Multifunctional farm novelties in Slovenia

Slovenia has 2.1 million inhabitants. Slovenian agriculture is characterised by small family farms. Average farm size is 7.5 ha. Milk production is the predominating agricultural activity in the country, accounting for 16.2% of the Gross Agricultural Output (GAO), which places Slovenia close to the EU average. In 2015, 99,664 dairy cows were reared on 6,073 dairy farms with a total milk production of about 595,000 tons and with on average 16 dairy cows per farm. More than 60% of dairy cows are housed on farms within lessfavoured areas: in mountain, hilly, karst, Natura 2000 and water protected areas. Apparently, there is higher competition to obtain land between the agricultural sectors and the human settlements and industry in the valleys. On the one hand this is a big disadvantage of dairy farming in this regions, but on the other hand, there also glorious business advantages on the horizon. Many Slovenian dairy farmers also run a multifunctional-touristic part at their farm. Like dairy family Slojic.

This little farm is already in the 9th generation. The farm has 45 ha agricultural land (13 ha Alpine land, 3 ha maize for silage, 2 ha barley, 22 ha meadows and 5 ha pasture) and 50 ha forest and a herd of 50 Simmentaler cattle; 16 dairy cows are milked on farm, 6 suckler cows and heifers graze on the Alps; the remainder are young stock. When they are not needed for replacement of the dairy cows, they stay on the farm, including the males, for beef production. Next to this there are some pigs and laying hens on this farm for the provision of meat and eggs. The farm buildings are traditional and milk production is about 6,000 kg/cow/year. The cows have a lifetime of 5 – 6 lactations. 80% of the milk is sold via a cooperative to Italy and 20% of the milk is used for tourists on the farm.

Agrotourism is an important activity on this farm, with 35 rooms and 3 apartments for guests and a restaurant. They offer B&B as well as dinners. 70% of the guests are coming from outside Slovenia, representing most European countries. The combination of farming and tourism fits well on this farm. The farm itself is too small to generate sufficient income from farming. On the Alpine pasture are also farm buildings in summer relatives of the family go there often for holidays.

Future innovations for this farm:
• Continuation of a combination of traditional farming and agrotourism
• Farming activities are stable and the main focussed on production of food for the guests.