An inventive new farming method has been established in the middle of Europe’s busiest port in Rotterdam. The ‘world’s first floating dairy farm’ is now home to 32 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows who are milked by robots.
The project is designed for a future where rising sea levels mean that farmland is increasingly out of action due to flooding. Placing the farm on water eliminates this risk, making food production less vulnerable to climate change. It also aims to show a new way of bringing farming back into cities, with minimal impact on resources and the environment.
Wherever possible, the floating farm is self-sufficient. Floating solar panels provide for all energy needs and rainwater is captured on the roof and then purified- providing fresh water for the cows. The cows are fed and mucked out by robots, whilst the farmer manager, Albert Boersen, lives nearby to keep an eye on his herd.
When designing the floating farm, animal welfare was a big concern for Peter van Wingerden, owner of the floating farm. His wife, Minke, has stated that they try to make the cows happier on a floating farm than in a regular shed. The herd is free to walk back onto dry land to a grass paddock via a gangway, but Minke van Wingerden says that they usually stay on their island, stating that “most of the time they prefer to stay in”.
Our extensive range of dairy housing solutions is installed on the Floating Farm, including the EASYFIX Siesta Flexible Cubicle, the EASYFIX Jupiter F mattresses, the Evolve feed rail and EasyFeeder for maximum comfort.
EASYFIX Siesta cubicles were chosen for the Floating Farm due to their suitability for deep bed systems. The revolutionary EASYFIX Cow Cubicle delivers the freedom of the outdoors-indoors and is proven to maximise cow comfort, improve safety and increase performance. The cubicles accommodate the size of each cow, encourages cows to lie correctly and for longer periods. Increased lying times combined with improved cow comfort leads to higher milk production.
The Jupiter F mat incorporates an integrated brisket board at the front and pillow on two sides. This unique feature is a ‘world first’ and ensures optimum positioning of the cow when lying in the cow cubicle. The cow mattress has a 45mm layer of PU latex foam, creating a cushioned top surface for maximum comfort.
EASYFIX Evolve is a pioneering advance in animal feed systems that optimises cow welfare and performance.
The Evolve is a feed system designed by EASYFIX to extend the cows reach and allow for increased feed intake. It eliminates injuries and marks which are traditionally associated with steel barriers along with reducing stress.
EASYFIX EasyFeeder is an interlocking plastic trough system for feed lanes. The moulded, non-toxic and shatterproof plastic has a smooth, raised and sloped plastic surface. It ensures that the feed always remains in front of the animal.
To see our products in action on the Floating Farm, click here.
To learn more about the Floating Farm and how you can visit it, click here.