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Orchard Grazing in France: Multiple Forms of Fruit Tree-Livestock Integration in Line with Farmers' Objectives and Constraints

Abstract : Although the grazing of extensive standard orchards has long been a common practice in Europe and continues to take place on a considerable portion of existing traditional orchards, it is more unusual for current specialized and intensive orchards (with bush trees) to be grazed. The way in which animals are integrated into these modern forms of orchards differs according to the animal and tree species as well as to the place relegated to livestock as well as the expected and provided ecological services of that place. However, little literature is available on these modern forms of sylvopastoralism. The objective of this paper is therefore to provide the first overview of the advantages and limitations of these systems as perceived by the actors involved. Based on several research programs, we first tracked on-farm innovations to describe a diversity of systems. We then conducted a multifactorial analysis to characterize these systems according to: (i) structural farm variables; (ii) farmer motivations to integrate livestock; (iii) technical adaptations generated by sylvopastoralism; and finally, (iv) observed services and disservices provided by livestock in orchards. A total of 34 farms and 21 variables were used to differentiate three types of systems that differed according to animal species, grazing patterns, the degree of system redesign, and compliance between initial farmer motivations and the observed services. The results showed that while the practice of livestock grazing in orchards can be agronomically effective and economically viable, its success depends on the ability of growers to integrate all of the dimensions of livestock farming into their orchard system for a win-win association. There are a large number of variables that are involved in successful orchard grazing that result in both challenges and opportunities, but success is closely linked to the grower’s ability to adapt the production system to suit the intended role of livestock and to acquire new skills. This typology paves the way for numerous combinations between orchards and livestock. The analysis of the determinants, obstacles, and benefits provided by orchard grazing provides some preliminary elements that are necessary to adapt agricultural support to a diversity of integration patterns in integrated tree and livestock systems.
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Contributor : Raphaël Paut Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, October 1, 2021 - 12:09:52 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 8:10:08 AM

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Raphaël Paut, Arnaud Dufils, Floriane Derbez, Anne-Laure Dossin, Servane Penvern. Orchard Grazing in France: Multiple Forms of Fruit Tree-Livestock Integration in Line with Farmers' Objectives and Constraints. Forests, MDPI, 2021, 12 (10), ⟨10.3390/f12101339⟩. ⟨hal-03361296⟩

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