Sustainability assessment of small dairy farms from the main cattle farming systems in the North of Tunisia

Demand for animal products is expected to increase due to human population growth, resulting in a need for increased production. At the same time, climate change poses a major threat to the viability and sustainability of livestock production systems. This study aimed to evaluate and compare the sus-tainability of dairy cattle farms belonging to three farming systems (rainfed, irrigated, and mixed) at the northeast zone of Tunisia using the IDEA method (version 3). Collected data of 102 farms were subjected to an analysis of variance using the GLM procedure of SAS software (version 9.4). Results showed that the socio-territorial scale was the limiting factor for all systems and that the irrigated sys-tem had the lowest scores of agro-ecological and socio-territorial scales, compared to the other ones, but it recorded the highest score for the economic scale. The best agro-ecological and socio-territorial scores characterized the mixed system. However, it had the lowest score on the economic scale. Finally, the rain-fed system was exhibited medium performances of the three scales. It was concluded a differ-ence between the three farm systems, but there was no disassociation between the three sustainability dimensions; thus, improvements should proceed across all scales simultaneously.