Improving animal welfare on an Italian buffalo farm
Animal welfare support enabled a farmer to improve the living conditions of his buffalo herd and at the same time improve the quality and quantity of milk produced.
The De Gregoris family farm “Demetra” is a 100-hectare (ha) family farm located in the Agro Pontino area in Lazio, approximately 110 km away from Rome. In 2013, the farm owner decided to move into the niche market of buffalo’s milk, which is linked to the production of the famous buffalo mozzarella cheese.
Rural Development Programme (RDP) support enabled the farmer to improve the living conditions of the buffalos by constructing a stable that is well ventilated and can comfortably accommodate 500 animals. The farmer also improved the monitoring and treatment of key animal diseases. The animals’ diet is monitored by a veterinarian, while spacious pens have been built for the calves.
Thanks to the RDP support, the animal welfare has improved. This can be demonstrated by the increased milk production (+25%), a reduction in death during births and overall mortality, as well as a significant reduction in the use of veterinary medicines.
The public and commercial image for the farm has improved, and the milk is sold at a profitable price to a dairy that offered them an exclusivity contract with favourable payment conditions.