New! Cow garden in the Netherlands

This newly designed Cow garden is getting quite some attention here in the Netherlands. Chris Bomers from Groenlo is now testing his design. The garden has a soft floor and is filled with hedges to make it look more natural. They have robots for cleaning, feeding and milking. Right now they are testing with 20 cows. The biggest challenge right now is the manure eating robot. Will it clean well enough to prevent mastitis?

Journalist Annemieke van Dongen wrote an article about the garden. She gave an impression from the cows point of few. Read full article (in Dutch) here >>

"Nice, our cow garden. With help of veterinarian and cow whisperer Joep Driessen'.

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Please let us know what you think of the cow garden! Is it better than the old system?

Comments (7)

Philip Schultz

Hmmm, interesting concept but -
What about ventilation and natural air movement interference from the trees and bushes?
I think the fences around the trees look a bit light weight and maybe the cows eat the trees one day?
Difficult to see that Green but very Hi Tek investment being able to generate sufficient income to pay back in a realistic time.
I tend to think that maintenance and replacement of components will be high costs???

Anouk Brinkhoff

Philip Schultz wrote:
Hmmm, interesting concept but -
What about ventilation and natural air movement interference from the trees and bushes?
I think the fences around the trees look a bit light weight and maybe the cows eat the trees one day?
Difficult to see that Green but very Hi Tek investment being able to generate sufficient income to pay back in a realistic time.
I tend to think that maintenance and replacement of components will be high costs???

Two good points!
Trees will block airflow! So extra fans in corridors needed!

Dependent on high tech: bigger risk when it breaks down.
High investment...can you earn it back?
Also floor cleaning: can you make it clean enough? Easy for 8000 liter cows and low mastitis risk. But high yielders 10.000 plus are more susceptible for mastitis.

Compost or straw barns without any walls and iron give the cow maximum freedoms of walking and resting. They need even more space per cow, ( 20-25 m2) but cheaper to build.

We still recommend excellent sand cubicles for 90% of cows and stress-free calving line ( free bedded pack) for 10 % high risk cows!!

Tommy Wollesen

for people from outside it looks extremly nice.
But we dident see one cow laying in the nice garden, compered to the other barn some cows was laying.
A cow need 4-500 litter blood to pas trough the utter, to produce one litter milk, it goes around 30% faster if she is laying down.

Hanna Schröder

This seems like a cheap attempt to salve poeples conscience. If you look outside of the barn you can see green meadows and a shining sun. The only phrase which comes to mind when seeing this is the one from Compassion in World Farming "Cows belong in the fields".

Jennifer Brown

This is a nice concept, but the large open barn area gives no structure to the space. There are no cues to help direct lying vs areas of movement. With sows, we find they much prefer to lie against a partition, and providing partitions and different flooring types promotes resting in 'bedroom' areas and helps to keep alleys clear. I think that more division of the space, such as adding a sand area with a few partitions, could increase lying and promote cleanliness by encouraging cows to separate dunging and resting activities.

Joep Driessen

Hi everyone,

Thanks you very much for your thoughts! Always good to be critical at new concepts, so we can keep optimizing!

@Hanna: the cows actually also go outside. The have a gateway, so the can choose to go out our stay in for 10 months. The farmer is trying to optimizing the barn for the days that the cows can't go outside in winter.

António Gomes

Pursuing animal paradise doesn't look like sensible animal husbandry to me. It may look so to capricious, uninformed public opinion, though. That can be tricky.

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