Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Animal welfare a growing concern in for German consumers 

Cows grazing in Bavaria, Germany.
Cows grazing in Bavaria, Germany.
Catherine Hurley

Catherine Hurley

Some 45pc of the dairy cows in Bavaria, in south east Germany, are tethered all year round, a situation German consumers is looking to ban.

Primarily driven by the consumer, the Bavarian state hopes to ban this practise ‘in the near future’ according to Claudia Dummer, representing the Bavarian Government in Germany.

She said that the consumer is demanding better animal welfare standards and better produce. However, she said that this will be delayed because of the costs to the farmer.

“We estimate this will cost €2,000 per animal, depending on the set-up. This will also be grant aided up to 25pc of the cost,” said Claudia.

Bavaria is home to 54 dairy processors, almost 27,000 dairy farms and 1.17m cows, producing 8.26m tonnes of milk – Europe’s most important dairy region. Milk production accounted for 24pc of gross output in Bavaria in 2016.

Crediting themselves as being the heart of European agriculture, Claudia said that they are placing more emphasis on animal welfare and organic farming, to make more agriculture more sustainable in Bavari.

Exporting 53pc of its produce; cheese, milk, meat beers and hops are some of the more popular commodities exported by the agri-food sector in Bavaria, mainly destined for Austria, Italy and France, with the UK accounting for 4.5pc of the exports.

They are 340pc self-sufficient in cheese and 159pc self-sufficient in beef and veal, according to Claudia.

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Bavaria is the largest Federal State of Germnay, with a population of 12.9m people. Agri-businesses generate €121 billion and employs 900,000 people in Bavaria. However, two thirds of farmers are part time farmers.

The number of farm holdings in Bavaria is now 106,718 holdings in 2017, year on year declining. In 2010 there was 117,000 holdings. Of the agricultural land two thirds is for arable land and the remainder is devoted to grassland. The average farm size is 35ha in size.

The price of land has trebled in the past 20 years, making it very difficult to for the next generation to enter the market

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