Grazing and outdoor access - meat and milk from lamb, sheep and goat
Allowing animals to graze and spend time outside is positive for their health and gives the animals good opportunities to behave naturally. Well-managed grazing is also a resource-efficient and environmentally sustainable way of raising animals because it reduces the need for other feed. Animals can graze in grasslands, fields, or land that cannot be used for producing other types of food. Contracting authorities that set requirements for grassland farming and/or time spent in the open air also contribute to grazing that can have positive effects on biological diversity.
- Technical specification
- Milk and dairy from sheep and goats
Meat and milk products must be derived from animals that have been able to graze or otherwise have access to the outdoors for a continuous period of at least two months per year during the grazing season as defined in the country of production.
The supplier must be able to present one of the following, for example:
- Details regarding the raw material's country of origin and reference to applicable law in cases where national legislation establishes that the requirement is met, e.g.,
- Ursprung Sverige [Origin: Sweden], Chapter 6 Section 4-5 of SJVFS 2019:21 Item no. L107 or Chapter 6 Section 4-5 of SJVFS 2019:22 Item no. L109.
- Certification according to IP Sigill lamm [IP Sigill lamb] or other certification that meets the requirement.
- Other documentation showing that the requirement is met.
One method of follow-up is through spot checks of delivered products. The information provided by the supplier in its tender is then checked/examined, for example by:
- ensuring that origin marking appears on the product in cases where national legislation establishes that the requirement is met, e.g.,
- Ursprung Sverige [Origin: Sweden], 'Kött från Sverige' [Meat from Sweden] or 'Från Sverige' [From Sweden] along with documentation showing that the requirement has been met, e.g., an Importer's Declaration along with a self-assessment in accordance with Miljöhusesyn from the slaughterhouse or audit records.
- ensuring that information about certification according to IP Sigill lamm [IP Sigill lamb] or other certification that meets the requirement is correct.
- ensuring that other documentation provided shows that the requirement is met.
Information about the criterion
The different lamb production systems are characterised according to the times of year when lambs are slaughtered. The most common type in Sweden is autumn lamb production, which means that ewes have lambs in the spring, and the lambs are slaughtered in the autumn after the end of the grazing season, but lambs can be born and slaughtered at all times of the year. Lambs born in the autumn and slaughtered in the spring are raised indoors and do not go out to graze.
In organic production, sheep must always have access to grazing when weather and ground conditions allow. The regulations do not specify any exact times for grazing. See also Requirement ID 10400 Organic product – addition lamb for expanded grazing requirements.
Animals that can spend time in large outdoor areas are given good opportunity to move about and graze in accordance with their natural behaviour. Grazing and spending time in the open air also results in generally healthier and happier animals with fewer injuries to the legs and hooves. Grazing animals can also contribute to biological diversity when grazing creates an environment that benefits many plants and animals.
There are legal requirements for time spent in the open air in Sweden. For sheep and goats, the legislation allows for time spent outside other than for the purpose of grazing, but according to Svenska Fåravelsförbundet [the 'Swedish Sheep Breeders' Association'] and the Federation of Swedish Farmers, in practice, all lambs raised in Sweden between May and October are allowed to go out to graze. Lambs raised in Sweden during the winter do not go out to graze. During the winter, sheep and lambs instead spend time in groups on deep straw litter beds, often with access to fields for resting/exercise. The basis of their feed is green crops (grass and clover), and feed supplements in the form of grains and protein feed are given to heavily pregnant ewes or those that have recently given birth, as well as young lambs. In countries with a warmer climate, the grazing period is longer, and lambs go outside for most of the year.
In Sweden, the grazing period extends from 1 May to 15 October. In other countries with different climates, the time of year suitable for grazing can vary. Chapter 6, Sections 4, 5 of the regulations of the Swedish Board of Agriculture (SJVFS 2019:21) Item no. L107 specifies the minimum length of contiguous grazing time for lambs and sheep, depending on where in the country production takes place. In the Blekinge, Scania and Halland counties – 4 months; in the Stockholm, Uppsala, Södermanland, Östergötland, Jönköping, Kronoberg, Kalmar, Gotland, Västra Götaland, Värmland, Örebro och Västmanland counties – 3 months; and in the Dalarna, Gävleborg, Västernorrland, Jämtland, Västerbotten and Norrbotten counties – 2 months. For goats, the corresponding rules are found in Chapter 6, Sections 4, 5 of SJVFS 2019:22 Item no. L109.
The version date indicates when the sustainability criterion was created or last updated. Last reviewed dated tells when we last checked that the sustainability criterion still is relevant.
- Current ID
- Version date
2020-12-21, Krav ID 10443:2; Changed level from advanced to core. Included sheep, goat and milk products. Applied and changed accordning to the Swedish Board of Agriculture. Clarified grazing period according to the production country. 2016-12-19: Changed type from award criteria to technical specication, changed level from core to advanced