On October 8, 2019, the Vitelia Voeders cattle team in Oirlo, (The Netherlands) organized the seminar "Low Stress Stockmanship".
Together with a group of very interested and motivated dairy farmers, we jointly discussed how cows experience the perception of the milking robot.
What influence does the direct environment and the milking robot have on the final behavior of the cow and its visit to the milking robot.
Afterwards, we paid a joint company visit to the dairy farm Custers-Keursten of Harold Custers and Jacqueline Custers-Keursten, also in Oirlo.
The combination of theory and practice thus merged seamlessly.
"Impuls" originated from a group of Czech cattle farmers who were looking for an alternative to the Holstein cow breed.
In 2019 it is a professional Fleckvieh organization with its own AI station in Bobrová.
Impuls produces and distributes straws from Fleckvieh bulls in close collaboration with Bayern Genetik.
But they do even more:
By means of information and education, Impuls tries to bring Czech cattle farming to a higher level.
During my working visit, on September 25, 2019, several large cattle farms were visited. I held two seminars for Impuls employees and Impuls customers.
In addition to "Low Stress Stockmanship in practice", the theme of the second seminar was: "Calf rearing from birth to weaning, how do you achieve maximum growth?".
Today's calf is tomorrow's dairy cow. They know that very well in the Czech Republic.
A group of very enthusiastic cattle farmers and Fleckvieh enthusiasts went by bus to the Czech Republic and Bavaria in September 2019.
The trip was organized by Bayern Genetik.
During the bus ride I was allowed to treat all participants to two seminars:
The first with the theme "Low Stress Stockmanship" and the second with the theme "Reduction of calf mortality, what is the maximum growth of my calves".
In Bavaria I treated the participants of the study trip to an extensive demonstration of Low Stress Stockmanship in practice.
Even the Bavarian Fleckvieh farmer was pleasantly surprised when he saw what you can do with cattle, and above all ...
the way Low Stress Stockmanship works in practice!
For the second year in a row, I was able to provide this seminar in September 2019 on behalf of DOC cheese from Hoogeveen,
The location was the aviation museum "Aviodrome" in Lelystad.
In accordance with the annual tradition, the quality milkers of DOC cheese were given extra attention by this dairy processor.
On behalf of Vitelia Voeders in Oirlo, (The Netherlands), various Masterclasses for young cattle farmers were organized on February 5, 2019.
As a guest speaker, I explained to the enthusiastic and young audience how the Low Stress Stockmanship method works, and what it delivers for both humans and animals.
Two weeks on tour in Austria and Südtirol.
Every day at a different location a seminar for many enthusiastic farmers, company advisers and veterinarians.
This grand event was organized by "Landwirt Agrarmedien GmbH".
We were guests at the following companies, institutes and schools:
LFS Stiegerhof, Stiegerhofstr. 20, 9585 Gödersdorf, Kärnten
LFS Kobenz, Josef-Krainer-Weg 1, 8723 Kobenz, Steiermark
LFS Pyhra, Kyrnbergstr. 4, 3143 Pyhra, Niederösterreich
LFS Otterbach, Otterbach 9, 4782 St. Florian am Inn, Oberösterreich
LLA Rotholz, Rotholz 46, 6200 Rotholz, Tirol
Fachschule für Landwirtschaft Dietenheim, Gänsbichl 2, 39031 Dietenheim / Bruneck, Südtirol
Gasthof zur Post, Escherstraße 1, 82390 Eberfing, Bayern
Trachtenheim in Irschenberg, Am Sportpl. 3, 83737 Irschenberg, Bayern.
Below some atmosphere images.
At the request of the management of Slaughterhouse Etn. Adriaens N.V. in Velzeke (Belgium), I carried out an animal welfare audit
in February 2019.
This audit covered all processes between unloading, up to and including stunning and throating of the cattle to be slaughtered.
The management makes every effort to ensure that the various process steps proceed with respect for the animal.
From this perspective, LSSE, (as an independent party), was asked to conduct the audit.
The results and recommendations have been described by me in the “Animal Welfare Advisory Report”.
My findings were subsequently discussed in detail with management.
On November 6, several hundred female farmers traveled to the Frisian Joure, (The Netherlands). The “CRV-Boerindag 2018” took place here.
A well-organized event, with in addition to interesting Workshops also the “FEMtalk” (a live talk show with inspiring female farmers), and the cozy “CRV-Boerinmarkt”.
José Buijs was the hostess and chairwoman of the day. She guided everything and everyone through the program in an expert manner.
Els Korsten, (from Els Korsten Photography), took care of capturing the necessary atmospheric images.
Ladies, thank you very much for this!
For me it was also a great experience and a first to be proud of. As the first male speaker in the history of the "CRV-Boerindag".
And then with the main theme of the day: “stress-free working with calves”.
Caring for calves is often done by the farmer's wive. The main theme therefore perfectly matches the target group.
Especially when you know that “today's calf is tomorrow's dairy cow”!
Here, too, the farmer's wive plays a crucial role in daily farming.
In addition, there were 8 different Workshops on the program, provided by a team of expert colleagues.
The Workshop I gave, entitled “On the way to the milking parlor”, gave the participating farmer's wives information about how cows react to certain daily situations in the milking parlor. The farmer's wives also received practical tips on how to respond to specific reactions from cows. This makes daily work in and around the cowshed a lot easier, safer and more efficient. This for both humans and animals.
The day ended with a delicious “Boerin buffet”.
On november 13, 2018, the second “CRV-Boerindag 2018” will take place. Then we are in Giessenburg, (in The Netherlands too), at Zalencentrum De Til.
At the request of some farmers in Malta and the neighboring island of Gozo, I was asked to advise them on the prevention of heat stress in cows, sheep and goats.
The cows are kept in semi-open stables, with no possibility of grazing. It is prohibited by law (for animal welfare reasons) to graze the animals unprotected, (read: without sufficient shade).
You will find Holstein (crossbreed) cows on a few farms.
Because more and more crossings take place between the local animals and the more “modern” dairy cows, control and prevention of heat stress is becoming increasingly important.
During 4 days, a knowledge transfer (focused on their practice), took place with a very interested group of livestock farmers.
By showing and discussing things together on the spot, I have been able to provide farmers with useful tips and tricks on heat stress and how to deal with their animals.
In addition, I have seen on Malta and Gozo, how you can still keep cattle on these islands with few options and resources.
In March 2018 I had a meeting and further acquaintance with the Eyes on Animal team.
A group of very passionate people who (together with volunteers), want to contribute in a constructive and educational way to a better awareness of working and dealing with (farm) animals.
We have extensively exchanged ideas about how we can work together in a number of projects in the future.
Low Stress Stockmanship Europe supports Eyes on Animals and will offer help in the fight against unnecessary animal suffering.
The following May, a Low Stress Stockmanship practical day was organized at the cattle farm "De Regte Heijden" in Riel (The Netherlands).
This training day was exclusively for the Eyes on Animals team and the owners of the cattle farm.
It is fascinating to see how driven and passionate these people are in their mission for better animal welfare.
"De Regte Heijden" is one of the few cattle farms in The Netherlands where the calves are still allowed to stay with their mother.
The dairy cows are allowed to keep their horns, which you don't see that often anymore in today's dairy farming.
Below a number of atmospheric photos, with special thanks to photographer Jack Tummers.
Low Stress Stockmanship Europe was present at the "KOE loer DAG".
The Program of the "KOE loer DAG":
- Reception at 9:45 am
- Presentation "Van de Veen dairy farm" by Peter van de Veen
- Presentation Cow Behavior by Ronald Rongen LSSE
- Practical workshop Heat Stress & Housing by Paul Willems
- Practical workshop Cow behavior by Ronald Rongen LSSE
- Practical workshop Heat Stress & Nutrition by Hendrik Kool & Kasper Dieho
- Closing at 3:00 pm
Watch the Dutch promo film below, for more information.
On March 24, 2018 the last "Masterclass Water Buffalo Science" of this season took place at the Water Buffalo farm of Arjan Swinkels in Son en Breugel.
A very successful, educational afternoon for anyone interested in everything that has to do with Water Buffalo.
For those who missed it: don't worry. At your request, we often organize a "Masterclass Water Buffalo Science".
Four "CRV Winter Meetings" for Beef cattle farmers took place in March 2018 at various locations in The Netherlands.
As a guest speaker for a very interested audience, my theme at these meetings was:
"Breeding and inbreeding in a small population, challenge or threat?"
The expert breeders and enthusiast public represented the various beef cattle breeds.
This emphasizes the interest and importance of breeding with knowledge and vision, in order to maintain a breed.
Would you, as a studbook, study club, livestock farmer, or veterinary practice, want to organize an exciting evening with this seminar as the subject?
Please feel free to contact me and inquire about the possibilities.
In December 2017 I was traveling for two days in Germany, in the north of Schleswig-Holstein.
The topic of my seminars: A stress-free, safer and more efficient handling of herd animals in practice.
Now it is up to the participants to practice a lot.
The customers of AI-Service Clemens know this all too well.
Various inseminators of this AI-Service have therefore followed the training "Low Stress Stockmanship in practice" given by me.
Less stress during insemination not only increases job satisfaction and safety, it also has a positive influence on the fertilization result.
Thanks to Leon Clemens of AI-Service Clemens for the assignment.
To be precise in Scheemda, province of Groningen.
An endless pasture and a group of Galloways who absolutely did not feel like going into the cowshed.
A lot of time and energy has been invested by the farmer to catch these animals, but all attempts have failed.
First the theoretical explanation in the morning.
Then a situation check with the animals.
This requires customization. They are smart and suspicious cattle.
These animals see a threat in "everything on two legs", and then quickly run away.
All participants were now able to put the theory into practice, and they did well.
After about 1.5 hours, the animals were quietly in the stable.
The discharge was great, not so much with the cattle, but with the farmers!
They had already given up hope and were close to despair.
The farmers, the participants and I are very satisfied with the result.
In the northwest of the state of Hesse there is a group of Scottish Highland cattle that are not used to people at all. That's not so bad in itself, but if you have to catch them (for veterinary checks and for sorting animals to prevent inbreeding in the herd), it's a different story.
Especially if they also have about 57 square kilometers of nature reserve with a lot of forest.
Various "catch" attempts on the part of the German side, including baiting with food and driving on horseback, have failed.
Anesthetizing with a gun or with food was not at all up for discussion.
A German, calling himself "Cow Whisperer" unfortunately also failed to "whisper the animals together".
In Germany, people are very conscious of animal welfare. That is why the person responsible for the herd called me in February 2018 to ask if I could give tips by telephone on how to organize the catching.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work that simple and easy. Too many factors can affect the final result.
That is why I went there to review the situation and lead the operation.
It is February with real winter weather.
Snow and an icy wind. Ideal conditions for a Scottish Highlander, not for a sober Dutchman.
Day 1 in the afternoon:
First visited the herd and observed how they really react to people, and where they stay at dusk / evening.
Based on this, an action plan was drawn up and the Cattle Corral Panels were installed.
Day 2 Start in the early morning:
The group of cattle was directed and driven quietly to a nearby large pasture.
Then let the cattle run quietly in the Corral.
In the afternoon around 1:00 pm all animals were caught, sorted and enjoying fresh hay.
So everyone is satisfied.
Special thanks to Dr. Josef Heimansberg for making people and material available.