France - Pays de la Loire

About 10,800 farms produce milk. About 50% are specialized in milk production. Others are mixed with arable crops, beef cattle, pigs, poultry etc. Feeding practices are various. The annual decrease in the number of farms is about 5% since 2004. The labor force is mainly family (few paid labor).

Environmental regulations and main constraints

In January 2010 the 4th Action program Nitrate Directive started.
In 2010, permitted quantity is 190 to 210 kg N/ ha, all N sources included, and always 170 kg manure N/ha. Manure application is allowed all the year on grassland >6 months old.

Obligation to use winter cover crop in all areas (not only vulnerable zones) to prevent erosion and N losses.
Main constraints are competition for land with agricultural and also non-agricultural actors (lost of 10.000 agricultural ha per year), also revenues differ between milk and arable crops leading to a decrease of dairy farms.

Water quality of the region

Depending of the area, annual water fall, etc. but globally:

  • Improvement of biological quality
  • N: decreasing of bad class, but still some (NH3: good quality thanks to good housing practices)
  • P: good average quality, thanks to improvement of treatment plants.

Average region information

Dairy farm size 74 ha
% grassland 40-60
% forage crops (maize…) Crops surface ≈ forage maize surface (20 to 30% for each)
% others crops Very few
Mineral fertilizer per ha 84 kg N
11 kg P
Dairy cows 48
Milk per cow 6,8 kg
Milk quota 325,000 kg
Main diet of the cows 30% grazed grassland
20% grazed silage+hay
50% maize silage
1,500 Kg concentrate/cows
Time in pasture and period March - October

Pilot Farms

  • GAEC du Beauchêne Beauchêne 53300 Ambrières les Vallées
  • EARL de la Giraudière La Giraudière 53470 Martigné sur Mayenne
  • Guillochon Gilles Maupas 72800 Luché Pringé
  • EARL Farcy La Pommeraie 72270 Bousse
  • GAEC Le Coquelait La Haute Savagère 44140 La Planche
  • EARL Claray Le Claray 44590 Sion Les Mines
  • EARL Courrillaud La Beunoche 49380 Le Champ sur Layon
  • GAEC de l'Herbaudière L'herbaudière 49450 Villedieu la Blouère
  • GAEC Les Brandes Les Brandes 85220 Coex
  • GAEC Bretijean La Janière 85600 Saint Hilaire de Loulay