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THE FARM

At the start there were 60 cows on the farm. Now Steven and Veerle have 250 cows (of which 200 in production) and150 accompanying calves and heifers.
The dairy herd consists only of Holstein cows. Holstein cattle is a breed of cattle known today as the world's highest production dairy animal.
The production is more than 4,000 litres a day.

The company now comprises 150 hectares, of which one third is situated near the company. The cultivation plan is divided into 30 hectares of maize, 108 hectares of grassland / meadows and 12 hectares of peas. All these products are used to feed their own animals. Ploughing, spraying, planting and chopping the corn are done in contract work. The rest of the agricultural work is done by themselves.

Since 1999, the company has changed a lot. New buildings have gradually been added for calves and dairy cows.

In 2012, Veerle en Steven decided to invest in the construction of a new cow stable with two robots for 180 cows. This allows complete automation of the milking process. The system relies on the use of computersrobotstal and special herd management software. The use of computer control allows greater scope for data collection. Such data allows the farmer to improve management through analysis of trends in the herd, for example response of milk production to changes in fodder. Individual cow histories can also be examined, and alerts set to warn the farmer of unusual changes indicating illness or injury.
Voluntary milking permits the cow to decide her own milking time and interval. The cow may choose to be milked at any time during a 24 hour period.
Milking frequency may increase to three times per day, however the average is 2.5 times a day. This results in less stress on the udder and increased comfort for the cow. There is less mastitis and the use of antibiotics is greatly reduced.
The well-being of the animal is very important. The barn is set up so that the cows always have access to food, water, and a comfortable place to lie down in the open plan cowshed. When they want to graze, a selection gate only allows those cows that have been milked, to go outside to the pastures. The temperature in the cowshed is constantly controlled by special automatic curtains.

Veerle and Steven chose to use renewable energy. A biogas installation produces green energy with the manure of the farm. This environmentally friendly energy is sufficient to provide the cowshed of electricity and warm water.
The residue of the bio-fermentation process can be used as an organic soil improver.
The CO2 footprint is also reduced.

In May 2012 FARM DEVOS received the environmental certification ISO14001.
A few years ago, French and Belgian farmers chose to reduce the environmental footprint of their farms. To protect the environment, they turned to the ISO 14001 standard. Today, they have gone a step further and committed to a sustainable development process focused on the individual, the environment and the economy.