Hidden in the grass you can see the little nest. The eggs are waiting for mother lapwing to hatch them. Dairy farmer and member of FrieslandCampina Wim van Ittersum often walks through the meadow looking for nests of the meadow birds and marking them. This prevents them from being damaged by mowing.
At the family farm in Mastenbroek life mainly is about the 150 dairy cows. Their milk is processed in FrieslandCampina’s dairy chain. However, also a lot of attention is paid to the birds living and hatching their eggs in the meadow. ‘I think that we are responsible for our surroundings’, says Wim. ‘As farmers we have our responsibility towards society and as farmers we are responsible for the dairy we produce as well as for the birds on our lands. We are hosts of the meadow birds.’
Wim really takes the birds into consideration. He marks the nests by putting sticks in the grass, so he can mow around them. This is not enough, though, he thinks. Not only because this may tell the birds of prey that there is a nest somewhere near, but also because a nesting place surrounded by only short grass is very vulnerable. ‘With respect to birds of prey as well as to the food supply for the newborn birds. When a chick comes out of the egg, it must immediately provide its own food. Therefore sufficient food must be available in the neighbourhood.’ So Wim makes sure there is.
‘I mow less often In some parts of the meadow so the grass can grow longer and more flowers can bloom. I leave the grass and the flowers on the banks untouched and I flood pieces of land to create a pool/marshland.’ In this part the meadow birds can find their food and in the swampy soil more flowers can bloom. These flowers then attract insects on which the young black-tailed godwits and lapwings thrive.
‘As member dairy farmers of FrieslandCampina we are together responsible for landscape management and sustainability.’
Looking for nests and making a mowing plan for his meadows takes time, but Wim offers his time with pleasure. ‘I love to go to the meadow to localise nests. I really want to make sure that my grandchildren will be able to enjoy the pretty birds such as the curlew, the black-tailed godwit, the redshank and the lapwing.’
Part of the FrieslandCampina CSR strategy
As part of the CSR strategy pillar ‘Now and for generations to come’, FrieslandCampina pays much attention to biodiversity and it is aware that as a company it is a manager of the rural areas.