The Dutch Organisation for Organic Animal Breeding is working to increase the availability of organic breeding stock. Organic artificial insemination (AI) has been developed for organic dairy producers. Bulls for organic AI are sourced from working organic dairy farms. We choose bulls from the best dams on these farms. Semen is collected at the EU-certified AI centre ‘KI de Toekomst’.
The breeding goal is high lifetime production in organic conditions. Our bulls come from the best performing bull mothers on organic farms.
- High lifetime production, animals are late mature (connected with production conditions)
- High milk protein (>3.5%) and milk fat ratios
- Excellent fertility and health, especially udder health
- Strong conformation and balance (triple A code)
- Dams’ overall performance must be better than the herd average.
The bull’s mother and grandmothers must be the best cows in the herd. They must have good conformation, fertility and excellent health.
We strive to keep our breeding programme efficient and affordable and we avoid inbreeding, we strive for more diversity in dairy production. A testing programme is too costly in view of the small organic dairy cow population (about 30.000 head) in the Netherlands. That’s why organic AI for organic dairy production is based on Maurice Bichard’s Young Bull system. With this system, with a very short generation interval and the supply of a mix of the best genetics out of the organic population, we can are able to compete with the testing systems concerning genetic progress.
Organic AI was first set up with a little financial support of the European Union. In 2011 we went further at our own by selling semen to farmers and pre-financing/crowdfunding by farmers. In 2012 Org-AI has become a foundation with the following boardmembers: Dr. Wytze Nauta (chair), Sytze Kooistra (secretary.) en Douwe Leenstra (treasurer) and Corneel van Rijn.
The biggest challance is to develop the market for organic breeding bulls. There are no strict rules for animal breeding like in plant breeding. Farmers are free to choose from the large conventional supply. Research has pointed out that organic producers are better off selecting stock out of the organic environment. We hope more and more farmers will realise that also the breeding part should be organic, what is expected by consumers of organic dairy products at least!