Four farmers from Limburg at Dutch Dairy Challenge

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19 April 2021

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At the beginning of this year, dairy farmers from North Limburg & East Brabant were called upon to participate in the Dutch Dairy Challenge. Within this innovation program, they work on an innovative idea for the future of their business. From the 32 applications, eight farmers were selected to start this week. Among the lucky ones are four participants from Limburg.

Hay milk

Dairy farmer Kees Peeters from Kessel is participating to roll out the hay milk method on his farm. The dairy farmer knows this method from Switzerland and has a suitable barn for its application. At the moment the farm is self-sufficient in roughage with a combination of maize and grass. The dairy farmer wants to replace the maize with herb-rich grassland and dry the grass for winter feeding. This also ensures more protein from their own land, a better soil that holds more water with less leaching, better digestibility for cows and therefore less emissions in manure.

Grass hay as a high quality feed

Bennie Aarts of Geitenfarm de Bergenweg in Leveroy submitted an idea for upgrading grass hay to high-quality feed for dairy cattle. Around nature reserves there is an urge to extensify and preserve grasslands. With an innovative conservation method, the grass harvested from these areas can be converted into high-quality feed for dairy cattle. The feed would be considerably more palatable and easier to use. This could be a way to make nature-inclusive agriculture more profitable for the dairy farmer.

(Finished)Served cow

In Wellerlooi, Rik Zeegers runs his dairy farm. He is participating in the challenge with a plan for milked cows. The dairy farm, hidden like a green island in the middle of National Park 'De Maasduinen', sees opportunities to give cows that no longer give milk extra functions. Nowadays these cows are often taken to an anonymous slaughterhouse, while the meat from these well-fed cows can also be sold perfectly locally. In addition, a cow from this dairy farmer can enjoy a nice 'pension' as a nature manager in the adjacent nature reserve. The dairy farmer sees this as a transition from his role as farmer to host of the land.

Experience Center

Mark van Lipzig and Ineke Haast of Brosa Farming and Zuivel van Nu in Velden want to make their farm an experience. In the context of 100% transparency they literally want to do business in a glass house. At the moment, passers-by can already look into the barn 365 days a year from a special viewing point. In the future, the dairy farmer wants to expand his business into a modern Experience Center. Here the products will be produced and people will be able to experience the company, the agricultural sector and the rural environment. Complete with catering, store, playground, petting zoo, workshops and educational activities.

Would you like to see all eight ideas? You can do so at!