The Foqus planet programme describes clear objectives with respect to the quality and the sustainable production of milk. The requirements of the programme of FrieslandCampina goes beyond the stipulations of legislation and regulations. All objectives and requirements of our Foqus planet programme are to be found here. We will work out a number of the elements of Foqus planet in more detail below:

Ensure good health

Every dairy farmer will agree that there is nothing better than healthy cows and calves that are doing well. And they really put a lot of effort in this.

In the Netherlands, every farm must have a ‘animal health plan’ and a ‘animal treatment plan’ in place to make sure that animal health and animal welfare of the cows are preventively approached and continuously improved. A dairy farmer draws up these plans in cooperation with a certified cattle veterinarian. The veterinarian and the dairy farmer talk about any present risks for the animal welfare and possible sources of diseases. The animal treatment plan defines how a dairy farmer must act when a cow falls ill and which medicines are required in this case. Both the animal health plan and the animal treatment plan are annually reviewed and adjusted.

A number of animal diseases is subject to obligatory treatment, such as paratuberculosis and salmonella. All farms are working on eradicating animal diseases, such as IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis) and BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea). Fighting these diseases at the farm makes the cows more resistant to diseases.

Restrict the use of antibiotics

The health of the animals will make or break a healthy dairy farm. Well looked after cows live longer and need less medication. The dairy farmer daily monitors the welfare and the health of the cows.

Antibiotics make an important contribution to the fighting of bacterial infections with both humans and animals. The Dutch livestock sectors and the government have made arrangements about restricting the use of antibiotics. They may only be applied on the veterinarian’s orders. Preventive use of antibiotics is prohibited. The use of antibiotics has substantially decreased during the past few years. The use has almost been halved since 2009, as stated in the annual report of the Netherlands Veterinary Medicines Institute (SDa). By now, the use of antibiotics in dairy farming has reached such a low level, that the SDa speaks of acceptable use. Acceptable because keeping animals will always go hand in hand with a limited use of antibiotics. “It must be possible to treat sick animals”, according to the SDa. The annual report of the SDa for 2018, which can be found here, states that the use of antibiotics is stabilising. The Dutch approach for reduction of antibiotics is unique in the world.

In connection with the health and the well-being of the cows the dairy farms have to meet all kinds of requirements. As from the year 2019, all dairy farms participate in the:

  • Continuous Animal Health Monitoring┬áThis monitors the health of the cows based on available figures and comparison with the national average. This includes cow mortality, calf mortality, the health status for paratuberculosis, BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea), salmonella, udder infections and cell count;
  • Cow Compass During a visit of the veterinarian, the dairy farmer and the veterinarian make an analysis of the farm using the Cow Compass instrument This brings into vision the risks factors of the health and the well-being of the dairy cows. It also shows the dairy farmers which steps they can take to improve the health and the well-being of the cows.

Foqus planet: more detail

The quality programme Foqus planet consists of many rules and many details. Often only of interest to our member dairy farmers. A bit more detail can be found on the page explaining some aspects of Foqus planet in more detail. E.g. about the Foqus planet basic requirements, the compulsory animal health check, the Compulsory Animal Health Plan and Animal Treatment Plan, and the proper accommodation and quality care. Also discussed are the development and control of Foqus planet.