Welcome to Farmer Dick’s dairy farm. Feel free to take a look inside the milking parlour and see the cows out in the fields.
Dairy cows form the basis of the veal sector. In order for a cow to produce milk, she needs to give birth to a calf every year. Some of the heifers remain on the dairy farm to replace old dairy cows. Whereas the other calves would have previously gone direct to slaughter, nowadays they are transferred to veal farmers.
The farmer milks his cows in the milking parlour twice a day. In return, as a kind of reward, they receive a scoop of pellets. In the meantime, the farmer hooks them up to the milking machine. When the cow has been milked, she walks back to the cowshed.
From May through October, by far the majority of cows spend their days out in the fields where they can graze, walk around, lie down to rest and chew the cud.
This water trough always contains ample drinking water. Thanks to an automatic system fitted with a float valve, also known simply as a ‘float’.
Farmer Dick made a conscious choice for this water system. Cows live in herds, which are groups based on a hierarchical structure. A large water trough offers all cows equal opportunity to drink at any time. They do not have to wait their turn to drink, as would be the case with a water dispenser.
After a day spent grazing and chewing the cud out in the fields, the cows walk back to the stable late in the afternoon. The farmer then milks them for the second time that day.
The milk is stored in a special refrigerated tank. Rapid cooling ensures that the raw material stays fresher for longer. The dairy plant’s tank truck arrives at the farm once every two days to collect the milk. The driver first takes a sample from the milk storage tank to check that the milk meets the relevant quality standards. Once he is happy that it does, he pumps the milk into the tank truck ready for transportation to the dairy plant.
Many dairy farmers use groundwater on their farms, both for their cows and their family. After having been pumped up from out of the ground, it flows into a special tank for purification. This ensures that the water meets strict quality standards.
Tank trucks take the milk to the dairy plant to be processed into dairy products such as cheese, butter and yoghurt.