The Dutch Dairy chain is commited to the preservation of grazing. Chain-wide, this is supported by the Grazing Covenant. From every corner in the sector, people and companies work to increase the percentage of dairy farmers who apply grazing. Knowledge is being developed and widely spread via research and education, financial incentives are given and new ‘grazers’ are guided by GrazingCoaches. In 2017, cows were grazing on 80,4% of the farms.

Goals

  • Grazing kept at least at its 2012 level: 81,2%

Method

The Dairy Sustainability chain has multiple incentives for dairy farmers to get their cows grazing (again). Every dairy company stimulates farmers financialy, called grazing premium. The grazing percentage is monitored independently.

Activities

  • The Grazing Covenant exists since 2012. In December 2017, there are 82 signatories. Each signer is actively engaged in promoting grazing. They are very different companies and institutions: NGOs, supermarkets, research and educational institutions, dairy processors and feed suppliers
  • Another initiative is guidance course New Grazers. During this course, special GrazingCoaches guide dairy farmers who want to switch to grazing. Dairy farmers who follow the course, get a GrazingCoache who guides them for two grazing seasons. They give tips and support, so the farmer can fit grazing well in his management.
  • The project Amazing Grazing focusses on applying new scientific knowledge and solutions. All aspects of grazing are discussed: grass intake, behaviour of the cow, supplemental feed, grass supply, grass growth, and soil
  • A pilot has started to develop measuring systems, that register grazing digitally. Sensors in the gates to the field and in the collar of the cow, allows it to sow that grazing is being applied. This is important, for example, in flocks that graze on different times or on farms with a milking robots in combination with free cow traffic

Results

  • Sinds 2015 stijgt het aantal melkveehouders met weidegang. In 2017 liet 80,4% van de melkveehouders zijn koeien naar buiten en waren er 300 nieuwe weiders
  • Het aantal ondertekenaars van het Convenant Weidegang blijft stijgen. In 2017 zijn er 82
  • Een Lector Weidegang richt op inbedding van weidegang in het onderwijs
  • De weidepremie is fors toegenomen, tot gemiddeld €14.000,- per jaar per melkveehouder
  • Het Weidemelklogo is te vinden op ieder product dat gemaakt is van 100% weidemelk. Door producten met een Weidemelklogo te kopen, maakt de consument kenbaar het belangrijk te vinden dat de koe in de wei staat
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