Extensive livestock farming can be defined as a grouping of livestock production systems that make ecological use of spatial resources, reconciling production with sustainability and creating environmental and social services. As you will see below, this work is very sacrificial, but it is also very advantageous for the environment.
The livestock farming in Spain has been a very important sector for centuries and, at present, even more so. This is the wonderful primary sector, the section that provides us with the necessary raw materials and products (such as meat and wool) that industry uses to create the many by-products that are very common in our homes and in our famous Mediterranean diet. milk and wool) that the industry uses to create a multitude of by-products that are very common in our homes and in our famous Mediterranean diet.
We observe key aspects such as the use of native breeds, livestock mobility, animal welfare or the command adjusted to the spatial and temporal availability of the resources available in each area.
What are the advantages of this production model?
The main advantages of this model are:
- Its main savings in terms of assets and material resources.
- Preservation of the environment and biodiversity of species and respect for animal health.
- Higher quality products, higher quality products are obtained because no antibiotics or chemicals that may affect the animals are used (unless strictly necessary).
- Extensive livestock farming requires fewer active resources, labor and materials per hectare.
- It helps to increase the human population in rural areas, since it provides work in the fields.
- Another advantage of this sector is the contact with the animals, the farmer observes every day the behavior of his animals, contrary to the extensive farming where the animals are under a lot of stress due to the fact that they are in cages or very small areas where thousands of animals are under pressure.
How are cattle fed in extensive livestock farming?
The extensive livestock farming model, which we use in Merino Breedis based on several fundamental principles, which are as follows: livestock must be properly fed, so the animals live in freedom in a reduced field, free of insomnia, pesticides and antibiotics unless the animal is sick and needs it.
In addition, this livestock is very consistent with the animals, and takes into account the importance that animals need affection, so the treatment with them is very close, the feeding of livestock is excellent, they are fed on the basis of grass, hay and cerealsThe water is changed regularly to prevent them from drinking bugs or other insects that could make them sick. All this means that the quality of the meat obtained from extensive livestock farming is exceptional and the textile production is unbeatable.
What are the sustainability challenges for extensive livestock farming?
The greatest challenge is to be able to reach a greater number of people by promoting extensive livestock farming as the best means of food and textiles.
The main challenges facing thousands of farmers are:
- The focus is on efficient and available low-cost energy, such as solar energy, wind power, animal traction, organic matter, etc.
- The use of inputs should be kept to a minimum, over-riding the use of local resources and reducing dependence on the input market as much as possible.
- Labor operation should be primarily family and/or community based.
- Involve the population in the work, encouraging extensive livestock farming.
- Invite young people to learn about the work carried out in extensive livestock farming.
In this post you have been able to learn relevant information about extensive livestock farming, the main advantages and the challenges that await us in the future, so that every day extensive livestock farming does not remain in the memory. And, like us from Merino Breed Let’s promote a better future, respecting the ecosystem, natural resources and animal biodiversity.