SWEDEN: Organic farms have lower animal density

Sweden should guard against over-intensification of farming practices if it wants to control nitrogen run-off into the Baltic and Skagerrak Seas, says the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SNF).

The SNF wants Swedish authorities to pay attention to the results of a study showing that organic farms have a lower animal density than conventional farms. The environmentalists say that intensive farming practices are a threat to the health of the Baltic Sea and Skagerrak Sea (between Sweden, Norway and Denmark) and that a programme to reduce animal density would lead to lower nitrogen run-off.

In order to compare the estimated nitrogen run-off levels between organic and conventional farms, the SNF commissioned a study by the Swedish Institute of Agricultural Engineering (JTI). “We found that the biggest difference is that organic farming is less intensive,” a SNF spokesperson told edie. Conventional dairy farms included in the study had an average animal density of 0.82 ha, while organic dairy farms averaged 0.74 ha. Yields per cow were also higher on conventional farms.

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