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Dairy & Beef Cattle, Sheep & Goat Production

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Our experts are specialised in different aspects, such as animal health care, milk-production, general farm management, raising of young stock, production and conservation of roughage, economics, fertility-issues, mastitis control etc. We can also handle special requests regarding i.e. buffalos, wild life, horses and many more.

The Netherlands is a small and densely populated country. In addition to being densely populated with people — 18 million — it is home to a great many farm animals. There are some 4 million ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats). Also it is the second largest exporter of agricultural products. The agricultural sector in general and animal production in specific is well developed.

The size of dairy farms has increased considerably over the past 50 years. At the same time, the number of farms has decreased sharply and production per cow (and therefore per farm) has risen substantially. The average dairy farm has close to 120 cows with a production of almost 10.000 kg milk per cow per year and average 50 ha land for fodder production. Most livestock farms are family farms with minimum outside labour. Sheep are mainly kept for their meat, goats for milk. Beef production is often associated with animals that are not needed for milk production. The livestock sector is supported by efficient systems of education, research and commercial extension service

Veterinary services for private farmers in the Netherlands are provided by private and independent veterinarian practitioners. Besides individual health care veterinarians have an important role in disease prevention programs, mastitis control, calf rearing and livestock farm management, they are the main advisors of farmers in Herd Health Management.

Farmers’ cooperatives, Farmers organisations and commercial enterprises form the backbone of the infrastructure for livestock production. The sector ruminants provide input and services for the whole value chain such as seeds, semen and AI, compound feed, farm machinery, equipment and the construction of farm buildings, and take care of the collection, processing and marketing of products. Thanks to efficient infrastructure of the animal production chain, the Netherlands is one of the world’s leading exporters of dairy products and high quality meat. The Netherlands is famous for its cheeses like Gouda and Edam varieties, milk powder and other dairy products.

Areas of expertise

Farm management & data registration

This includes all aspects of practical dairy farming, reproduction, animal health and nutrition. On farms, feed production combined with well-balanced compound feed is the basis of efficient and profitable livestock farming. It is also essential that housing and equipment suit local conditions. The management starts with registration of all important figures.

Cattle reproduction

PUM experts have ample experience in reproductive management at farm level and can provide training in AI.

Animal health & veterinary services

Disease prevention, animal health programs and welfare are the highest priority of PUM’s experts and especially the vets. Most are experienced private practitioners advising farmers in animal health, production and control of contagious diseases and zoonoses.

Sheep & goat production, beef and dairy

PUM experts provide advice on all aspects of the sectors, including management, feeding, reproduction, health care and milk and meat production.

Dairy & meat value chains

Many PUM experts have a bird’s-eye view of the entire production chain, from ingredients and machinery to quality control and consumer demand.

Other available expertise

Buffalo dairy farming, ox training, clean milk production & mastitis control, veterinary practice for companion animals, and animal health. Livestock & nature management, climate and animal welfare are points of attention in every project. Also organisation building and cooperative /governance are aspects. PUM experts are experienced in working with individual farmers and with groups of farmers in cooperatives and education. Their experience spans a variety of climatic conditions and includes intensive as well as extensive farming systems.

Ecosystems and programmes

More and more we are working in programmes (business ecosystems) where we combine the several related sectors in a the regional context. We pay a lot of attention to resilient impact. For example train the trainers programmes.

Atoussa Koulaba and Saïd Louafi
AD, Morocco

“The project enables farmers in Tadla to learn from the Dutch approach to proactive management of dairy cattle. This is achieved through the detection and management of animal welfare, as well as through knowledge sharing based on production data records. The dissemination of the knowledge to other farms in the country would undoubtedly contribute to the gradual adoption of more sustainable farming in Morocco.”

Client examples

Supporting sheep keepers repay loans

A local bank had given loans to sheep keepers, but because of poor profits, the shepherds had begun to miss payments. The bank turned to PUM for assistance. After visiting the herds and evaluating the condition and health status of the sheep, the PUM expert was able to make relevant and relatively easily implemented recommendations. For example, to combat internal parasites in sheep, sheep dogs must be treated three to four times a year against tapeworms, as the eggs are passed from one species to the other. The expert also concluded that the technicians of the National Sheep and Goats Breeding Organisation played a key role. They visit the herds many times a year for registration, vaccinations, and to select weaning lambs, and are greatly respected by the shepherds. Recognising their key role, the expert trained the technicians and results have been very promising.

Better care for dairy cattle

The dairy farms of a joint stock company had problems with the milk production of their imported Fleckvieh and Holstein cows in the second lactation. Production had dropped, cows were going lame and fertility was low. A PUM veterinarian visited, who detected a slew of management problems related to nutrition. Young and lactating stock received inadequate nutrition, and during the dry season, the herd was undernourished. In response, the PUM expert trained local veterinarians in monitoring herd health, proper hoof care and proper feeding. He also instructed on livestock record-keeping. The farmers took steps to improve the integral management of their operations, resulting in happier cows with a higher milk production.

Dairy seminar

After an initial visit to a farm, it became clear to a PUM expert that the problems he encountered (long calving interval, high cost of feeding and high incidence of neospora) were also affecting neighbouring farms. As dairy farmers are more colleagues than competitors, PUM decided it would be more efficient to organise a collective seminar than continue to carry out standard projects to individual farms. As a result, 40 owners, managers and employees from 25 farms were invited for a two-day seminar. A PUM expert gave a presentation on dairy- farm management and a local veterinarian spoke about animal health and reproduction. After the seminar, the PUM expert visited five farms, each for a two-day period, to tackle specific problems. Lowering the cost of feed by using locally available agricultural by-products was one of the main topics.

The beef cattle chain

In a rural region in the tropics, small farmers kept only 5 to 10 head of beef cattle. But profits were meagre, as middlemen paid a fixed amount for the animals rather than a per-kilo price. The PUM expert advised the farmers to feed the animals extra- protein feed and minerals and to obtain a more accurate estimation of the weight by using a tape measure. Farmers were also encouraged to start a cooperative that could negotiate better prices with the middlemen. The cooperative’s next step will be to establish its own slaughterhouse and a marketing channel so that its members can obtain even better prices.

 

 

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