a non-grazing area alternating stock meadows and dual-use crops (grains, fodder) completes the ration. Woody trees have been planted in the plots to provide an aerial fodder resource in delicate periods, offset the growth of the grass and limit the heat stress of the animals.

The herd consists of 72 dairy cows with 2 calving seasons (spring and autumn) to limit the needs of the herd at critical periods. Early calving at 2 years and long lactations to limit non-productive periods complete the system.

The herd is engaged in a rotational crossing with three breeds (Holstein, Scandinavian Red, Jersiaise).

Figure: Calves from a cross of three breeds

Its long-term multi-criteria evaluation aims to study to what extent a greater diversity of the components of a dairy system makes it possible to reconcile a level of production and high environmental performance, and to improve the resilience of the system in the face of hazards climatic.

Source: https://www6.inrae.fr/experimentations-systeme/Les-experimentations/Polyculture-elevage/Oasys

Manual AgriAdapt : 5 case studies of cattle in Spain, Germany, France and Estonia.