КООПЕРАТИВНА НАВЧАЛЬНА ФЕРМА (Сільськогосподарське підприємство «Молочарське»)
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Ukrainian Twinning staff visiting the Netherlands

On March 21-24th a peer-to-peer learning visit of Ukrainian representatives to Dutch Twinning Farmers took place

Among everything, Ukrainian staff saw and heard during twinning program, there are many things that are very effective and understandable, but for some reasons not used in Ukraine. The main feedback is “We are eager to implement the gained experience from the Dutch twinning in Ukraine”. These things include but not limited to the following:

– Manure management system (including use of slatted floors)

– Organic fertilizer application system

– Making bedding for cows from dried manure

– Cow Milking robots

– Calf feeding robots

– Highest grade milk quality stable during all seasons

– Effective equipment and devices for manual labour mechanization at small and medium farms,

– Silo constructions, which is economically efficient and provides good quality silage

– Compact arrangement of cow barns and calf barns

– Bed & breakfast services for tourists and possibility for them of touring/learning at the farm premises

– Partnership with cooperatives, which allow significantly improve price for inputs and outputs

– Provision of fodder stocking services

– Application of the alternative energy: wind-powered and solar generators.

Detailed description of the Ukraine staff visit of Dutch twinning farmers

Tuesday March 21, 2017: Arrival to Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Wednesday March 22, 2017

8:00 – 12:00 – Visiting Heifers raising farm of twinning farmer Mr. Marcel Verdeuzeldonk (with support of his parents). Farm profile: 10 Steenstraat Street; village Neerkant. Netherlands, 5758. Cattle herd is 50-60 dairy heifers. Marcel was a chair of the study group of Dutch farmers sharing information together, so he is very useful for the family farmers in Ukraine on how to learn and cooperate.

The first farm that we visited was built by the grand-granddad 80 years ago, in 1937. The building was completed in 1950. The farm currently produces no milk, but raises Holstein young breeder consisting of 50-55 heads. Heifers are divided into groups by age. Unlike our demo farm in Ukraine, there are no rubber mats in stalls here, but a layer of sawdust is used instead. In passages there is slatted floor (which we do not have at our dairy farms in Ukraine, only at some pig-breeding farms), which allows manure to get to the hidden tank to be transported to a closed manure storage facility. We were explained the technology and shown the equipment used to apply manure to pastures after mowing herbage there. At our request we were shown the process of taking away corn silage with a special machine that cuts off straight layers with three moving knives (we have no such equipment) and of haylage with a scoop machine that later distributes forage to the feed table. We were also impressed by the simplicity of construction and effectiveness of the grazer moving membrane drinker. We were given answers to all our questions with detailed comments and demonstration of the operation of machines and equipment.  What we liked is that having shifted from milk production to raising young breeder, the owners didn’t ruin old buildings and service lines (the milk collection station with a cooler, the milking parlour etc.) and so can engage in milk production again. Having good financial results of activity, the family is planning to install solar panels on the roofs of farm’s buildings.  In addition, we the farmer has a very nice horse and cart for providing services to tourist, which Ukrainian group enjoyed much!

13:00 – 15:30 Dairy Farm: Van Lipzig Holstein Farm, http://www.vanlipzigvof.nl/, partner of HAS Limburg University of applied science https://www.hasinternational.nl/ :

https://www.hashogeschool.nl/partnerbedrijf-van-lipzig at Schandelo 110 5941 NH Velden tel nr is 06-23746909 (has an agreement with HAS Limburg University to provide practical training in dairy farming: http://vanlipzigvof.nl/melkveebedrijf/(see the video on milking robots: https://youtu.be/sNIgXIgu4GI
) and farming mechanization services

This is the second family farm, the biggest and the newest of all those that we visited. It manages 180 dairy cows, 150 calves; 1.4 million litters milk per year.

The father, his son and only one employed person work at the farm. The family consisting of four persons took a loan, built a brand-new farm during 4 years, and placed it in operation in 2015. Loose keeping of animals used at the farm. The milk yield is 30kg/head per day, fat content 4.5% and protein content 3.5%. These are quite high figures for the Holstein breed (the corresponding indexes of our Cooperative Demo Farm in Ukraine are 27kg/head, fat 4.2%, protein 3.47%). Five LeLy milking robots used at the farm.

One of the most interesting novelties is that this farm has introduced a system of drying manure, which is used as bedding for milking cows – absolutely dry and odourless. The system of manure removal includes slotted floor with a hidden tank. Ideal cleaning of the floor is ensured by a delta-scrapper. Calves kept in individual boxes starting from the day of birth to the age of 3 months and older ones – in sections 8-10 heads each on bedding made of chopped straw. The heifers of mating age and open heifers kept in an individual section, where stalls are covered with rubber mats. Day light penetrates into the buildings through side sectional blinds and through ceiling windows.  In the façade part of the building on the first floor there is a training classroom, where trainings for students from Dutch higher educational institutions and for foreign participants are held. Only three persons are engaged in the production process. The family farm has a separate mechanization/technical/legal separate unit, owned by older brother, and providing services in soil preparation, fodder growing, and production not only for the farm itself, but also for other farmers. We were impressed by a separate standing shed, in which various high-tech equipment as well as attachable and other fittings are held. The light penetrates into the shed also through ceiling windows.  

Transfer to Ki-Samen AI Centre, Lorbaan 27, 5985 NC Grashoek Netherlands: www.ki-samen.nl

16:00 – 17:00 – Met with a Manager, who provided comprehensive description of a private A.I Centre established in 1982 is the second largest A.I.-company in the Netherlands with focus on practical breeding.

K.I. SAMEN is the second largest A.I.-company in the Netherlands. The family farm that we visited, unique in its own way. Nine generations of the family have been engaged in dairy business for 200 years already. At first, they produced only milk, but in 1982 under K.I. SAMEN trademark they organized a breeding station and are now selling the semen (sperm) from the best stud bulls to 40 countries of the world. We saw hundreds of cups, awards and certificates in the guest room that certify high quality of production.

Dairy Farm GRASHOEK founded by SAMEN as the separate legal entity locally named Fok en Melkveebedrijf GRASHOEK. Other elements of loose cattle keeping technology are standard for Holland. However, there are certain differences: dried horse manure is used as bedding for milking cows as well as dried straw that is delivered with the help of a motorized suspension chopper-transporter – good idea to utilize in Ukraine.

We did not visit the place where stud bulls are kept, because it was not the purpose of our visit. After the presentation of achievements of the breeding station and talking to managers Ukrainian staff selected a potential Jersey stud bull for the needs of the Demo farm and family mini-farms in Ukraine, who manage this breed. Subject of further negotiation regarding importing semen. 

17:00 – 18:00

Explored the Dairy Farm GRASHOEK founded by SAMEN as the separate legal entity locally named Fok en Melkveebedrijf GRASHOEK.

This is the third in succession family farm that we visited, unique in its own way. Nine generations of the family have been engaged in dairy business for 200 years already. At first, they produced only milk, but in 1982 under K.I. SAMEN trademark they organized a breeding station and are now selling the semen (sperm) from the best stud bulls to 40 countries of the world. In the guest room we saw hundreds of cups, awards and certificates that certify high quality of production.

Dairy Farm GRASHOEK founded by SAMEN as the separate legal entity locally named Fok en Melkveebedrijf GRASHOEK. This second unit specialized in milk production. The average yield is 11t/head per year, fat content 4.3%, protein content 3.53%. The milk selection process is conducted using a Carousel milking plant.

Other elements of loose cattle keeping technology are standard for Holland. However, there are certain differences: dried horse manure is used as bedding for milking cows as well as dried straw that is delivered with the help of a motorized suspension chopper-transporter.

We did not visit the place where stud bulls are kept, because it was not the purpose of our visit. After the presentation of achievements of the breeding station and talking to managers we selected a potential Jersey stud bull for the needs of our Demo farm and family mini-farms in Ukraine who manage this breed.

Thursday March 23, 2017

Meeting with Wim Wismans, the Dutch-Ukraine Dairy Centre project Leader:

Discussed the ways of cooperation of all parties involved. Wim Wismans, the Dutch Ukraine Dairy Centre (DUDC) project leader, took part in the Feb visit of Twining Dutch farmers to Ukraine, particular in the meeting of Dutch farmers with University students. He proposed some follow ups to cooperate. The DUDC (1 April 2016 – 1 April 2019) has as focus to improve the quality and quantity of milk. There are 2 components of the project. Implementation of 3 training facilities (Lviv, Bila Tserkva / Uman and Sumi) with a coordination centre (CDTC) in Kyiv and the improvement of the institutional settings in Ukraine Dairy sector. Animal breeding, animal health and the cooperation in the dairy sector are important parts in DUDC project.

DUDC has her focus at large farms, but the institutional aspects have positive influence on all farms. At the other hand the DUDC project profits from Canadian project that the analysis of milk samples of individual cows is setup well and is used for large dairy farms. The idea arises to propose a new project with the support of Netherlands, Canada (Union of Coops and Demo Farm), ICFCW and possibly Danone. Experiences in many countries have proven that cooperation between dairy plants and farmers is necessary to realize

the improvement of the quality of produced milk and to improve the productivity of dairy cows. It is needed along with Institutional building financial support of improvements in the dairy sector.

The DUDC project demonstrated the advantages of using a central database for all breeding and management aspects. For breeding today is no national database available. To create a well-functioning breeding database is quite difficult and expensive in Ukraine. The I&R (identification and registration) database has to be linked with other databases (government and private). For Ukraine it is advisable to the I&R database and cattle breeding database at least are linked. Some Ideas to improve institutional settings in dairy sector have been discussed and agreed to follow up.

10:00 – 12:00 – Exploring Ruthildes’ Erve farm, neighbour of Marc Plunder (twinning farmer). Herwin Marks and Rene Kremers accompanied Ukrainian staff.

The fourth farm was not included in our plan of visits at all, but Gerlof, the owner of the family farm Ruthildes Erve, kindly showed us the place. Together with his wife, he keeps 160 heads of Holstein cattle. The milk yield is 27l/cow per day. To produce feed they have 80 ha of land and the necessary equipment.  He explained in detail that three times a year after herbage mowing, he collects liquid manure in a tank and applied it to the soil using a special spreader (cultivator) – he showed us all the equipment used for that purpose.

The farmer is currently constructing silage storages as an alternative to hills. Their structure is quite simple and not large. Such an approach is very suitable for our mini-farms and now we are planning to build similar structures in Ukraine. When corn silage is laid, sugar beet pulp layers are made. In addition, we saw film-wrapped bales with unfamiliar feed. We asked what it was. The milk consultant Rene Kremers explained it was chopped rapeseed straw that is added to cow ration to improve rumen functioning and balance the speed of fiber digestion. This surprised us greatly, because usually we face the opposite problem: there is no possibility to make feedstuffs (silage, haylage, hay) containing quality fast-digestible fiber. 

This farm is special because on the roof of its barn solar panels are installed which cover the farm’s average yearly electricity requirement. This inspired us to change our plans and also install solar panels on the roof of the calf barn when it is constructed in autumn 2017.

12:00 – 15:00 – Exploring Twinning farm of Mr. Marc Plender (with assistance of his manager, Jan de Groot). Discussion of the role of Agriculture coops in development of dairy farmers in Netherlands. Address: Dompeweg 2, 8278 ax Kamperveen, the Netherlands. Around 100 dairy cows, recently started to use Jan der Groot, hired manager of the farm, so it would help Marc Plender to dedicate more time for follow up twinning activities

The fifth farm that belongs to Marc Plender was presented to us by its manager Jan de Groot and his wife. 105 milking cows and young stock of different age are kept at the farm. There is a parallel-type milking parlour. The productivity of animals is 9t/head a year, fat content 4.6%, protein content 3.53%.

16:00 – 19:00 – Exploring twinning dairy farm of Herwin Marks (with support of his parents). In 2010, family built a new barn, with three milking robots. Around 160 milking cows, average 25 litters per cow. Family has around 90 ha of land with 12 ha for corn, 3 ha sugar beets and the rest is grass. Please see the selected photos from the Ukrainian staff visit to the Twinning Dairy Farm: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B0M63C0lLb8uM0FScjV5aGJTNlE 

The sixth farm we visited has two main buildings. The first barn was constructed in 1972 and the second barn with robot-equipped milking plants – in 2009. In these barns, 220 heads of Holstein and Simmental cattle are kept, including 150 milking cows, 30 dry cows and 40 heads of young stock. Milking is carried out by three Delaval robots. Calves are reared using milk replacer that is prepared, dosed and reared by a robot-equipped plant of the same trademark. There are similar plants at Ukrainian farms, but in Ukraine calves are reared with pasteurized milk.

20:00 – 22:00 March 23 and in the morning March 24 – Exploring Dairy Farm of the Family Ten Hove Wim and Joke: Farm has 135 milk cows, 100% Holstein-Frisian. They give 8700 litre milk in average. Robot milking. There are 85 young stock animals. Last 2-year farm had negative balance. They see that there is a good tendency of milk price increase this year with hope for a good financial result this year. This is the story of all dairy farms in Holland for 2015 and 2016. The milk price was too low (€ 0.25 the lowest price). Farm feeds the cows grass silage. The best for the milking cows and the worse for the young animals and for the cows who give no milk. The cows get also maize (70% grass silage / 30% maize). The cows who give the most milk must have the most chunk. In April, cows get fresh grass in the pastures along with a mixed feed once a day.

The seventh farm was the last in our program. It consists of a residential house, two cow barns, one calf barn and a separate B&B house. Milking is carried out automatically using Mlone milking robots. What impressed us about this farm, is that on the first floor of the barn in its facade part a residential apartment had been made for the elder son’s family. Fresh air is supplied to the apartment through its roof. Some of the windows look onto the yard (there is a field and river view), and some other windows look directly onto the inside of the farm and cows…