Draseis GAIA 2022
The main actions implemented by DELTA as part of the GAIA Action Plan were the following:
- Soya cultivation in Greece, by DELTA, HAO-Demeter and the Agricultural University of Athens.
With a self-sufficiency rate of 30%, the European Union is clearly deficient in protein-rich animal feed. Policies which promote the expansion of agricultural land for the production of protein-rich animal feed are well underway, the long-term goal being the reduction of soya imports. As this problem is particularly acute in Greece, it is imperative that initiatives are taken to improve the country’s self-sufficiency in protein-rich animal feed and limit the dependency on imported, genetically-modified soy flour.
The cultivation of non-genetically modified soya in Greece is a viable alternative for the nutrition of milk-producing livestock. To this end, DELTA, in cooperation with the Research Institute of Animal Science of HAO-Demeter and the Agricultural University of Athens, studied the cultivation of non-genetically modified soya through two cultivations that took place on the Institute’s property, in 2018 and 2021.
The goal of this study was to evaluate the necessary cultivation conditions, the productivity, and the production costs of soya, in order to determine the viability of soya cultivation for the nutrition of milk-producing livestock in Greece. Due to its content in protein of high biological value, soy flour plays an important role in the feeding rations of milk-producing livestock. Even though its cultivation isn’t popular in Greece due to unsuccessful efforts in the past, it can offer a viable alternative, particularly if it is done by agricultural farms themselves for their own use.
The results of this study were presented at the 26th Scientific Conference of the Hellenic Society of Animal Production. The conference—which was co-sponsored by DELTA FOODS—took place in Agrinio, on October 5-7, 2020, and attracted a large audience. Particularly popular amongst participants was the study itself, titled “Pilot cultivation of non-genetically modified soya and animal-farming bean as alternative, protein-based animal-feed” signed by B. Kotsabasis, G. Symeon and G. Zervas.
The conclusion of the study was that the cultivation of non-genetically modified soya for the production of soybean is possible, in irrigated land with satisfactory efficiency—assuming that the recommended processes are being followed. According to the study, production per acre surpassed 650 kg. From a financial standpoint, it can also be considered efficient, since it produces protein-rich animal feed of high nutritional value which enhances the feeding rations of milk-producing livestock. Therefore, the cultivation of non-genetically modified soya in Greece offers substantial benefits and should be encouraged, as it will also help to limit the country’s dependency on the imported, genetically-modified variety.
The results of the study were also shared with the country’s animal farmers through their cooperation with the personnel in the Milk Zone Managing Dpt of DELTA, as well as the trade’s print and electronic media.
2. Study on sweet lupine and animal-farming bean as alternative protein-rich animal feed.
In the context of DELTA’s cooperation with the Agricultural University of Athens and
the Research Institute of Animal Science/Giannitsa of HAO-Demeter, a study is being conducted pertaining to alternative cultivations for the production of animal feed, with the goal of improving the sustainability of milk-producing animal farming.
Every year, pilot cultivations of leguminous plants—as well as other cultivations such as cocultures of vetch and barley, pea and oats, animal-farming bean and oats, sorghum, multigrain mixes, etc.—are taking place, in order to determine the qualitative and quantitative benefits of various combinations and the manner in which they can be included in animal feeding rations.
For the periods of 2021-2022 and 2022-2023, studies are also underway on the cultivation of sweet lupine and animal-farming bean as alternative, protein-rich animal feed. For 2022, the sowing took place in November, with the participation of DELTA employees.
3. Seminar by the Agricultural University of Athens titled “Rational Nutrition of Livestock: Modern Approaches and Practices aiming at Nutritional and Alimentary Safety”.
The above-mentioned seminar took place on April 11th,, at the Amphitheatre of the University’s Conference Room. It was organised by the Univeristy’s Interdepartmental Program of Graduate Studies, including the Department of Agricultural Economics and the Department of Animal Science, under the auspices of the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food.
The welcome speech was given by Simos Kedikoglou, the Deputy Minister of Agricultural Development and Food, which was followed by a series of very interesting lectures on the rational nutrition of livestock and the importance of addressing their nutritional needs. Other subjects included the use of precision technologies in animal production, large-crop plant cultivation, proper management of natural grasslands and artificial meadows, and alternative, innovative animal feed.
In the discussion which followed, titled “Nutritional crisis and animal production: the nature of the problem, associated dangers, and proposed solutions” we had the opportunity to address the impact of the nutritional crisis and the importance of the dairy industry’s support to producers, in the form of both cashflow and technical assistance. DELTA presented their proposals pertaining to alternative crops, with the aim to improve the country’s self-sufficiency in protein-rich animal feed.
Through the promotion of modern, sustainable animal-farming practices and alternative cultivation solutions for the production of protein-rich animal feed, the GAIA Action Plan
contributes to the viability, sustainability, and competitiveness of animal farming. This is accomplished through improving nutrition and breeding practices, promoting health and well-being, and reducing the environmental footprint—all while ensuring the production of milk of the highest quality.
The proposals originating from the GAIA Action Plan’s initiatives and activities constitute alternative solutions—and are particularly timely given the problems facing both the primary sector and milk-producing animal farming, such as sufficiency and high animal feed costs.