IMPRO Project by IAVH

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IAVH-Office                    c/o Markus Mayer, D-79227 Schallstadt                          office@iavh.org

Dear IAVH-member,we want to present you a more detailed view on the often mentioned IMPRO-project. Bernhard Hornig is interested to find enthusiastic colleagues to make a repertory about cattle for mastitis treatment. If you are interested please feel free to contact the IAVH office (office@iavh.org).Markus Mayer
Head of the IAVH-Office


 IMPRO

Impact matrix analysis and cost-benefit calculations to improve management practices regarding health status in organic dairy farming

An EU funded project, with partners in six European countries, that will lead to more effective management of the health of cows in organic dairy herds.


Expected outcomes of the project

The approach in the IMPRO project integrates information and knowledge gained from different sources into a coherent concept, striving for a high level of matching accuracy at different scales to the specific health problems and farm specific conditions and constraints. The objective is to achieve a high level of matching accuracy at different scales following the key-lock-principle.

The IMPRO project will combine a number of methodological approaches for characterising the health status profile of dairy farms. It will identify and validate related variables and specific risk factors in order to assess and implement appropriate measures to achieve an improved health status.

Additionally, new farming techniques associated with preventive and proactive measures will be tested in well-defined organic farming systems.


IMPRO partners

University of Kassel, Germany

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

Nantes Atlantic College of Veterinary Medicine,

Food Science and Engineering, France

Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and

Technology, Spain

Data Service Paretz GMBH, Germany

University of Reading, United Kingdom

IAVH as subcontractor of the University of Kassel

–          development of protocols of using homeopathy as a lege artis standard for mastitis and fertility in cattle stocks (work package 4)

–          Visit and examination of 60 farms in France, Germany and Spain (work package 4)

–          Investigating legal and factual conditions for the use of homeopathy in Europe (work package 4)

–          contribution and discussion to a report on research projects in the field of homeopathy/phytotherapy (work package 9)

Thanks to Dr. Andreas Striezel that he proposed IAVH for these duties in 2012.

Members of our team are Cristina Iglesias Hidalgo (Spain), Dr. Bernhard Hornig (Germany) and Loïc Guiouillier (France) supported by Markus Mayer (IAVH-Office). Thanks to Edward de Beukelaer, Jacques Millemann, Isabel Serrano, Coral Mateo, Jose Ramón Torre Blazquez and Stefan Kohlrausch for support in our search for homeopathic vets in France and in Spain.


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Visiting the cow barn in the Dottenfelder Hof


Aims of IMPRO

People who buy organic dairy products expect cows to be healthy and kept to very high welfare standards. Keeping dairy cows healthy in an organic system is a challenge. Multiple factors affect the health status. Bacteria and viruses are of course partly to blame; but many other factors – including nutrition, conditions in the field and barn, housing, the skill and motivation of the farmer – are also influential.

Current strategies to manage dairy cow health deal with single causes and solutions, which is particularly inappropriate and proves to be insufficient in organic systems where the use of veterinary drugs is highly restricted. We need diagnostic tools which can identify the complex of factors at farm level that affect cow health on each individual farm, and which can lead to appropriate management and treatment. This is what IMPRO is working towards.


Project Activities

IMPRO is led by academic researchers, but a participatory and multi-disciplinary approach is built into its design. Farmers, veterinarians, health regulatory authorities and customers will all be involved in the research activities and in the interpretation and dissemination of findings. The four years of research (2012 to 2016) will be carried out as nine work packages.

1.) Coordination and scientific project management

Scientists in the Faculty of Organic Agriculture at University of Kassel will coordinate the efforts of the partners to ensure the scientific outcomes are met.

2.) On-farm assessment of effective measures by an impact matrix

The impact matrix is a farm-centric diagnostic tool that farmers and their advisers can use to give a sound diagnosis of the health status on the farm and help in identifying the most effective measures to improve animal health. Workshops in four countries will discuss and identify the variables to include in the matrix; the matrix will then be used on a sample of 200 organic dairy farms.

3.) Improving monitoring and prevention on the herd level

We will develop new protocols for pro-active monitoring of cow and herd health and prevention of illhealth in organic systems. They will be tested on 40 farms to see if they lead to an improvement in health and are acceptable to farmers.

4.) Manageability of alternative treatments

Protocols or decision trees for prescribing and using homeopathic remedies will be developed on the basis of the best available scientific evidence. Bernhard helps to optimize an organigram for treating mastitis which will be handed out to farmers and vets to improve the homeopathic treatment.

They will then be tested on a sample of farms and compared with the outcomes of more conventional protocols on a separate sample, in the specific case of mastitis. The effect of this process will be evaluated after a period of a year.

Decisions trees for treatment of Mastitis, Fertility Disorders and Metabolic diseases were developed in our meeting in Frankfurt. Then we improved the questionnaire for the vets and farmers. The evaluation of the answers will give an impression about how they use homeopathy in dairy farms. We tested the questionnaire with a countrywoman during our visit of the Dottenfelderhof near Frankfurt (http://www.dottenfelderhof.de; see picture).

5.) Socio-economic implications of changes in the management

We will identify factors that affect farmers’ willingness to use the impact matrix and protocols.

We will explore costs and returns on each farm, but also farmers’ attitudes and values and the influence of those around them. Surveys of 200 farmers will be carried out in the first and fourth years of the project, to see if using the impact matrix has had any effect on farmers’ attitudes and management practices.

6.) Development of a software-based decision support tool

The team will bring together the lessons learned from the impact matrix and protocols in a computer-based tool that farmers and their advisers can use to identify changes in management that would lead to improvements in animal health.

7.) Outreach

A communication strategy will guide IMPRO’s interaction with those with an interest in using the findings. The project website, meetings with farmer and professional associations, scientific publications and mass media will all play a part in ensuring the research findings are known and applied.

8.) Administrative project management

The partners will hold regular meetings and video conferences to keep the project on track.

9.) Research on the use of alternative remedies in livestock farming

The team will assess the potential for reducing the use of antibiotics in managing organic dairy cow health by making use of alternative methods. The wide range of topics involved and expertise required will be covered by a combination of literature research, questionnaires, workshops and simulation modelling.


Mastitis treatment

In a second step next year the IMPRO-project starts a comparison between  allopathic and homeopathic treatment of mastitis.

Unfortunately we have not enough good homeopathic vets in Europe and therefore we should give vets and maybe the farmers a possibility, to learn and to heal with homeopathic remedies. Therefore in this investigation we want to help  farmers and vets to treat mastitis with homeopathy successfully, using a decision tree and an organigram.

The degree of success of this study will perhaps be a measure for the effectiveness of homeopathic treatment in general.

The IAVH or other institutes will take the role of providing  information and apprenticeship.

With the help of some enthusiastic colleagues I will try to make a repertory about cattle, to make it easier for our homeopathic colleagues, but I need much support from  you. Everyone who treats large cattle should take part in this project. Please if you think that this is a unique chance for homeopathy then give your e-mail address to Markus and I will send you my collection of Radar´s rubrics to work with and to expand it with your knowledge. Please don´t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Bernhard Hornig


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The working group in front of a building of the Dottenfelder Hof nearby Frankfurt from left to right: Manon de Joybert (Nantes Atlantic College of Veterinary Medicine), Diana Keller (University of Kassel), Cristina Iglesias Hidalgo, Loic Guiouillier, Isabel Blanco Penedo, Prof. Dr. Albert Sundrum (University of Kassel) and Dr. Bernhard Hornig. Behind the camera: Markus Mayer


Markus Mayer 
Bernhard Hornig
under use of project informations (www-impro-diary.eu)


IAVH-Office
c/o Markus Mayer
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