Abteilung Grünland und Futterbau/Ökologischer Landbau


german version

SusCattThe productivity of milk and meat production from European cattle has increased considerably in recent decades. However, the sustainability of this intensification is questioned due to environmental and animal welfare trade-offs and growing reliance on edible food and imported soy as feed. The proposed project aims to evaluate the productivity, resource-use efficiency and consumers’ acceptability of a transition to high forage and pasture diets for European cattle. The project will focus on dairy, integrated dairy/beef and specialized beef production systems, addressing the call’s three research areas:

  • RProductivity (including milk yield and growth rate), product quality (including nutritional and sensory quality) animal health and welfare (including production diseases), and economic performance
  • Resource use efficiency (including use of non-edible food as feed, nitrogen and phosphorous use efficiency and enteric methane emission) and environmental impacts, both assessed experimentally, by modelling and life cycle analysis
  • Consumers’ appreciation

The main hypotheses are that transition to high forage and non-food diets will enhance

  • product quality,
  • animal health and welfare,
  • resource-use efficiency and
  • consumer acceptability, by matching appropriate diets, breeds and production systems and by rearing all dairy bred calves.

SuSanThe project involves modelling, experimental and participatory R&D activities and covers contribution from SMEs (farmers, advisory service) and pools expertize from seven academic centres of excellence in six European countries. The work will be organised in 4 work packages; two focusing on beef and milk production, feeding into one on overall assessment of economic, resource-use efficiency and societal acceptance and the fourth is dedicated to disseminating our findings.

External project link: ERA-NET SUSAN
Start - end date: 01.09.2017 - 31.08.2020
Project manager at Nibio: Håvard Steinshamn
Division: Division of Food Production and Society
Department: Grassland and Livestock
Total budget: 2 017 000 €


Norway nibio Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) Håvard Steinshamn (Coordinator)
Sweden slu Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) Elisabet Nadeau
rise Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) Ulf Sonesson
UK newcastle University of Newcastle (UNEW) Gillian Butler
Germany cau Kiel University, Christian-Albrechts-Universität (CAU) Carsten Malisch
Poland ighz Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IGAB) Tomasz Sakowski
Italy unipd University of Padova (UP) Flaviana Gottardo

Funding source:
ERA-NET SusAn that receives the funding for the SusCatt project from

  • Research Council of Norway (RCN, Norway)
  • Swedish Research Council (FORMAS, Sweden)
  • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA, UK)
  • Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (MiPAFF, Italy)
  • National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR, Poland)
  • Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL, Germany)




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