EuroDairy – Interactive innovation

EuroDairy facilitated an interactive, bottom approach to innovation involving farmers, advisers, scientists, vets and other experts – appropriate to the subject and type of engagement. Insight on innovation was drawn from participating pilot farms, interactive workshops, knowledge transfer centres and operational groups associated with the network.


Topics identified for regional and EU research and development agendas

This report summarises collates research needs and opportunities captured during the course of the project.

It draws from feedback obtained during workshops, farm biodiversity audits, farmer exchange visits and operational group interactions. This has involved farmers, but also on occasion stakeholders from policy, research, dairy supply chains and industry development bodies under the four EuroDairy themes of animal care, resource efficiency, biodiversity and socio-economic resilience.

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Further research and development needs

Based on feedback from farmers and other end-users within the EuroDairy network, this report captures some of the topics and ideas, which might require further research and development.

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Operational group coordinators workshop

EuroDairy brought the coordinators of dairy-related operational groups (OGs) together, to exchange experiences on the functioning of OGs in different European regions, and to explore the value in closer interaction between OGs and thematic networks.

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Operational groups developing practice-based innovation

The main objective of the EuroDairy thematic network is to spread innovation and best practice cross border. A secondary objective is to demonstrate and test the effectiveness of an interactive approach to the development and dissemination of innovative practice.

A key measure under the European Innovation Partnership concept is the establishment of multi-actor operational groups, funded by regional Rural Development Programmes. EuroDairy was charged with delivering 42 operational groups affiliated to the project, thereby connecting measures under the EIP (Thematic Networks) with those under Rural Development (Operational Groups).

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Cross border farmer exchange visits

The aim of the EuroDairy farmer exchanges was to connect farmers to share knowledge and experience.

A total of 14 exchanges took place, with over 350 people participating. These mainly involved farmers; however, where appropriate, advisers, scientists and students also attended.

While the focus of the exchanges was predominately on-farm visits, a number of other organisations were visited, including several research institutes, agricultural colleges, industry organisations, processors and legislatures.

In total, 56 farms and 16 other organisations were visited.

A very wide range of topics were covered by the farmer exchanges across the four themes of resource efficiency, socio-economic resilience, animal care and biodiversity.

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Video case studies of practice-based innovation

Across participating European countries, 120 innovating pilot farmers have been recruited to the EuroDairy network. These farmers are implementing and developing innovative practice, and have been chosen as good communicators, to act as champions for the network and to inspire other farmers.

This report catalogues seven video case studies made on pilot farms, with farmers describing their systems and types of the innovations they have been implementing.

These innovations fall broadly into one of four technical themes within the EuroDairy project and are a valuable source of information and inspiration for other farmers interested in adopting new techniques or thinking about things in a different way.

The impact of hearing testimony from a farmer in the context of a real farm is often greater than that of messages in written media. In addition to the videos, farm leaflets have been produced to provide background information on the farms, the innovations implemented and the drivers behind the direction chosen by the farmer for their business.

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Video magazines

Visual and mobile-friendly communications are key to reaching out to dairy farmers in Europe. Moreover, visual communication material overcomes language barriers.

Over a three-year project period, EuroDairy produced eight video magazines and over 20 video case studies. Each video places a pilot farm, knowledge transfer centre or operational group from our EuroDairy network as the centre point of communication.

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Inventory of dairy knowledge transfer centres

The aim of Task 2.5 of the EuroDairy project was to create an inventory of knowledge transfer centres (KTCs) already working in close association with dairy farmers, notably EuroDairy pilot farmers.

This includes capturing information on location, experimental facilities, research avenues, development projects, educational capabilities and knowledge exchange activity.

With appropriate agreements, existing resources, tools and expertise, the results of completed and ongoing trials are made accessible to EuroDairy participants by following the http links to existing websites of these KTCs.

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Inventory of dairy experimental farms (KTCs), their facilities and knowledge exchange capacity

In this report, details of the KTC identified within the EuroDairy network are available as well as a list of the innovations tested in relation to resource efficiency, biodiversity, animal care and socio-economics resilience. 

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Sustainability report for policymakers

This report is for policymakers, and it includes recommendations for further research and development in relation to sustainability and policy development and needs in relation to socio-economic resilience. 

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Technical articles

This document compiles a sample of technical information, which has been published as communications output from the EuroDairy network.

These articles give an insight into activities relating to EuroDairy pilot farms, and it highlights some of the innovative practices at farm level.

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Articles to create media effects

From the outset of the project, EuroDairy has worked with dairy correspondents across Europe in order to engage and connect with dairy farmers at grassroots level.

These correspondents are important intermediaries to help spread knowledge of the project and its key messages, through a growing, self-sustaining EuroDairy network.

This document is a compilation of press releases, which have been circulated across the network of media correspondents and project partners. It is by no means exhaustive of all communication activities by the project or those amplified by individual partners through their own.

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This project has received funding from the European Union`s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 696364.