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Main research question/goal

The KOELANG project is about climate mitigation of the dairy sector, together with a research and awareness-raising objective. Via data research (on the basis of figures that were previously generated in other ILVO projects) we answered the question of which management adjustments on the dairy farms lead to which possible savings in terms of methane emissions (at farm level). For example, we will looked at the time of the first calving and the longevity of cows. The sensitization of livestock farmers was done through learning networks (discussion groups) of dairy farmers. Through a Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) approach, the partners worked together with the participating companies for an improved young stock breeding and lower replacement percentage.

Research approach

ILVO has built up a large dataset with methane emission figures about dairy cattle in Flanders (young stock, productive cattle and dry cows). Based on these data, we calculated the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of 4 cases: 1. Longer productive life with equal production, 2. Longer productive life with enhanced production, 3. Better life production by improved efficiency and 4. Younger age at first calving. Within work packages 2 and 3, ILVO set up learning networks for consciousness raising and climate-friendly behavioral changes. From the learning networks set up by the partners, motivated farms were taught the best practices regarding improved youngstock rearing and optimization of transition management.


The aim of this project was to spur a voluntary reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by Flemish dairy farmers with no loss in the amount of milk produced, via more knowledge-driven and improved business management. We gave the farmer a much deeper understanding of the greenhouse gas emission problem in Flemish dairy farming. By calculating the impact of an extended lifespan on greenhouse gas emissions in the Flemish situation, we triggered voluntary participation. Informational efforts included 5 articles in the trade press. A digital toolbox for Flemish dairy farmers was developed and distributed at Agriflanders 2019. Finally, two knowledge-sharing sessions took place at the VEETOURNEE in June/July 2019 (a Flemish ag informational initiative) and via a popularized summary document.

This demonstration project was financed by "Vlaamse overheid" (Government of Flanders) and the "Europees Landbouwfonds voor Plattelandsontwikkeling (ELFPO)".

Funding provider(s)
Vlaamse Overheid - L&V ADLO
Effective start/end date1/04/1730/06/19

ID: 6173796