European Livestock Production Systems (ELPS) encompass the traditional, commonly used approaches to raising and managing livestock within Europe. These systems are characterized by established agricultural norms and practices that have been historically prevalent in European livestock farming. ELPS represent the conventional methods employed in livestock production across the continent.

Innovative Livestock Production Systems (ILPS) depart from conventional approaches to livestock farming and introduce novel strategies characterized by holistic management practices. These systems integrate cutting-edge technologies and sustainable practices to improve efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and enhance animal welfare. ILPS introduce alternative paradigms in livestock farming, offering innovative solutions that may lead to more sustainable and resilient production methods.

STEP UP aims to bridge the knowledge gaps between ELPS and ILPS by exploring and validating sustainable livestock production models aligned with circularity and transparency. STEP UP strives to co-create sustainable ELPS through robust evidence-based assessments and methodologies for assessing the sustainability of diverse ELPS. Furthermore, the project aims to generate evidence supporting policy development for sustainable livestock systems and enhance stakeholder engagement and knowledge dissemination. Ultimately, STEP UP aims to establish a transdisciplinary approach for future-proofing the livestock value chain by leveraging insights from both ELPS and ILPS to drive positive change in livestock production practices.

Within STEP UP, the identification of ILPS involves several key steps:

Exploration of Stakeholder Networks

Exploration of Stakeholder Networks

STEP UP taps into stakeholder networks and engages with existing projects to access diverse examples of ILPS.

Consolidation of Existing Data Sources

Consolidation of Existing Data Sources

The project consolidates existing data sources related to ILPS to gain a comprehensive understanding of the various innovative approaches to livestock farming.

Identification <br> of Gaps

of Gaps

Through the exploration process, STEP UP identifies gaps in existing knowledge and data regarding ILPS.

Real-World <br> Insight


By accessing real-world examples of ILPS, STEP UP gains valuable insights that inform the project’s approach to assessing and validating sustainable livestock production models.


Example ILPS: Athenry, Ireland (Teagasc)

Farm Zero C is a collaboration between Carbery, BiOrbic and others to create a climate-neutral, economically-viable dairy farm. The farm project takes a holistic approach, combining a range of technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the productivity and resilience of the farm.

Carbery, BiOrbic, and partners are pioneering a groundbreaking initiative in agriculture, developing a climate-neutral dairy farm through an interdisciplinary approach. Key focuses include capturing carbon in soil with multi-species swards, optimizing animal diets to reduce methane emissions, enhancing biodiversity to minimize pesticide and fertilizer usage, conducting life-cycle analyses to manage carbon emissions, and integrating renewable energy sources to mitigate reliance on fossil fuels. Additionally, trials with multi-species swards aim to boost productivity while curbing fertilizer use.

Newford Farm, Athenry, serves as a model for sustainable suckler beef production, a joint endeavor by Teagasc and Dawn Meats, with support from McDonald’s and The Irish Farmers Journal. The Newford Herd, a dedicated suckler operation, showcases optimal practices for beef production, with a meticulous focus on specific weight targets for steer and heifer beef, alongside key performance indicators like a 365-day calving interval and precise weaning criteria.

Utilizing data-driven breeding and 100% AI implementation, the farm operates transparently, offering all metrics for scrutiny by visitors and the farming community. Spread across four divisions totaling approximately 66 acres of prime grassland, Newford Farm aims to set benchmarks for profitability, labor efficiency, and best practices in a grass-based suckler-to-steer and heifer-beef production system, diverging from conventional Irish suckler enterprises.