The Farm Consultancy Group (FCG, www.fcgagric.com) requested HollandDoor to organize their annual study tour from 22nd to 24th June. The FCG is a group of farm consultants and agricultural advisors that are situated throughout the United Kingdom (mainly in the southern half). They are specialized in dairy farming and business management.
On the first and third day HollandDoor prepared a visiting program with the major focus on two subjects:
- care farms and small scale food processing;
- the nutrient situation in The Netherlands (animal manure logistics, processing, recycling).
On the second day the FCG members had a training at Cow Signals.
The study tour started on Monday at the Zonnehoeve care farm at Zeewolde where they were received by the initiator Mr. Piet van IJzendoorn. After an interesting tour of the farm the group left for Nijkerk, where they were received at Cumela by Mr. Jaap Uenk. He gave an extensive presentation on the nutrient situation in The Netherlands, which led to the conclusion that the Dutch animal manure regulation system may not be what the UK farmers are waiting for! After that there was still time left to visit the ECOFERM of the Kroes family at Uddel where the group was introduced to the closed-cycle thinking on the calve farm with manure digestion and duckweed production on the roof. The group expected an experimental farm and was surprised by the big scale.
On Wednesday morning the program started with a presentation by Mrs. Linette Mak of the Foundation Landwaard at Oosterhout on local food production, marketing and promotion. It turned out that much of the problems that are encountered, are the same for Holland and the UK. Next the group travelled to the manure processing plant of Groot-Zevert at Beltrum to see in practice which techniques can be used to process manure and to produce valuable new raw materials from/with it. To their surprise there was again duckweed production, which gave a lot of discussion about the economic viability of this production for animal feed. The last visit was at dairy farm 't Vorster at De Heurne, where the group was received by the Keuper family and Mr. Simon Lieftink from ID-Agro. As dairy consultants the group was back on known territory and they were impressed by the new Cow Lounge stable, the milking robots and the automatic litter spreading in the stable. Only after much discussion, many pictures and lots of questions the group finally said goodbye in the afternoon in order not to miss their planes.
The FCG members were very content with the amount of information and impressions they had received during only two (short) days of visits. They invited the visited farms and companies to return a visit to them in the UK.
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