Building a farm from scratch and choosing animal welfare first
The prospect of building a dairy farm from complete scratch is an exciting one; having the opportunity to pick and choose the absolute finest technology and hardware and do everything right from the start based on the latest developments in farming.
Finnmilk did exactly that in 2014. In the space of 12 months, an area of forest was cleared near the Finnish town of Seinäjoki, to create an entirely new dairy farm equipped to handle the automatic milking of some 600 cows.
For the shareholders of Finnmilk, animal welfare was the one and only driving force behind their investment decisions.
“It is fair to say that animal welfare is the main thing for us. It’s simple really because when the cow is doing well and feeling well, it produces much more milk,” says Katja Korkiamäki, one of the shareholders at Finnmilk.
The centerpiece of the farm is a DeLaval AMR™ that will milk the entire herd which is currently 360 cows but will go up to 600 cows by the end of 2015.
But the DeLaval AMR™ was not the only major investment that the team made.
Given the focus on animal welfare, Finnmilk made sure that every piece of equipment was optimal for ensuring happy and healthy cows. The cubicles, flooring and the cow brushes were all installed with animal welfare in mind. Finnmilk wanted the most efficient set-up that would result in the healthiest possible cows and the highest productivity.
At the same time, Korkiamäki and her fellow shareholders were also interested in keeping labour costs low by producing an efficient and effective dairy farm that the cows thrived in.
"Normally we see a return on investment for an AMR of between 8-10 years depending of local conditions like salary level, utilisation of the system and farm management level," says Robert Jensen, Business Development Manager of AMR™ at DeLaval.
For DeLaval, this has been an equally exciting project. “It’s important for us that we find the right solution for our customer. Not everyone should invest in a DeLaval AMR™, it depends a lot on the size and ambitions of the farm. But everyone can make their farm more efficient and easier to run with the right investments,” says Jensen.
For more information on the exact details behind Finnmilk’s investment read the Finnish article here. For further consultation on what way to develop your own farm, get in touch with DeLaval at your nearest dealer.