Saving the breeds: German Farmers’ preferences for Endangered Dairy Breed conservation programs

Julia Anette Schreiner


Animal genetic diversity is a unique and irreplaceable heritage. Globally, about 20 % of all breeds or livestock populations are considered to be ‘at risk’ and 9 % are already extinct. On farm, the concentration on elite breeding lines has endangered a number of alternative breeds. In Germany, over half of the entire dairy cattle population belongs to only three dominant breeds. Although several alternative breeds are well known for superior functional characteristics like e.g. a good fertility, an excellent udder health, and their ability to adapt to diverse environments, they are increasingly replaced by Holstein cows due to higher milk performances. To design effective incentive schemes that encourage farmers to maintain desired breeds, it is crucially important to know about their preferences for certain contract components. A discrete choice experiment (DCE) with 160 dairy cattle breeders revealed determinants of farmers’ willingness to accept conservation contracts to conserve rare German cattle breeds like Red dual-purpose cattle or Angler cattle. We included attributes like the monitoring of pairing, requirements for the keeping conditions, a collective bonus for an increase in population by five percent and the contract length in our experimental design. A Random Parameter Logit (RPL) model revealed that farmers favor shorter contracts (one or five years), a bonus for a population increase and the requirement of outdoor access. In contrast, farmers rather reject to choose a contract that requires participation in a breeding program and the prohibition of slatted floors. Two distinctive classes of farmers can be identified based on the results of a Latent Class Model (LCM). Organic farmers are generally less likely to join a program and are even more disapproving contracts where the pairing is monitored by the breeding association. However, it seems that program requirements should not be too restrictive on the farm management and rather focus on the compensation of associated income loss.  

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ISSN 2194-511X


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