Dairy practice

The world’s first floating dairy farm will house 40 cows and be hurricane-resistant

A Dutch company is set to debut the world’s first floating dairy farm near Amsterdam.

A high-tech, multilevel facility will soon be floating in the water in Rotterdam, located roughly 50 miles outside of Amsterdam. Minke van Wingerden, a partner at the property development companyBeladon, told Business Insider that the 89-by-89 foot farm will produce an average of 211 gallons of milk each day.

The facility will have 40 cows, which is fairly typical for a small dairy farm in the Netherlands.

floating dairy farm
Photo//courtesy

Van Wingerden and her husband, Peter van Wingerden, came up the idea after a business trip to New York City in 2012. Hurricane Sandy hit the city during the visit, flooding Manhattan and knocking out power for many residents. The storm quickly made it difficult to buy fresh produce, as thousands of food delivery trucks were unable to reach their destinations.

Beladon decided to search for a way to help cities produce food close to where residents live in order to better withstand supply chain disruptions. Eventually, the company moved forward with designs for a farm that could float on water.

The idea adds to existing innovations in urban agriculture, including rooftop and warehouse farms. Floating farms, Minke van Wingerden said, can adapt to changes in the climate and be hurricane-resistant.

“You go up and down with the tide, or the water, and it has no influence on your food production, so you can still make fresh food in the city,” she said.

The farm’s bottom level will feature machinery for processing and packaging the dairy. The cows will be on the second level, along with robots for milking. Beladon will use the third level to grow clover and grass for the cows to eat.

The farm will also recycle as much as it can, van Wingerden said. For example, the cows will be fed with various waste products from the city, such as grains left over from local breweries and by-products from mills. Beladon will also process the cows’ manure and sell it as a natural fertilizer.

After launching the Rotterdam project, van Wingerden said Beladon will work on opening more floating farms. Beyond producing dairy, the company is designing floating chicken farms and floating vertical farming greenhouses. Van Wingerden said she would like to open farms in Singapore and China soon, and the company is in talks with another Dutch city for a second farm.

She and her husband also believe that new communities should be built with food access in mind. The area by the Rotterdam harbor, for example, is on track to be filled with residential spaces and offices in the next several years, and Minke van Wingerden said food production should be at “the heart of that community.”

Rotterdam’s port authority initially had some reservations about Beladon’s farm, voicing concerns about the smell and noise. Van Wingerden said the manure will be removed quickly from the farm by robots, which will reduce any bad odor associated with the farm.

As for the cows making noise, van Wingerden said there is not much they can do.

“Some people are afraid what’s going on, but on the other hand there are also [those] who cannot wait until the first cows come in,” she said. “They are very much looking forward to see a cow here in the harbor.”

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Dairy practice

RECOMMENDED ZERO GRAZING HOUSING PLAN FOR SMALL SCALE FARMERS

The following is the recommended housing plan for a small scale zero grazing unit. The cubicle of a dairy cow shed has three distinct areas:

  • The resting and sleeping cubicle or compartment
  • The cattle walking or manure places
  • The cattle forage, feeding and watering place

The resting and sleeping cubicle or compartment

Each animal has its own compartment or sleeping place. Separation between compartments is done by wooden rails or posts.

The floor of the house can be constructed from ordinary soil from the farm. Soil is much more cheaper and comfortable to the animal than concrete or stones. The soil can be replaced if dirty or worn out. The floor of the sleeping place is raised 25cm above the level of walking and manuring passage.

The recommended standard width is 4ft or 120cm and standard length of 7ft or 210cm. The cubicle should not be too long or too wide or the floor will get dirty and consequently also the animals. The cubicle is of the right size if the droppings fall on the walking and manuring and not on the floor of the resting and sleeping compartment. For heifers the length and width of the cow cubicle should be reduced by moving the neck control posts towards the manuring and walking passage and by fitting another side wall into the cubicle.

Provide a roof over the resting and sleeping compartment in order to provide shade and to prevent the area from getting wet and dirty.

The cattle walking or manure places

This should be constructed solidly with concrete because the area is used heavily by animals. Mix cement, sand and ballast in the ration of 1:2:3. The floor should slope towards the end of the building where manure is stored in a pit about 3-5m away from the stable.

The feeding and watering place

Construct troughs for feeding and drinking water on the opposite side of the sleeping and resting compartment along the walking manuring passage. 2.5-3ft or 90cm long feed troughs per cow can be constructed using woods, stonesor concrete.

Construct a water trough between the cow and young stock section. Use concrete or water drum.

Design

Top view

Side elevation

Dairy practice

MOST EFFECTIVE PRACTICES FOR PROFITABLE ZERO-GRAZING ENTERPRISE

Many dairy farmers have raised inquiries concerning the most effective practices for a profitable zero-grazing enterprise. Dairy farmers ought to perceive that zero-grazing is different from zero feeding.

Many farmers have incurred huge prices in putting in place zero-grazing enterprises however have ended up failing miserably. Influential leaders haven’t been spared either. And all this is often because of an absence of understanding of the pertinent needs for a profitable zero-grazing investment.

Zero-grazing or stall feeding is essentially confining animals in an exceedingly stall and feeding them there. There’s minimum movement of cows because they’re not allowed to graze within the fields and so the term zero grazing. Several dairy farmers in Kenya hold the zero-grazing model of farm production attributable to the various advantages accruing from it. Issues like shortage of pasture, low productivity of dairy cows, caliber fodder, prevalence of diseases and lack of cash are handled during this system of farm production.

The zero-grazing unit

Zero-grazing unit aspect elevation

Zero-grazing
Photo/courtesy

Cows are unbroken and fed within the stall all year. The positioning where the unit is constructed determines the potency of operations throughout the zero-grazing enterprise. It ought to be close to as potential to the supply of forage to scale back labor prices of carrying the cut grass to the cows and carrying manure back to the farm. Zero-grazing needs an increased level of labor input, due to the requirement to chop grass daily. The time demand is about three-man hours/cow/day. Proximity to the homestead in respect to the biogas plant is additionally a very important thought.

The quality and amount of construction material ought to be assessed completely to work out the smallest amount potential value whereas maintaining quality of the house. Quality materials that are regionally accessible will greatly scale back prices. The cow shed should be practical, low cost and long lasting. The selection of a skilled worker is vital as a result of plenty of high-priced material may be wasted by hiring a foul skilled worker. Note that the foremost expensively engineered stable isn’t perpetually the most effective and most economical one. Farmers are advised to use recommended zero-grazing housing plans.

Improved dairy breeds

In order to extend milk production, you would like to target fewer, higher fed and higher quality animals. Stock the units with dairy cows that are bred specifically for milk yield. Vital dairy breeds of cows in Kenya for high-milk yield are Jersey, Ayrshire, Guernsey, milk cow and Sahiwal.

Maintain the farm breeds by upgrading your stock through AI exploitation tested dairy-bull semen. choosing sensible cows and culling non-playacting ones let alone sensible calf rearing for replacement stock ought to be an integral part of the system.

Adequate forage resource base

Grassland management and adaptability are the keys to the effectiveness of this method. Planning is vital to confirm there’s perpetually adequate forage accessible for the animals. Zero-grazing will offer opportunities for herd growth by increased forage utilization or through accessing land on the far side cow walking distance for grazing. Assume commercially and recognize the most forage production potential of your farm holding and therefore the potential quantity of off farm forage accessible to your herd in an exceedingly given year. This may change you to work out the most range of animals your zero-grazing enterprise can support. The quantity of forage, if obtained inside or outside the farm, is really the one most resource that determines the quantity of cows or animals which will be sustained within the unit because of.

  • In feeding the cows the forage to concentrate quantitative relation cannot surpass 60:40 %. A quantitative relation of 70:30 is suggested.
  • Forages take time to ascertain as hostile concentrates which might be purchased on demand.

Elephant (nappier) grass (penisetum puperum) grass is most well-liked because the main fodder crop as a result of it’s advantage of being comparatively simple to grow and re-grows apace when cutting. Different helpful crops or grasses are fodder maize and fodder sorghum. Opt for the foremost appropriate fodder to your section.

Replenish soil fertility by utilization of all manure on the Napier crop each two to three days. Apply four luggage of fifty kg of fertilizer NPK fertilizer (20-10-10) per acre per annum. This could additionally apply once establishing different quite fodder. Harvest the mature Napier grass when it’s mature to 60-90cm tall. The aim should be to supply the best quantity of dry matter (DM) per unit area of fodder.

Plant 0.75 – one acre of Napier grass per mature cow and her offspring. A daily intake of 75-100kg of recent grass/cow may be achieved with sensible management to give a dry matter intake of 14-16kg/day. A recent weight intake of 100kg/cow/day would be needed for 15kg DM of grass.

Become brilliant at manufacturing and preserving feed for the season to confirm that milk production is maintained at a gentle rate throughout the year. one in all the best issues is providing sensible quality feed to the herd throughout the season. Dig a silage pit to store and preserve animal feed. Learn to store grass to be used throughout the season by creating your own silage and fodder. The increased utilization of off farm fodder will provide a rise of stocking rate on the farm. You’ll be able to get or rent additional land for animal feed or purchase feed from neighbors.

Feeding

Cows fed to capability on grasses alone have the potential to supply up to a most of seven kilos of milk per day. Extra milk is supported by concentrates. Keep in mind that it’s pointless to feed supplements once forage needs don’t seem to be met.

Give concentrate supplement because the main supply of energy and energy. Most farmers like giving farm meal to the cows at milking time. Supplement at a rate of one kilo for every 1.5 liters of milk the cow produces on prime of the seven kilos of milk contributed by grass. Different concentrates like edible seed cake, cotton seed cake and bran are accessible. For instance, farmers say that the employment of brewer’s waste as a feeding supplement, ad lib, will increase milk production by seven liters per day.

But the foremost vital factor is to own your ration formula right. Ration formulation could be an advanced method and any farmer cannot simply bed. You may want the talents of skilled professional to return up with the proper mixture of the feeds accessible to your cows. Invest in an exceedingly chaff-cutter to mill crop residues for feed so nothing goes to waste. Cows should have adequate feeding house, and wastage should be monitored, to confirm feed intake is maximized. Wastage ought to be but five-hitter, and refused material should be far away from the feeding space daily, as this can decompose rapidly.

Innovative dairy farmers have come back up with home-mix farm rations. An example composition of a one hundred kilo of home-mix farm ration is forty kilo flower cake, forty kilo maize grain, ten kilo sorghums, five kilo Glycine max beans and five kilo dried cassava chips. The mixture is dried and processed. Farmers who use this home-mix state that they get double as much milk from their home combine as they are doing for constant amount of purchased business dairy meal.

Mineral lick ought to be offered to the cows ad libitum within the mineral box. Water ought to be accessible throughout the day because it makes most of the milk.

Stable manure production

Manure ought to be treated rigorously to reap most get benefit from it. Manure contain high content of organic matter and minerals that improve soil fertility so forage yields and is supply of material for biogas production. Cover the manure pit to stop nitrogen losses.

One cow will produce up to twenty tons of compost per year depending on accessibility of crop residues. Twenty tons of compost contains close to eighty kilos of nitrogen, forty kilos of phosphate and ten kilos of hydroxide.

The manure made from three cows is comfortable to supply thequantity of gas required for cooking and lighting within the farm.

Decision making

PASSION FRUIT, FARMING GUIDE

Growing passion fruit step by step

Passion fruit is a perennial plant that allows farmers to enjoy yields for longer periods often exceeding three years depending on management. As with most other fruits, you can intercrop passion fruit with vegetables such as leeks, onions, beetroots, spinach, strawberries and any other crop that does not share pest and diseases with the passions. Popular cultivars include purple passion fruit and yellow passion fruit. The purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis f. edulis) Suitable for areas with an altitude of 1100 to 2500m above sea level. The fruit has an aromatic flavor with a diameter of 4-5 cm.

Yellow passion fruit is suitable for low altitudes such as coastal lowlands. It’s more hardy and vigorous as compared to the purple passion. The fruit is bigger with a diameter of 5-7 cm, relatively acidic and used for juice extraction. Of course, it’s also yellow, ha. More fundamentally, yellow passion fruit is used as a rootstalk to purple passion fruit since it’s resistant to most diseases affecting the passion fruits such as Phytophthora blight, Fusarium, wilt, brown spot, and nematodes. Yellow form – Brazilian golden, golden giant.

Soil Preparation and Planting

If you have already plowed and harrowed your soil to a fine texture. We are again assuming that you have a very clear plan of your yard depending on the size of your land. Next you need to sterilize the soil since passion fruits are very sensitive to nematodes (the more you need grafted seedlings) and other disease-causing agents such as Fusarium sp. There are several ways for you to choose from when it comes to soil sterilization 1.

  • You can use fumigation method and
  • Solarisation

Of course, there are many more other ways. Please feel free to use them. In this case, I am going to focus on one that is cheap, economical and efficient – Solarisation How to sterilize the soil using solarisation method ●

  • Wet the ground that you intend to grow the passions into – this ensures that the heat reaches lower horizons
  • Cover the soil entirely with a polythene paper
  • Leave it there for at least a week

Assumption: You have at least five to seven hours of sunshine a day. After this period elapses, remove the polythene and inoculate the area with the beneficial microorganism. The popular brand is the EM.1 found on amazon and shipped anywhere for free by Amazon.com. This is because solarisation kills all micro-organism (both harmful and beneficial ones).

Your soil is now safe for growing passion fruits. The best way to get good results is by growing your purple passion fruit from grafted seedlings. Yellow passion fruits serve as rootstalk. Plant the seedlings at a reasonable depth and recommended spacing for your area. While doing this, ensure that the graft union is not covered by the soil to avoid rotting. Remember to water the newly planted seedlings before you call it a day.

Crop management

After 1-2 weeks, it is expected that the seedlings have acclimatized to their new environment, and therefore, you should start seeing some remarkable changes in growth. This only marks the beginning of more work to come. And yes, it’s general crop management. Growing passion fruits require some necessities; for example, feeding, and crop protection. The most important management practices will entail;

  • Water application in the right proportions (Avoid under-watering or over-watering).
  • Application of necessary nutrients in the form of fertilizers and foliar sprays (Always conduct periodical soil analysis to determine which nutrient elements needs supplementing). – Too much or too little nutrients might injure your plants.
  • Periodical soil conditioning, for example, addition of compost and organic materials
  • Weeding – or mulching with a polythene that suppresses weeds
  • Frequent monitoring of the crop for pest and diseases and taking the necessary precautions (Use a holistic approach or Integrated Pest Management strategies to combat pest and diseases).

It is also worth noting that in case you must spray, use only recommended pesticides and observe Minimum Residue Levels (MRLs). Support and training If you’ve done all your homework up to this point, your young plants should be growing more and more vigorously. You’ll realize this when you see dense foliage and emergence of tendrils. (Tendrils are rope-like structures used by passion vines to support themselves against other objects).

Flowering

Purple Passion Fruit Tendrils are an indication that your plants need support. You can support your passion fruit seedlings by erecting poles and some strong ropes or wires. Personally, I’d go for meshed wires – they do an excellent job! Once you’ve put the support structure in place, it’s time to guide the growth of those plants along the support. In a nutshell, guiding your passion seedlings to grow in the desired way is what we call training. We don’t want the fruits lying on the ground.

Maturity and Harvesting

For most beginners, this is where the dilemma starts. How do you tell when your passion fruits have matured? How do you know when to start harvesting? You don’t have to know! Unlike other fruits that need an understanding of maturity indices, passion fruits are different. Once they attain a proper physiological maturity, they detach from the mother plant and falls on the ground. Now, all you must do is get a crate and pick them one by one. This can be done twice a day depending on their volume. Just make sure you don’t leave them too long on the ground.

Packing and packaging

How do you present your precious produce to your consumer? The answer to this question will differentiate you from your competition. Think deeply about your brand and communicate it through your packaging. You’ve worked so hard to feed the world don’t lose the opportunity to reap big by failing to pay attention to your presentation.

Photo/courtesy
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