Wrapping up 2020: A look back at 10 exciting farm reports

31-12-2020 | Updated on 21-09 | |
Photo: Dreamstime
Photo: Dreamstime

It’s nearly time to say goodbye to 2020 and what an extraordinary year it has been. However, Dairy Global has still managed to report on dairy farms from all over the globe. We would like to take a look back and revisit some of the amazing farms we encountered this year.

Let’s start at the beginning of 2020…

1. France: How merging ups margins and aids farmers

The GAEC des 3 Communes has become one of the main dairy farms in the Burgundy region with an expected milk production of 2.2 million litres, this comes as a result of a merge in February last year with a dairy farm of 130 cows located in a nearby village 5km away.

Orly Courvoisier at her former farm: "We are looking for strong cows with good longevity." Photo: Ch. GILLES

Orly Courvoisier at her former farm: “We are looking for strong cows with good longevity.” Photo: Ch. GILLES

2. Belgium: If farming isn’t profitable it isn’t sustainable

Finding ways to feed the world’s growing population on finite land with limited resources has become a challenge, and ‘sustainable agriculture’ has been toted as the solution. There is, however, no clear definition of sustainable agriculture. While some models address sustainability in terms of how agricultural practices impact people and the planet, they don’t consider profitability. But the bottom line is: if farming isn’t profitable, it isn’t sustainable.

The farm is a mix of dairy, beef and crop production, complemented by a biogas facility, solar production and a growing agri-tourism business. Photo: Melanie Epp

The farm is a mix of dairy, beef and crop production, complemented by a biogas facility, solar production and a growing agri-tourism business. Photo: Melanie Epp

3. France: 50 years of organic milk production

There are 2 very important dates in history for this farm: its purchase by the monks of a French abbey in 1938, and the beginning of organic production in 1969, which made the farm of la Pierre-qui-Vire one of the first French farms to start organic farming.

Philippe Abrahamse at milking. Photo: Philippe Caldier

Philippe Abrahamse at milking. Photo: Philippe Caldier

4. Ireland: Farmer sees growth in 3 locations

“I see a risk looming on the horizon: in the form of milk quotas in Ireland,” says Jerry Murphy, a dairy farmer based in Carrigadrohid, Ireland. Yet, he does not get any extra livestock or does not rush to feed more concentrates. Optimisation is still the number one focus on his farm, after the growth spurt of the last 6 years.

Jerry Murphy takes the cows twice a day to graze. The furthest plot is 900 meters away from the milking parlour. Photo: Mark Pasveer

Jerry Murphy takes the cows twice a day to graze. The furthest plot is 900 meters away from the milking parlour. Photo: Mark Pasveer

5. The Netherlands: Where dairy cows live longer

Chocolate-fed cows that live longer than the average dairy cow in the Netherlands are enjoying quite the life at a dairy farm situated in Bodegraven, South Holland province, where milk is also pasteurised and bottled on-farm.

In the barn, built in 2008, the cows at the farm are pampered with good ventilation and natural light. Photos: Ernie Buts

In the barn, built in 2008, the cows at the farm are pampered with good ventilation and natural light. Photos: Ernie Buts

6. Australia: A farm dealing with drought

As more dairy farmers in Australia leave the industry demand is starting to outstrip supply, and prices are moving upwards meaning a better return for those remaining. However, farmers need a constant supply of water which can prove difficult. In Australia drought conditions and water rights can be major barriers, as this farm is experiencing.

Around 150 heifers per year are reared on the farm. Photo: Chris McCullough

Around 150 heifers per year are reared on the farm. Photo: Chris McCullough

7. A peek at running a farm in Denmark

Danish dairy farmer Jens Krogh normally sees hundreds of visitors per year at his 140 cow Kroghsminde organic farm located in the south western part of Jutland in Denmark. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic visits have all ceased, but it’s business as usual for this farm. At this farm, technology is favoured for efficiency.

The herd's average yield is 9,100kg per cow per year. Photo: Chris Mccullough

The herd’s average yield is 9,100kg per cow per year. Photo: Chris Mccullough

8. Northern Ireland: Herd expansion is not always the answer

Many dairy farmers believe they need more cows in their herd in order to achieve a profitable income but sometimes a closer look at the farm accounts could tell a different story. More often than not the availability of land is the dominant restriction to any dairy farm expansion and there are other factors to consider such as quotas on levels of nitrates and phosphates enforced in some countries to protect the environment.

Chris Catherwood manages the day to day running of the farm. Photo: Chris McCullough

Chris Catherwood manages the day to day running of the farm. Photo: Chris McCullough

9. United States: Preparing to take over the family farm

Anna Hinchley knew from an early age that she was destined to take over the running of her family’s dairy farm in Wisconsin, USA, and has returned home after college to do exactly that. Based just outside the small town of Cambridge, Hinchley’s dairy farm is home to 240 Holstein cows milked via 4 Lely robots.

Anna Hinchley with her parents Duane and Tina. Photo: Chris McCullough

Anna Hinchley with her parents Duane and Tina. Photo: Chris McCullough

10. Germany: Less labour, higher animal value

The goals at this farm are to produce good, uniform, and healthy youngstock that calves at a younger age with less labour and antibiotics, all under good working conditions. when building a new youngstock rearing location with 1,200 places. All these goals have been achieved

After calving on a farm with 200 places for drying cows and high-bearing heifers, the heifers arrive at the home location, the dairy farm in Kirchlinteln. Photo: Henk Riswick

After calving on a farm with 200 places for drying cows and high-bearing heifers, the heifers arrive at the home location, the dairy farm in Kirchlinteln. Photo: Henk Riswick

Van Dijk
Zana Van Dijk Editor Dairy Global