In the village of Ophain-Bois-Seigneur-Isaac in Belgium, stands a farm built in 1904. Once run by Jonas Pussemier's grandparents, it is now run by him and his parents.
"When we took the farm over from my grandparents forty years ago, my father decided to concentrate on dairy cattle. As a breeder, he specialized in Holstein artificial insemination and bought the Canadian Cow of the Year in the 1980s. To this day, her offspring roam our modest herd, which now numbers around sixty. Thanks to our three pillars - genetics, milk and direct sales of dairy products in our farm shop - we can continue to run Bois Seigneur Holstein as a family business, just the way we like it," he says.
After Jonas moved onto the farm in 2015, a number of investments followed, including a larger barn and a milking robot. "In order to optimize production, we have put a lot of emphasis on animal welfare. So there is plenty of natural light in the barn, we chose comfortable deep stalls with flexible partitions and we also installed a rubber mat in front of the robot. At a later stage, I also decided to invest in fans to compensate for production losses due to heat stress in hot summers," says the co-manager.
He contacted Wout Goderis who, after a visit, calculated the number of fans needed, their diameter, the direction in which the fans should be blowing and the best suspension points. "Thanks to the various activities of Goderis CowCompany, he is a real expert who knows cows and their needs inside out. That's why I followed his advice: six fans above the cubicles and an extra one aimed at the milking robot. This way, there is uniform air circulation throughout the barn, with no preferential zones, while the latter fan also keeps flies away from the udders. The installation went smoothly, by a regular sub-contractor," she says.
"Two years later, I can see that both milk production and fertility are much better maintained and our yield is noticeably higher as a result," says Jonas. "The frequency-controlled fans run at three different speeds depending on the temperature measured in the barn. I don't have to worry about consumption, thanks to the solar panels, which generate a lot of electricity, especially on sunny days. I dare say that the payback time for us will be just three years, which makes this investment worthwhile," he concludes.
Source: Goderis CowCompany