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Evaluation de la robustesse des vaches laitières : entre aptitudes biologiques des animaux et stratégies de conduite des éleveurs

Abstract : Agroecological livestock farming systems have to be able to adapt to environmental variability because they are designed to maximize the use of local resources and minimize the use of inputs. The animal component of livestock farming systems could represent a lever to adapt to environmental disturbances and contribute to systems durability. Thus, producing scientific knowledge allowing the selection of robust animals, able to maintain and maintain their performances in a fluctuating environment is one main stake for farming system research. Few methods have been developed to assess robustness in farm animals, and the only operational measurement (reaction norm) that relies only on the analysis of one function at a given time is currently turned into question. This thesis objective is to propose an operational assessment framework of robustness, that is to say, usable on the field. To that end, we focused on the dairy cow model and carried two complementary approaches, one based on the analysis of data collected from INRA experimental units, aiming at assessing biological aptitudes of dairy cows to manage trade-offs between function (lactation, reproduction and survival) in stable and disturbed environments. The second approach is based on data collected during interviews with dairy farmers in order to characterize their management strategies (objectives and performance thresholds) associated with the search of the animal-system balance contributing to animals’ robustness. Finally, a synthesis integrated the respective inputs of the two approaches in the assessment framework of robustness, in order to make it usable by actors from research, farms and development. This operational framework suggests that robustness of dairy cows should be assessed by comparing biological aptitudes of the animals expressed in a given environment, with the management strategies of farmers. It requires, 1/ to characterized productive trajectories of dairy cows including trade-offs between function in stable and disturbed environment, 2/ to compare them with performance objective and thresholds of farmers, 3/ to analyze the balance between the performances profiles expressed by the animal and the profiles of performances prioritization of farmers, 4/ account for complementarities between animals to step up to the herd level. Animals’ fitness indicators (longevity, number of descendants) are used to validate the analysis
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Emilie Ollion. Evaluation de la robustesse des vaches laitières : entre aptitudes biologiques des animaux et stratégies de conduite des éleveurs. Sciences agricoles. Université Blaise Pascal - Clermont-Ferrand II, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015CLF22622⟩. ⟨tel-01312209⟩

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