Mixed Farming Systems and Dairying

Mixed farming systems integrate crop and livestock production [6]. Mixed farming was originally a typical agricultural system for northwestern Europe and the easter United States [5]. Some characteristics are [5]:

• high level of commercialization,

• a declining agricultural labor force,

• ownership and operation by families (family farm),

• use of a large part of cereal crops to feed livestock.

A better access to inputs and services, cheap chemical fertilizers, and the legislation and price interventions of the European Union have resulted in specialization and intensification of the mixed farming systems in Europe. The number of traditional mixed farms has strongly declined in the past few decades. They have been replaced with specialized farms that produce crops or livestock.

Dairying is the production of milk and milk products and is most common within the farming systems of Europe, North America, and Australasia [5]. Table 1.1 shows the dominant role of Europe in milk and cheese production worldwide.

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