GAIA Actions 2016
Three GAIA Action Plan educational seminars in Serres, Xanthi and Plati: “The critical role nutrition in sustainable and competitive animal farming.”
These educational seminars took place on May 12th, June 16th and October 17th, in Serres, Xanthi and Plati respectively, and proved very popular among local producers, as well as representatives from veterinary and geotechnical services.
The seminars were part of DELTA’s cooperation with the Agricultural University of Athens and the Research Institute of Animal Science/Giannitsa of HAO-Demeter, which includes research programmes and provides technical support and education to animal farmers. Distinguished speakers, such as Mr. G. Zervas, Professor and Director of the Laboratory of Nutritional Physiology & Feeding of the Agricultural University of Athens, Mr. B. Christodoulou, Director of the Institute of Animal Science in Giannitsa, and Mr. I Hatzigeorgiou, Assistant Professor of the Agricultural University of Athens, spoke to producers about the importance of balanced nutrition when it comes to cow productivity and fertility. Also discussed were the alternative crops of roughage, such as leguminous plants and sorghum, and their role in improving the Greek animal farming industry’s competitiveness, particularly in the area of production costs. The seminars were covered by a variety of local print and electronic media.
October 3rd-4th, 2016–Agroecology conference at the Agricultural University of Athens
THE GAIA Action Plan presented their activities during the 1st International Conference titled “Ecology-Agroecology-Environmental Health Monitoring and Protection” which took place at the Agricultural University of Athens, on October 3rd– 4th.
Discussed during the conference – which was organised by the University’s Laboratory of Ecology and Environmental Protection – were the issues of ecology, agroecology, and environmental monitoring and protection. There was broad participation, which included many scientists, as well as professionals from a variety of fields, who shared their knowledge, technical know-how and experiences.
April-May 2016–Alternative crops
In 2016, DELTA and EUROFEED participated in many actions on the optimal use of primary production through alternative crops, enhancing the sustainability of animal farming and improving the competitiveness of Greek milk. These were part of the GAIA Action Plan and were organised in cooperation with the Agricultural University of Athens’s Laboratory of Nutritional Physiology and Feeding.
- On Friday, April 22nd, 2016, sorghum was sowed on a field owned by the Institute of Animal Science in Giannitsa, which is the entity in charge of research on cow and sheep feed. The goal of this experiment was to evaluate sorghum in relation to corn–the latter being a dairy animal’s staple – in terms of cultivation and its effects on animal nutrition and milk production. In addition to the Institute’s scientific staff, overseeing the sowing procedure were colleagues from the milk zone of West and Central Macedonia, G. Papadopoulos, F. Matsoukatidou, G. Raptis and K. Giannakopoluos.
- On Friday, May 6th, 2016, quinoa was sowed on a field in Kopaida, property of the Agricultural University of Athens. The goal of this experiment is to create a scientific database on the optimal conditions for quinoa cultivation, its effective integration in animal nutrition, and its evaluation against alfalfa. Quinoa has especially high nutritional characteristics and is a great source of protein–two reasons why it’s considered a superfood. There’re very few studies on quinoa in Greece, even though it’s very adaptable to a variety of climatic conditions. Greece’s hot-and-dry climate makes its cultivation highly promising, particularly as animal feed. In addition to the University’s scientific staff, overseeing the sowing procedure were colleagues from the milk zone, I. Vastardis and I. Mylona, as well as Eurofeed’s K. Nestoratos.
Farm Consultation Programme for the support of producers in animal management and feeding.
The Farm Consultation Programme commenced in 2016. It is being implemented in cooperation with the Laboratory of Nutritional Physiology & Feeding of the Agricultural University of Athens, and its goal is to enhance animal farming management, ensure animal nutritional balance and lower production costs. The University, with the assistance of specialized staff from DELTA’s milk zone of, collects data from milk production, feeding processes, animal reproduction, etc., from each farm participating in the program. By processing this data, we can provide each producer with a report on the optimal direction to follow. This specialised, customized consultation offers tangible benefits to each producer, while enhancing their awareness on the importance of milk quality. The programme for improving animal management and feeding at DELTA’s dairy units continues with the participation of an ever-increasing number of animal farmers. This is all in our effort to bring academic knowledge and applied animal farming practices closer together. Joining this program are farms from the prefectures of Serres, Thessaloniki, Xanthi, Rodopi, Imathia, Pella and Kilkis.