From very humble beginnings of just 60 cows, Steven and Veerle have gradually expanded their herd to 220 cows, of which, 200 are in production. In addition to the 200 milking cows, there are in total, 150 calves and replacement heifers.
More than 4,000 litres of milk is produced daily.
On 1st January 2018, Farm Devos achieved full organic status, and has since, solely produced organic milk.
The farm employs a crossbreeding program which incorporates Holstein, Montbéliarde, and Scandinavian Red dairy cows, with the sole purpose of improving overall health, well-being and longevity of all the animals.
A third of the fields surround the immediate farm. The fields are mainly grass meadows to feed the own animals. This is known as the grazing platform. It is here, where the cows graze in between milkings.
Since 1999, a number of additions have been made to existing farm buildings including additional cubicle housing for cows and loose housing for calves.
The introduction of Robotic Milking machines, has led to voluntary milking, a process which permits the cow to choose when to be milked. After all who knows better than the cow herself when she requires to be milked? Cows may choose to be milked at any time within a 24 hour period as the robots work throughout the night. Naturally milking frequency may increase to three times per day; however, the average is 2.3 times per day. As a result, there are less incidences of mastitis due to decreased stress on the cow’s udder, thus improving cow comfort.
The well-being of the animal is most important. So much so, that the cow shed has been specifically designed to allow the cows 24 hour access to feed, water and most importantly their cubicle beds. Above all, it is essential that cows rest up to 14 hours a day to help maintain their health, well-being and their production. As temperatures in Belgium can vary greatly throughout the year, internal temperatures are regulated by specially automated curtains, allowing the operator to either open or close the curtains at any such time, to achieve the desired temperature. The weather and internal temperatures are considered daily to maximise cow comfort.
Photovoltaic panels have been installed on the roofs of Bio Farm Devos. The electricity and hot water produced in an environmentally friendly way is used for the robot barn and the youngstock barn.