• Key factors influencing economic relationships and communication in European agri-food chains

      Henchion, Maeve; McIntyre, Bridin; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2008-09)
      The project considered meat and cereal commodities in six EU countries. In total thirteen agri-food chains were examined: five pig-to-pigmeat chains, three cattle-to-beef chains, two barley-to-beer chains and three cereals-to-bakery product chains. The pig-to-pigmeat and cattle-to-beef chains were examined in Ireland.
    • Labour efficiency on-farm

      O'Brien, Bernadette; Gleeson, David E; O'Donovan, K.; Ruane, D.; Kinsella, J.; Mee, John F; Boyle, Laura; McNamara, John G. (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      Improvements in milking efficiency have a greater influence than any other aspect of the dairy farmers work on overall farm labour inputs (Whipp, 1992). In order to facilitate the examination of milking process labour inputs, the milking process may be divided into the following three components: herding pre and post milking (transfer of cows to and from the milking parlour); milking (milking tasks / work routines within the parlour); and washing (washing of milking machine and yard). Meanwhile, within milking specifically, the number of cows milked per operator per hour is the best measure of both the performance of the operator and the milking installation (Clough, 1978). This is affected by the following three factors: the milking times of the cows, the number and arrangement of the milking units, and the operator’s work routine (Whipp, 1992). The addition of extra milking units will only increase milking performance if the operator has idle time during milking (Hansen, 1999).
    • Lamb Growth Rate On Pasture : Effect Of Grazing Management, Sward Type And Supplementation

      Grennan, Eamonn J. (Teagasc, 1999-01-01)
      In spring-lambing flocks an important objective is to achieve high lamb growth rate on pasture so that most lambs are drafted for slaughter by September. Lamb growth rate can vary greatly depending on the type of pasture being grazed. A series of grazing trials was carried out to assess the effect of pasture type, sward height, herbage allowance and concentrate supplementation on lamb growth rate pre and post weaning. Sward height was a useful indicator of the suitability of pasture for sheep grazing. A height of about 6 cm was near optimum for set stocking until late May. A decline in lamb growth rate frequently experienced in the month pre-weaning in June can largely be prevented if sward height is increased to 6 to 8 cm, or the flock grazed on aftergrass at a similar height. With rotational grazing, tight grazing to a residual sward height of 4 cm was beneficial in preventing the pasture becoming stemmy in June but reduced lamb weaning weight. Tight grazing in April when pasture is leafy is less restrictive on lamb growth than in June when the base of the sward is more stemmy. Post grazing heights of 4, 5 and 6 cm for April, May and June respectively, are suggested as a guide in order to achieve high lamb growth. There was a response to creep-feeding lambs. When concentrates were offered at 250 g/lamb/day from age 5 to 14 weeks the extra liveweight at weaning was associated with feed conversion ratios of 4.4 to 6.3 Creep grazing increased lamb weaning weight by over 2 kg and facilitated grazing the pastures tightly in June without penalising lamb growth. Lamb growth to weaning was better on pasture not grazed by sheep in the previous year and this benefit was at least partly attributable to lower level of parasites on the pasture. Lamb growth rate on pasture post-weaning varied greatly, from under 100 to over 200 g/day depending on the type of pasture grazed. For set stocking a sward height of 8 to 9 cm was required to maximise lamb growth. For rotational grazing, swards should be grazed down to about 6 cm. However the effect of sward height is modified by previous grazing management, in that tight grazing pre-weaning results in a more leafy pasture and higher lamb growth at comparable sward heights post-weaning. Pasture type also affected lamb growth. There was little difference between old permanent pasture and a mainly perennial ryegrass pasture when grazed at similar sward heights, or when lambs were given similar herbage allowances. However growth rates were considerably higher on grass/clover swards at equivalent allowances or similar sward heights. There was a close relationship between herbage allowance and lamb growth, with highest growth rate achieved at an allowance of about 5 kg of dry matter per lamb per day. Concentrate supplementation of weaned lambs on pasture (at 250 to 550 g/lamb/day) increased liveweight, carcass weight and kill-out proportion. Response to concentrates was slightly better on short grass. Feed conversion ratio for carcass gain ranged from 7 to 12 on short grass, 7 to 20 on long grass and was 14 when concentrates were offered ad libitum. Concentrate supplementation resulted in a higher proportion of lambs being drafted off pasture by late September (90 to 100 %) compared with 60 to 65% for lambs on grass only.
    • Land Applicaiton of Organic Manures and Silage Effluent

      Mulqueen, J.; Rodgers, M.; Bouchier, H. (Teagasc, 1999-11-01)
      In recent times there is increasing interest in the hydraulic properties of free-draining unsaturated soils and on the fate of slurries, sludges, effluents and fertilisers applied to these soils. This is especially so where relatively thin soils overlie bedrocks such as limestones with fissures and solution channels (karstic aquifers). Irish soils are commonly gravelly and stony and present special problems in determining their hydraulic properties. In this project, various field and laboratory methods were employed to measure the hydraulic conductivity of unsaturated gravelly and stony soils overlying karstic limestone with a watertable 25 m below ground surface at the Teagasc Centre at Athenry. In parallel with these measurements, cattle and pig slurries and silage effluents were applied at normal and very heavy rates in summer and in winter to a series of experimental plots. A chloride tracer was also used. Rainfall and soil moisture contents and hydraulic potentials of the soil of the various plots were measured. Samples of soil water were collected in suction tubes and analysed for nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N). In addition, samples of groundwater were taken from a nearby well and analysed for NO3-N and a number of other parameters. Finally, a finite difference computer model was used to predict contaminant transport to the groundwater.
    • Land Spreading of Animal Manures, Farm Wastes & Non-Agricultural Organic Wastes. Part 1 manure (and other organic wastes) management guidelines for intensive agricultural enterprises.

      Carton, Owen T.; Magette, William L. (Teagasc, 1999-05-01)
      The objective of the Teagasc Manure (and Other Organic Wastes) Management Guidelines for IAE are to provide an operational framework for the agronomically efficient and environmentally safe recycling of these organic by-products, maximising the benefits of nutrients they contain at minimum cost. The principles of the approach are equally applicable to the management of all manures and organic wastes applied to land. The approach includes programmes for controlling manure quantity and quality; operational procedures covering storage, transport and nutrient management; and a quality assurance programme. These Guidelines assign the importance of manure management on an equal footing with other production practices. Implementation of these Guidelines may entail higher costs c o m p a red with traditional practices. However, some of the benefits accruing from the improved management practices can partly or wholly offset the costs of implementation.
    • Leaching of N compounds from swards used for dairying that are N based and irrigated with dirty water/slurry.

      Richards, Karl G.; Ryan, Michael; Coxon, Catherine E. (Teagasc, 1998-12-01)
      A study was carried out to investigate nitrate leaching on a dairy farm in Co. Cork. The farm had a history of high nitrate-N in borehole waters and the study aimed to elucidate the causative factors for this. Physical and chemical data regarding the soils, the hydrology, and the N input/output balances were determined and collated. Results showed that nitrate-N concentrations > the EU maximum allowable concentration (MAC) of 11.3 mg/l for drinking water occurred in soil drainage from the light textured soils studied due to a large imbalance between N inputs and outputs. High fertiliser N usage, animal manure and dirty water applications, atmospheric N depositions and soil organic N mineralisation in combination produced these results . While it is recognised that nitrate leaching will vary in amount from year to year the lessons from the study are clear - light textured soils that are used for intensive dairying and which receive high inputs of N are prone to release drainage water high in nitrate.
    • Leaching Studies in Lysimeter Units.

      Ryan, Michael; Fanning, A. (Teagasc, 1999-09-01)
      Lysimeter studies have shown the adverse effect of Fallow soil in releasing NO3-N to soil drainage water. A soil at Johnstown Castle under Fallow management gave mean NO3-N drainage water concentrations >MAC (maximum admissible concentration, 11.3 mg/l) in the 10 th , 11 th , 12 th and 13 th years of cultivation. In the 14 t h year this changed as the Fallow treatment showed a mean value <MAC, indicating reduced N mineralisation. However, 7 of that year's 13 water samples were > MAC. On the same soil, barley receiving 120 kg N/ha fertiliser N, showed variable results - soil drainage water concentrations were <MAC in one year but >MAC in another year; the mean values were < the Guide Level (MAC÷2) in both years. When the fertiliser input was raised to 180 kg N/ha, MAC was breached in both sampling years and the mean value was > the Guide Level. Winter wheat receiving 150 kg N/ha as fertiliser had all soil drainage water concentrations <MAC in one year but two samples breached MAC in another year. The mean values were < the Guide Level in both years. On application of 200 kg N/ha, MAC was breached in both years and mean annual NO3- N concentrations were < the Guide Level or > the Guide Level, depending on drainage water volume. These results apply to a soil in cultivation since 1985 having reduced organic N reserves. Higher NO3-N concentrations in soil drainage water would be expected with similar soils recently changed from grass to arable farming. On grassed lysimeters (Johnstown Castle soil), that had been growing barley for 10 years, a combination of 300 kg/ha fertiliser N with 126 kg/ha cattle slurry N, applied in December or February and the same amount of fertiliser N plus 120 kg/ha pig slurry N, applied in December or February gave soil drainage water samples that only breached MAC once in 12 samplings per treatment. The mean NO3-N concentrations were < the Guide Level. A slightly lower mean N (118 kg/ha) input via the slurries plus the same amount of fertiliser N gave lower NO 3- N concentrations for all treatments except the pig slurry (+ fertiliser) applied in November. This treatment breached MAC twice and resulted in a mean NO3-N concentration > the Guide Level. Cultivating the soil, in order to re-sow grass, produced a large release of organic N via mineralisation and this combined with a small fertiliser N input (50 kg/ha) gave very high concentrations of NO3-N in the drainage water. A delay in sowing from June to the end of September exacerbated this problem. The final phase of experimentation showed very low levels of NO3- N in the drainage water which was primarily induced by decreasing fertiliser N input to 200 kg/ha and slurry N input to 50 kg/ha. Five soils, representative of major Irish soils, were subjected to lysimeter trials in a similar manner under grass. In the first experiment the soils received 300 kg/ha fertiliser N plus approximately 120 kg N/ha as pig or cattle slurry. In Years 1, 2, when mean values were pooled over treatments, MAC was breached 2, 3 times by Clonroche; 5, 3 times by Elton, 1, 2 times by Oakpark; 5 times and once by Rathangan soil drainage water. Applying cattle or pig slurry in December with fertiliser N, applied during the growing season, gave the highest number of water samples in breach of MAC. Reducing the fertiliser N to 200 kg/ha and the slurry N to 51 kg/ha drastically lowered the NO3-N concentrations in the drainage water to sustainable levels. Cultivation followed by Fallow for 3 months prior to sowing grass gave very high NO3-N concentrations in all soil drainage waters. Due to recycling of N via animal excreta, greater leaching of NO3- N is likely to occur on grazed grass receiving identical N inputs.
    • Long-term Projections for the Beef and Sheep Sectors

      Hanrahan, Kevin (Teagasc, 2002-12-01)
      This study examines the effect of changes in agricultural policy and other important economic factors on the outlook for beef and sheep production in Ireland in future years. The analysis is conducted at an aggregate commodity level for the two sectors. Companion reports provide similar detail on other agriculture sectors (including dairy, pig and cereals) and for related farm level work, see Donnellan (2002), McQuinn and Behan (2002), and Behan and McQuinn (2002). The analysis summarised here took place in 2001 and 2002. The objective of the research reported here was the development and use of econometric models of the beef and sheep sectors, in conjunction with other related commodity models, to produce ten-year projections for the beef and sheep sectors under different policy scenarios. The scenarios analysed related to the second BSE crisis, the reduction and the elimination of export refunds under the auspices of a new WTO agreement, and changes in the regulations relating to the payment of extensification direct payments under the Beef Common Market Organisation (CMO). A series of interlinked economic models capable of projecting key price and output variables were built for the main Irish agricultural commodities, including the beef and sheep sectors, and these in turn were linked with models for the EU and the World. It was thus possible to estimate the implications for the Irish beef and sheep sectors of supply, demand and policy changes at a world and EU level.
    • Low herbicide use in sugar beet

      Mitchell, B.J. (Teagasc, 1998-12-01)
      Trials with the new sulphonylurea herbicide, Debut, controlled a wide spectrum of weeds common to Irish sugar beet. These included problem weeds such as cleavers, charlock, mayweed and fools parsley. Best results were obtained when the new product was applied with half the normal recommended dose of the standard contact and residual sugar beet herbicides. Thus the overall active ingredient applied to crop and soil was reduced with no loss in weed control efficacy and crop safety. A three year study comparing two and three spray weed control programmes on triploid sugar beet varieties and the more erect growing diploid beet varieties was also undertaken. Results indicated no difference in weed control efficacy or yield response between the two variety types although similar work in the Netherlands indicated otherwise. A third investigation into the use of two spray weed control programmes for sugar beet indicated that when applied to sugar beet sown in April commercially acceptable weed control was feasible as long as weed pressure was not excessive and sprays were applied at the correct stage of weed growth.
    • Low Input Fungicide Programmes for the Control of Late Blight in Potatoes.

      Dowley, L.J.; Leonard, R.; Rice, B.; Ward, S. (Teagasc, 2001-06-01)
      Field and farm trials were carried out between 1996 and 2000 to determine the efficacy of the NegFry and Met. Éireann decision support systems (DSS) in controlling late blight of potatoes compared with routine fungicide treatments. The trials were also used to determine the potential of the systems to reduce fungicide inputs.
    • Machinery costs on tillage farms and the development of decision support systems for machinery investments/use on farms.

      Forristal, P.D. (Teagasc, 1999-09-01)
      Costs and benefits associated with the use of farm machinery are difficult to calculate. A research programme was established to highlight the area of machinery costs and to provide information on which to base mechanisation decisions. A machinery cost survey was the central part of the programme which collected detailed machinery cost information from 40 arable farms over a period of three years. Costing methods were developed to provide an annual per-hectare cost for each machine over its ownership period. An average annual machinery cost figure of £194/ha, excluding labour, was recorded. Costs varied from £93/ha to £340/ha between farms. Depreciation and interest accounted for almost 60% of the total costs figure. Larger farms (>160 ha) had lower costs and less cost variation than smaller- and medium-sized farms. They were more machinery efficient, with lower levels of machinery investment per hectare. Smaller- and medium-sized farms had much greater cost variation with many farms being over-mechanised, resulting in excessive machinery costs. The importance of selecting an appropriate mechanisation policy for individual farm situations was evident. Using information from the survey to select appropriate costing methodology from other research, a simple cost-prediction computer program was developed. This allows costs for an individual machine at any use level to be estimated. This program was used to evaluate various mechanisation options on 40, 100 and 240 ha farms. The program was then redeveloped for use by the advisory service. It is a decisionsupport type program which requires input from a trained operator with experience of mechanisation. It should prove useful in determining farm mechanisation policies against a background of changing mechanisation technology, farm labour supply and potential price-support reductions.
    • Maize silage for milk production - Part 1: Effect of the quality of maize silage on milk

      Fitzgerald, J.J.; Murphy, J.J.; O'Mara, Frank P.; Culleton, Noel (Teagasc, 1998-11-01)
      Ensiled forage maize is an alternative or complementary forage to grass silage and is the main source of forage for ruminant livestock in many European countries. The growing of maize for silage was tried unsuccessfully in Ireland in the 1970’s, was resumed in the late 1980’s and is now well established in suitable areas in the south and east of Ireland. However, variation in growing conditions and summer radiation can result in considerable variation in the yield, maturity and feeding value of the crop from year to year and between regions or locations within years. A series of experiments were conducted at Moorepark and at Johnstown Castle Research Centre to evaluate the role of maize silage in the diet of lactating dairy cows, the effect of variation in the quality (starch content and digestibility) of maize silage, the proportion of maize silage in the forage and the effect of harvesting date of immature maize silage on feed intake, milk production and milk composition compared with an all grass silage based diet. Grass silages of moderate or high digestibility were used. These studies were carried out with cows in early or mid lactation or at both stages of lactation. The forages were supplemented with concentrates at low to moderate levels of feeding (4-7 kg/cow/day). The concentrates generally contained a high level of crude protein (220- 250 g CP/kg fresh weight) to balance the low level of crude protein in maize silage. The experiments were conducted over periods of 7-9 weeks.
    • Maize silage for milk production - Part 2: Effect of concentrate quality and quantity fed withmaize silage based forages on milk production

      Fitzgerald, J.J.; Murphy, J.J.; Culleton, Noel (Teagasc, 1998-11-01)
      In some of the studies outlined in Part 1 of this report, mixed forages containing grass silage and a high proportion (60%) of maize silages varying in maturity and starch content were supplemented with concentrates at different levels to compare the response in milk production with a maize silage based forage and with good quality grass silage as the sole forage. The most suitable type of energy ingredient in the concentrate, i.e. high starch or low starch, high fibre ingredients, as supplements to maize silage based forages or grass silage was investigated. A range of levels of crude protein in the concentrate were examined in one study to determine the optimum level of crude protein in the supplement for maize silage based forages compared with grass silage.
    • Major management factors associated with the variation in reproductive performance of Irish dairy herds

      Buckley, Frank; Dillon, Pat; Mee, John F (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      The results highlight the importance of BCS in achieving good reproductive performance. The likelihood of reproductive success was best predicted by BCS around the time of breeding and, for cows calving in good BCS (3.0 or greater) the level of BCS loss between calving and first service. A low BCS pre-calving (<2.75) was associated with prolonged calving to first service, and calving to conception intervals. Very high BCS pre-calving (>3.5) results in excessive BCS loss (>0.5) post-calving. On the basis of these findings a pre-calving BCS of no greater than 3.25 is a sensible target for pasture-based spring calving systems in Ireland. It is necessary to maintain BCS at 2.75 or greater during the breeding season, and loss of body condition between calving and first service should be restricted to 0.5 BCS units.
    • Managing new food product development.

      Daly, Eimear; European Union (Teagasc, 2002-10)
      The future success of the Irish food industry depends on the ability of companies to develop new skills in a rapidly changing market environment. One such skill is the management of new product development. This report illustrates the impact that training in the product development process had on a range of small to medium enterprises. Training was delivered as a series of interactive workshops covering the key stages of the new product development process. Each company also received up to 7 days consultancy support to facilitate implementation of the learning.
    • Managing Spent Mushroom Compost

      Maher, M.J.; Magette, William L.; Smyth, S.; Duggan, J.; Dodd, V.A.; Hennerty, M.J.; McCabe, T. (Teagasc, 2000-07-01)
      This project addressed how to manage spent mushroom compost (SMC), an issue of critical importance to the continued development of the Irish mushroom industry. The most important aim of the project was to devise a feasible strategy for the management of this material on an industry wide basis. There were two main components of the project, which were conducted in parallel. One analysed the structure of the mushroom industry and the logistics of handling, transporting and processing SMC. The other studied the agronomic properties of SMC in an effort to develop improved guidelines on the best use of SMC in crop production. Our analysis of the SMC management problem led us to conclude that a centralised approach should be taken when developing the solution strategy. The model solution that was formulated is based on the establishment of centrally located depots for SMC collection, temporary storage and possible processing. This approach facilitates a variety of environmentally acceptable SMC end uses ranging from land application to incineration. We examined a variety of possible end uses for SMC, including its use as an alternative fuel. In the immediate future, we believe the predominant end use for SMC will be as an organic manure for field crop production and as a soil conditioner in the landscaping industry. Uses of this type are in line with both Irish and EU legislation regarding waste management. Our analysis suggests that tillage and horticulture offer the best promise for realising the beneficial properties of SMC. We have tested SMC on field crops such as winter and spring wheat and potatoes and on glasshouse crops such as tomatoes. These experiments have shown that SMC increases soil organic matter and improves soil structure. SMC is a very effective source of K and P and also provides trace elements. It makes a contribution to N nutrition but most of the N does not become available to the crop in the first year. For best results therefore, supplementary N must be applied. Overall, our results indicate that SMC can be used with beneficial effects in field crop production. The mushroom industry should move forward with establishing centralised SMC handling facilities to enable the efficient collection, temporary storage, further processing and transportation of SMC to end users. An education and awareness campaign should be conducted amongst farmers, in areas removed from mushroom production, to introduce them to the benefits of SMC and ways to effectively utilise this material.
    • Manipulation of Grass Supply to Meet Feed Demand

      French, Padraig; Hennessy, Deirdre; O'Donovan, Michael; Laidlaw, S. (Teagasc, 2006-01)
      Grazed grass is generally the cheapest form of feed available for beef and milk production in Ireland. Grass growth is variable during the year with a peak in May/June and a secondary peak in August. There is little net growth from December to February. Grass growth is also variable across the country with higher grass growth in the south and south-west (14 to 15 t DM/ha/year) compared with approximately 11 t DM/ha/year in the north-east (Brereton, 1995). There is poor synchrony between grass supply and feed demand on beef and dairy farms. The feed demand curve for a calf to two year old beef system shows feed demand decreasing as grass supply increases, and grass supply decreasing as feed demand increases. Similarly, the feed demand curve of a spring calving dairy herd shows poor synchrony with grass supply, with a surplus of grass from about mid-April to mid-August, and a deficit for the rest of the year. Traditionally surplus grass produced during May and June is conserved as silage or hay and fed back to cattle and dairy cows during the deficit times of the year. This project examined the possibility of reducing the grass growth peak in May/June and increasing grass supply later in the year by altering nitrogen application pattern and extending autumn rotation lengths.
    • Manipulation of grass supply to meet feed demand

      French, Padraig; Hennessy, Deirdre; O’Donovan, Michael; Laidlaw, S. (Teagasc, 2006-01-01)
      Grazed grass is generally the cheapest form of feed available for beef and milk production in Ireland. Grass growth is variable during the year with a peak in May/June and a secondary peak in August. There is little net growth from December to February. Grass growth is also variable across the country with higher grass growth in the south and south-west (14 to 15 t DM/ha/year) compared with approximately 11 t DM/ha/year in the north-east (Brereton, 1995). There is poor synchrony between grass supply and feed demand on beef and dairy farms. The feed demand curve for a calf to two year old beef system shows feed demand decreasing as grass supply increases, and grass supply decreasing as feed demand increases. Similarly, the feed demand curve of a spring calving dairy herd shows poor synchrony with grass supply, with a surplus of grass from about mid-April to mid-August, and a deficit for the rest of the year. Traditionally surplus grass produced during May and June is conserved as silage or hay and fed back to cattle and dairy cows during the deficit times of the year.
    • Mapping the broad habitats of the Burren using satellite imagery

      Parr, Sharon; O'Donovan, Grace; Finn, John (Teagasc, 01/03/2006)
      This project has successfully used satellite imagery to survey and map the extent and spatial distribution of broad habitat types within the Burren, and we have represented this information on a digitised habitat map. this information on a digitised habitat map. This map is the first to show the distribution of the broad habitats of the Burren and will be an important tool in aiding future decisions as to how the habitats of the Burren should be managed to the benefit of both the farmer and the environment. The map provides the first estimate of the area of the Burren affected by scrub encroachment – this being one of the most significant threats to the EU priority habitats in the region. On a particularly challenging area with a high diversity and complexity of habitats, remote sensing appears to offer a very effective and cost-efficient alternative to broad-scale habitat mapping on a field-by-field basis. The use of high-resolution imagery and ground-truthing should be adopted to complete a detailed national survey of habitats and land use in Ireland. This would support more effective implementation of both the Agriculture sector’s obligations under the Habitats Directive, and agri-environmental schemes with wildlife objectives. The outputs provided by such mapping approaches could inform the targeting of agri-environmental objectives, and increase the efficiency of detecting areas of high conservation value for monitoring by more conventional methods. The detailed land use descriptions offered by such imagery are also of high relevance to modelling approaches and risk assessment for implementation of land use policies such as the Water Framework Directive and Nitrates Directive.
    • The market for organic liquid milk in Ireland.

      Cowan, Cathal; Ni Ghraith, Dearbhla; Daly, Aidan (Teagasc, 2002-01)
      The key research question was ”what is the market potential in Ireland for organic liquid milk and related products up to 2006”? Denmark and Austria are among the most developed organic food markets in the world. Using the Diamond Model of factors contributing to competitiveness, detailed case studies of these countries were undertaken to identify the drivers in the growth of consumption of organic food and milk products. Market share for organic liquid milk in Ireland is less than 0.1% compared with 20% in Denmark and 9% in Austria. All the factors of the Diamond Model worked to grow the organic food market in Denmark and Austria. The Austrian and Danish Governments were the first in Europe to introduce legislation on organic farming and also subsidised farmers to bridge conversion to organic farming. The conventional milk sector in Ireland is very competitive but has not shown an interest in organics, whereas in Denmark the largest conventional milk processor is the main player. The small size of the Irish organic milk market means it is not a major area of rivalry at retail level. This contrasts with Denmark and Austria where retailers have driven the market. In Denmark, following approaches in 1993 from farmers’ representatives, the major retail group, FDB, lowered organic milk prices to entice consumers to switch from conventional milk. The main Danish milk processor successfully launched the ‘Harmonie’ organic brand and moved the market from niche to mainstream. In Austria, Billa, a major retailer, set market targets and introduced a high quality organic own-label brand. They encouraged farmers to switch and increase organic production by offering them five year contracts at fixed prices.