Ocean

Floating farm with dairy cows inside the city

The Dutch can build not just houseboats. The start-up “floating farm” an entire floating farm for dairy cattle want to build now in Rotterdam. The 1200-square-meter pontoon 40 cows should live and cover a portion of fresh milk needs for the city.

That the cows could get seasick on their new farm, Peter van Wingerden doesn’t believe.

The floating farm is very stable in the water, says van Wingerden, who has experience with buildings on the water as the boss of the company Beladon. He and his company take part now in the interesting project “floating farm”, a floating farm in Rotterdam with 40 dairy cows.

Robot collect cow dung and ensure food supplies

With in the boat is alongside Johan Bosman also Carel de Vries, who has the necessary agricultural expertise for the project. In the Merwehaven, a former port in the middle of the city, the farm is to be built and if everything goes according to plan, in the January 2017 in operation. The unusual farm is 1200 m2 big and will produce not only fresh milk and yogurt, but exist in a recycled nearly self-sufficient.

Floating farm
Getting: In Rotterdam a floating farm for dairy cattle is to be erected. Instead of the Willow live 40 dairy cows then on a 1200 m2 large pontoon. Photo: Floating farm

For the pilot project, 40 dairy cows on the floor will be staying, that can stand, roam free and go to land on a floor made of artificial grass and under real trees in a nature-like environment. The construction of the floating farm consists of concrete with a steel frame and a membrane floor.

It oozes the urine of animals through and is collected in a tank, cleaned, and used with artificial light, especially clover, alfalfa and grass, forage cultivation. A robot gathers the cow dung, while a further robot automatically ensures the feed supply. Fresh milk for milk products is processed in the basement.

Place on land is running out

The farm, which will cost around €2.5 million, include a bio-gas plant, a solar system on the roof and a rainwater retention basin. Initially around 1,000 litres fresh milk per day could be produced, the founder assume farm by floating. But it’s only the beginning for larger farms with up to 200 cows. Or also for floating farms with chickens or greenhouses, Johan Bosman presents itself.

Floating Ocean farm
Also feed such as grass and clover to be grown on the floating farm with artificial light. Photo: Floating farm

Bosman said the project was a great challenge, to the guardian. “Cows are large animals and there are a lot of rules to follow.” But Bosman in the face of the growing world population and increasing cities the way the water looks as an important opportunity. “More and more people will live in the future in the big cities of the delta areas. The space needed for housing, so that less and less space for the traditional production of food will be available. The logical consequence would be that we go on the water, to produce there fresh food.”

What is when all the cows on one side of the pontoon gather?

Whether the floating farm can actually be a pioneer for floating animal husbandry, we will see.

Ocean farm
Unusual farm will produce not only fresh milk and yogurt, but exist in a recycled nearly self-sufficient. Photo: Floating farm

For example the odour could become problematic in the city so close and what, if all on one side of the floating farm gather freely running around cows? Carel de Vries admits: “one-third of the people are really enthusiastic our project, a third large eyes and a third think that we are crazy.” It’s always in innovation.”