Pilot Ambassador

Manuel Pulido Fernández

Pilot Facilitator

Paula Gaspar García

Valentín Maya Blanco
Plaza de Armas nº 2 Alburquerque. C.P. 06510 (Badajoz)

+34 605 38 31 83

Boosting sustainability at a traditional
Spanish ‘dehesa’ farm

Explore the farm

La Barrosa

Extremadura, Spain

La Barossa is a traditional ‘dehesa’ farm that combines livestock with trees in
Spain’s Extremadura region, where this system of agrosilvopastoral farming
is common.
La Barrosa Spain Badajoz Conventional farming system Individual farm Components Trees Animals Agroclimatic zone Mediterranean
Spread across 205 hectares, La Barossa is home to around 120 cattle and 150 Iberian pigs. The pigs spend a few months each year feeding on acorns dropped by the farm’s holm oak trees, a quintessential element in the production of Iberian ham. The cattle graze on an annual a rotational system.
Pilot ambassador Manuel Pulido Fernández from the Universidad de Extremadura, tells us a little more:
“La Barrosa farm is a good example of the traditional system Dehesa, it’s like an agrosilvopastroal system in which holm oak is scattered with pasture. In this farm, the site is 200 hectares, it creates about 100 cattle and approximately 150 Iberian pigs, during the ‘montera’ periods, the period when the acorn falls to the ground, and the animal can fall directly from the ground,”
With the involvement of AGROMIX and the University of Extremadura, the owner, a scientist and pasture production specialist, wants to improve the sustainability of the farm management on the land and diversify production.
“AGROMIX is a good idea for involving farmers in thinking or rethinking about what is the future of this kind of project. In this case, AGROMIX is giving support to try new things in our pilot farm. And probably in the future it will be useful to reproduce our successful experiments in other farms.
The main objective of this project is survivorship, because this kind of traditional land system, they are endangered, because the farm profitability is too low and to keep the farm profitability in the future is a challenging question. So it’s difficult to optimize the current land management to guarantee survival and generation relay.
As part of this mission, a focus group co-designed a list of five main challenges faced by the farm, which boiled down to improving biosafety, self-efficiency, soil and water management, the diversification of production and profitability.
Several solutions were proposed in line with these goals. To increase biosafety, the farm addressed the need to prevent the transmission of disease among livestock and from wild animals. This approach could be helped by fencing off pasture and ponds, the latter of which are exposed to water shortages, pollution and diseases such as E. coli and tuberculosis, and by introducing water drinking points.
In its bid to achieve self-sufficiency, the focus group identified viable solutions including the use of solar panels and rotational grazing to improve pasture quality. In a Mediterranean region prone to hot summers, the efficient management of soil and water resources is crucial for the farmland’s functioning. Nature-based solutions for water and soil, including the introduction of fish and improving soil quality, can help against soil degradation and improve the quality of water.

From an economic point of view, the focus group also highlighted the need to reduce fixed costs and target market niches as a way to boost profitability. This goes hand in hand with the option of diversifying the activities on offer, such as fishing and horse-riding, as well as produce, including bees and poultry.


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