« Marguerite Happy Cow » Differenciated milk cooperative

Description

Christophe Darchambeau is a member of “Marguerite Happy Cow”.

The cooperative Marguerite Happy Cow exists since 2015 and brings together regional dairy farms and processors. In 2017, 9 farmers (for a production of about 4 million liters milk per year), one feed processor and 2 cheese factories are involved. The aim of the co-op is to produce a differentiated-quality milk, based on grass and local pro-duction. Another objective is to give, also, the concerned producers a fair income for this quality. From now on, consumers are also allowed to take part into the co-op.

Production requirements are discussed between cooperative members and are controlled by an external certification body. Here are the 5 key requirements for Margue-rite Happy Cow :

  • Grass and pasture conditions
  • Local feed (and non-GMO)
  • Specific milk quality
  • Human scale and fair income
  • Local processing

An adaptation phase took place. During one year before the engagement in the cooperative, the milk quality and the imple-mentation of the other specific production requirements were observed on the farm.

The silage dry matter has been changed (higher dry matter) and cleaning wipes are used for every milking.

Farm description

Environment

  • Belgium Herve’s Region
  • Temperate oceanic climate
  • Clayey-loam soil
  • Altitude 270 m
  • Average slope 10 %
  • Vegetation: ray grass, white clover and foxtail

Grassland management

  • Grazing : Yes
  • Grazing management type : mixed use grassland with rotational stocking
  • Grass silage for winter

Structure

  • Traditional farm, specialized in milk production, with permanent grassland
  • Annual Work Unit: 2
  • Agricultural Area: 60 ha UAA
  • 53 ha of permanent grassland never re-seed and 7 ha of maize silage
  • 80 Holstein cows

Animal performance

  • 8500 l per cow
  • 4% Fat and 3,58% protein in milk
  • Average lifetime of the cows on the farm: 6 years
  • Age of first calving : 25 month

Why it is working

Satisfaction to produce a differentiated-quality milk and to communicate with consummers.

Local production.

No need of financial investment or major modification.

Additional information

Farming system

conventional farming

Domains of innovation

farm system, marketing, product processing

Main types of animal

dairy cattle

Country

Belgium

Product type

Farmer portrait

Language

English, French

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