I gradually see that the training is bearing fruit as educational tools have been developed and made available to farmers so that they can visualize their progress in livestock management. Tools that trigger exchanges between technicians and producers. Thanks to the combined efforts of all the actors in this partnership, but first and foremost those of the breeders, I note that the GBDC technicians are more comfortable in this role of advising breeders. Over time, they take on this advisory posture and become more and more comfortable. I often tell them that they will benefit from remaining generalist to bring a global vision of livestock to the producers they support. However, they must improve active listening to detect the levers and obstacles expressed by farmers in their exchanges.
More concretely, I note the team’s progress in setting up tools to monitor production conditions: farm monitoring questionnaires are in place with questions on animal feeding and housing, milking conditions and practices, the health aspect of livestock buildings or more recently on milk quality. These tools are now appropriate for teams who feel all the more comfortable in supporting farmers. Relationships are more fluid and relevant, the team succeeds in ensuring a follow-up of the farms, thanks in particular to these tools which guarantee interaction with the farmers.
The aim of our action remains above all to improve milk productivity in the region and therefore the evolution of livestock farmers in their breeding practices. Progress has been observed among livestock farmers who have improved their buildings, watering, grazing or ration balance; some have implemented artificial insemination, others have worked on the health of their herds, including vaccination. These are levers for improvement that required little investment. Thus, out of 105 farms monitored between 2013 and 2017, we found:
- A 6.8% increase in average production per cow,
- An improvement in the quality and quantity of feed in cow rations (e.g. an increase in the quantity of dry matter provided per cow per day, which is more significant at +23%),
- An improvement in the condition of the stables (ventilation, mulching and cleanliness, less dust).