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Workshop 1.6

Linking scientists and farmers, research and application - methods of on-farm research projects in livestock sciences


Christine Leeb and Christoph Winckler, Division of Livestock Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Katharina Schodl, Doctoral School of Sustainable Development (dokNE), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

If you have any questions regarding this workshop, please turn directly to the convenors by sending an email.


Applied projects in livestock sciences increasingly involve on-farm research and a combination of various research areas. This workshop aims at discussing different approaches in the realm of on-farm livestock farming research by using experiences gained from different projects dealing with topics linked to livestock farming systems like animal health and welfare, environmental issues, farm development plans, sustainable farming practices, etc.


In livestock sciences applied research projects increasingly use on-farm research and data collection. This involves a different approach and framing than “conventional” scientific projects, which are carried out under standardised conditions. Problem framing and data collection has to be more flexible and interpreting the results has to take into account different backgrounds and conditions on the farms. However, these projects present a good opportunity for integrating scientific and practical knowledge because the farmers’ experiences and knowledge can also be considered during the data collection or even already in the problem framing process. This again can enhance the applicability of the results and facilitates knowledge exchange and collective learning. However, this very applied approach often presents a challenge for the collection of sound scientific data and profound analysis. Furthermore, the on farm approach requires consideration of different research areas, such as animal welfare science, ecology, economy or sociology. This provides opportunities to reflect the complex nature of a farm; however, challenges regarding the integration and evaluation of methods and results in those different areas have to be solved. Interesting questions to discuss are e.g. the potential interactions of animal welfare and environmental impact ( e.g. (How) are CO2 Emissions and welfare state of the animals correlated? Does it make sense (and how) to integrate various scores into one outcome for one farm?). Furthermore, ways of communication with and integration of stakeholders during the process of those projects will be discussed. This workshop aims at presenting and discussing projects from livestock sciences, which take an on-farm approach and aim at stakeholder integration, applicable results and knowledge integration. Projects related to various topics linked to livestock farming systems like e.g. animal health and welfare, environmental issues, farm development plans, sustainable farming practices, etc. or combinations of these are very much welcome to participate. Furthermore, group discussions about approaches, methods and encountered problems will be emphasized and discussed.


The first half of the one-day workshop will consist of short poster-presentations and their discussions in a “market-atmosphere” allowing sufficient time for exchange. In the second part, group-discussions on questions linked to the projects (e.g. methodological questions, different approaches, experiences and insights) will take place. As an outcome, the groups will create posters and present them in a plenary session.

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