Module II: Diversity, Flexibility and Sustainability of Farm-level Production Systems
The objective of module II is to contribute to the development of a diversity of sustainable production systems (at farm level) that correspond to market and society demands.
The objective of module II is achieved through analysing and optimising existing systems to enhance their reactivity to market and societal demands. Module II is divided into three work packages:
- assessment and development of tools for sustainability evaluation (WP II.1)
- integrated sustainability evaluation (WP II.2)
- systems design and assurance strategies (WP II.3)
In WPII.1, a combined review of available tools for sustainability evaluation according to 9 themes was finalised in July 2007. The documentation of a suite of standard tools resulted in a handbook of Standard Operation Procedures in January 2008.
The combined review was revised during the year 2008, particularly to include a simplified version of the animal welfare tool. This resulted in a revised version of the handbook of SOPs to benchmark sustainability of different production systems in a standardised way in WPII.2 (see below).
An educational resource based on the handbook of tools has been developed in collaboration with Module B. From the combined review of available tools, gaps and weaknesses in the available tools and needs for further development was finalised in January 2008. On this basis work is currently being performed to improve the assessment of human working conditions and the measurement of environmental impact.
In WPII.2, a standard form was developed for the inventory of existing pork production systems. A preliminary analysis of the data, collected between April and September 2007,
revealed some problems that were worked out during the first semester of 2008. The analysis of the final data set, which was ready in June 2008, was completed during the second semester of 2008.
Fifteen contrasted systems (one conventional and two differentiated in each of the five participating countries) were selected in March 2008. The delay in producing the handbook of SOPs (see above) prevented the multidisciplinary evaluation of selected productions systems to start in April 2008 as planned.
A pre-test was performed in each participating country (end 2008-beginning 2009) to address concerns about the feasibility of some of the tools.
Record sheets were finalised in March 2009 and an excel file was developed for harmonised collection of the data. Data collection was performed during spring, summer and autumn 2009 and the results of a preliminary analysis of the data will be discussed in November 2009.
In WPII.3, an inventory of existing quality assurance systems and strategies was performed. It started with a few items included in the inventory of systems (see above) and was followed by a new questionnaire which has been employed since the second part of 2008 to finalise an integrated view on European quality assurance systems.
The inventory of the HACCP concept (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) at farm level was finalised in June 2008.
The application of Acute Phase proteins measurement as a health parameter in QA is being studied, using samples collected within the evaluation of systems in WP-II.2.
Regarding the improvement of systems, a study on breeding systems integrating sustainability criteria has been conducted and a need-based space allowance model will be finalised by April 2010. Further needs for improvement of systems will be identified in November 2009 and studies to address them will be planned.