How is the cow doing?
A healthy cow that is well taken care of gives high-quality milk. The health and the well-being of the cows is of great importance to the member dairy farmers. It is part of sustainable dairy farming. Our Foqus planet-programme describes how FrieslandCampina guarantees the health of the cows. Also read more about the cows in the meadows and the care for calves.
“You really have to love cows”
The over 18,000 member dairy farmers are busy with their animals every day of the week. This just keeps going on. Milking, feeding and checking, every day again. Gert and Rianne Krol run a dairy farm with 185 cows in Weert in the Dutch province of Zuid-Limburg. Gert mainly keeps himself busy with the dairy cows, whereas his wife Rianne takes care of the calves. Gert and Rianne apply outside grazing: a part of the cows goes outside, a part remains in the shed. What does animal welfare mean to Gert Krol?
“In our shed the cows have enough space to walk around freely, they are lying on thick mattresses with sawdust, they can eat and drink whenever they want and they can go to the milking robot for milking any hour of the day. In this way the cows can show natural behaviour. They also like to make use of the cow brushes for a nice massage. Our shed is quite new. There is plenty of light and fresh air comes in through the open side walls. The cows clearly feel at ease. A healthy cow that is feeling well gives milk most easily. We are dependent of the cows for our income and we want them to be all right. A dairy farmer must love cows, otherwise he will not get any please out of this business.”
“We are very precise about their care and the feed. For instance, the feed for a pregnant cow differs from that for cows that are already giving milk. The correct feed is important for the health of both the calves and the cow. We try to give a newborn calf the best possible start in life. We do this, among other things, by first giving it colostrum (milk from the mother cow) and later special calf rearing milk. The colostrum contains a lot of antibodies, which improve the resistance of calves. I also participate in the Dutch Kalf-Opfok Kwaliteitsscore (KalfOK), a calf rearing quality score system. KalfOK gives me insight into the quality of the calf rearing at my farm and it supports me in providing optimum care. In study groups and in cooperation with the veterinarian we are continuously looking for ways to improve the care for our cows. This never stops.”