The world’s first ‘floating dairy farm’ will open its doors in Rotterdam’s Merwehaven port this year, built by Dutch property company Beladon. It will feature 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows (brown spotted, so not the Frisian cows in the picture), milked by robots.
The sustainability idea behind the project is that there is less and less good ground to produce food, while the world population continues to grow and demand more from their food. Built-up urban areas don’t exactly seem like the most sensible places to run farms, but reducing the distance food travels before it reaches consumers’ plates makes environmental sense as it reduces transport pollution.
The Floating Farm intends to produce fresh milk and healthy products, as well as provide tours, education and research.
Nature and wildlife photographer Rob Rokven from Oisterwijk, Noord-Brabant snapped a great picture of a Highland cow that will be featured in the 2019 National Geographic tear-off calendar. A picture was taken at the estate of Huis ter Heide, near Tilburg.
Rokven explains that there was a calf right behind the mother in the picture, and that right after he took it, an upset father Highland cow was heading towards him, which is when he ran off.
As a big wildlife fan, he sent in his picture to National Geographic and found out last week that his photo was chosen. And it will be the second time, since in 2018, he had a deer that made it into the 2018 calendar, a photo taken at the same place.
Around the world in the past decade, all kinds of publications apparently claim that cows, deers and dogs tend to lie down in a North-South direction, possibly affected by the North Magnetic Pole.
However, according to the first scientific studies on the sensitivity of cows for the magnetic North at the University of Wageningen, it’s not true. Although there is scientific evidence to suggest that small animals are affected by magnetism, anything that has been said about large animals has been solely based on observations, from farmer descriptions to Google Earth photographs.
Tests were done in Portugal on 34 cows fitted with a strong magnet by checking their orientation when they were resting. With or without the magnet, the cows just lie around wherever. Actually, the direction of the sun makes a difference, not the wind, which is the same result of a study done at the same time in Portugal of 659 cows on six farms.
Critics who claim that environmental factors such as wind and sun exert such a strong influence on animals that they obscure the effect of the earth’s magnetic field are welcome to repeat this experiment at night.
According to Statistics Netherlands, some 60 percent of farmers aged over 55 in the Netherlands don’t have anybody to leave their land to when they retire. They say 15,000 farms could disappear over the next decade, with more than eight out of 10 sheep farmers, and with pig and cow farmers only doing slightly better.
Now there’s a service called ‘Farmer Seeks Farmer’ that matches up people looking for a farm with those who will soon want to get rid of theirs. Backed by the Young Farmers’ Association, pig farmer Sander Thus has help set up the online scheme putting farmers close to retirement age in contact with young wannabe farmers.
Since the scheme was launched in 2011, several dozen farms have moved outside of the original family owners to be taken over by a new generation of farmers. And Thus hopes the numbers will grow, with 135 people searching for land registered on the site, and some 35 existing farmers looking for new blood to farm their lands. “Today, most of the people looking to take over a farm are self-employed between 20 and 40 who don’t come from the farming world, but want to roll their sleeves up,” he explains.
The Swiss have hit back at Dutch vegan activist Nancy Holten who has been living in Switzerland for most of her life by denying her request for a Swiss passport for the second time. The local political party of her canton said no because they feel she “has a big mouth”, claiming that cows wearing cowbells was akin to animal cruelty and has been vocal about church bells being rung at 6 am in her village. And she’s not a fan of the local tradition of racing piglets, either.
In Switzerland, locals sometimes have a say in the naturalisation requests of people in their canton, and in Holten’s case, a majority were against it. Now her request is in front of the ‘Conseil d’État’, the council that decides on cantonal matters. Dutch site Joop.nl when relating this story told of a family from Kosovo who were refused Swiss nationality because they walked around their village in jogging suits and the locals didn’t like that either.
Activism aside, according to Swiss site 24heures, Holten is the ideal candidate and had been given a positive review in the beginning of the process. She’s been living in Switzerland for 34 years, speaks the local Swiss German dialect, provides for her three Swiss-born daughters and has never committed a crime. Holten says if her village is not going to let her get a Swiss passport, she’ll move down the street to the next village where the decision on naturalisation is made directly by a Board without any input from locals.
In the comments section of 24heures, the opinions range from ‘piss off back to the Netherlands’ to ‘the Swiss pride themselves on direct democracy only when it suits them’. And then not in a jogging suit.
Together with his collaborator, engineer Arjen Beltman, they are taking deceased animals to the next level by creating something they can fly in themselves, which reminds me of the flying moths from the 1990s science-fiction series, Lexx.
“If I’m going to fly, I want to fly in something weird. So we’ve been thinking about animals that are big enough to fly in. We have a cow at the moment – it’s at the tannery right now. It’s going to be like a bovine personnel carrier, but airborne,” Jansen explains.
Watching the cows finally go outside in the spring is a great Dutch tradition, and now that tradition was taken to the next level with some fine bovine camera work.
Entitled ‘it’s Cow or Never’, a play on words of the Elvis song ‘It’s Now or Never’ (a cover of the old Neapolitan song O Sole Mio), you can pretend you’re a dancing cow and watch yourself from above and below thanks to the power of editing and two GoPro cameras attached to a happy cow.
The cows come from a cheese far in Dronten, Flevoland. The farmer claims the cows were jealous of the cow with the new gadget, because the filming cow’s cameras ended up in the mud after 15 min due to some head butting.
Check out the sniffing, nuzzling and head butts for yourself:
In the very religious town of Staphorst a three-colour calf (link to picture) has been born, which is said to be very rare. The Dutch called it a ‘lapjeskoe’, or ‘quilt cow’. The mother and father of the calf were white and black, but the calf also has reddish brown in its coat.
The Netherlands has about 10 ‘quilt cows’. In Noord-Brabant there is also a three-colour calf that people come and visit from far away just to take pictures, called Toos55:
Dutch vegan activist Nancy Holten living in Switzerland has apparently upset the Swiss by claiming that cows wearing cowbells was akin to animal cruelty. The Swiss media was straight up in their answer and told to move back to where she came from if she didn’t like their culture. Holten has been widely labelled as a complainer since just before Christmas, she complained about church bells being rung at 6 am – too early in her opinion – in her village.
According to Wikipedia, cowbells have been around since the Iron age and have been used on cattle around the world. However, in September 2014 Swiss researchers did conclude that cowbells are often too loud and too heavy. The problem is that having foreigners complain about your traditions is not always the best way to go, something the Dutch deal with six months out of the year before Sinterklaas.
On a football pitch in Leiden, a game of “Where will the cow poop?” took a very unexpected turn when a cow went for the corner flag and popped out a calf instead of a cow patty.
One guy hosting the event looked at another guy and said “Dude, there’s a calf coming out of this cow!”. The first guy thought it was a joke, but soon figured out it wasn’t. The event organisers wanted ‘relaxed’ cows since children were present at the event. Oh the irony!
The farmer who supplied the cows knew that that particular cow was pregnant, but she was supposed to give birth in about six weeks. Having been transported and subjected to the crowd, the cow was probably stressed and had it out in the corner — in just five minutes. Cow and calf are doing fine.
The person who picked the pitch parcel closest to the birthing corner won 250 euro.