Farmer/owner: Herman D’Hauwe
Farm location: Bruisbeke 48, B-9520 Sint-Lievens-Houtem, Belgium
Farm name: Duke Farm
Herd: 110 Friesian Holsteins
Milking system: Two Fullwood Merlins
Date of installation: March 2009
Herman D’Hauwe is the eighth generation of his family to run the farm. He took over the 35 cows and 30 hectares of farmland, from his father, around twenty years ago. With that kind of history his dedication to his dairy herd’s welfare comes as no surprise. And his belief in caring for his cows has resulted in a health record that’s second to none. Always someone to plan for the future Herman built a succession of new stables, increased his herd to 60 cows and kept up to date on the development of robots. When he decided the time was right he installed his first Fullwood Merlin robot and a year later, to support his purchase of a second farm, he installed his second Merlin.
As well as adopting the most advanced welfare procedures Herman produces specially prepared bedding from straw grown on farm, which reduces sores and creates better activity and healthier animals. He also grows grass and maize to produce his own high quality feed. As a result Herman is rewarded with excellent yields, that in the case of a top performing cow is as high as 15,000 litres in a 300 day cycle. As far as the rest of the herd is concerned he achieves an impressive average of 10,900 litres per cow. Herman sums it all up in a few telling words, “nothing’s too good for our cows, it’s as simple as that”.