Efficient use of resources and materials
Hooibeekhoeve is an independent practice-oriented research and demonstration center on dairy cattle and fodder crops, belonging to the province of Antwerp, Belgium. We strive for a sustainable dairy sector by conducting objective practical research, stimulating knowledge transfer to and between dairy farmers and facilitating an open dialogue between the sector and the broad public. Hooibeekhoeve is a demonstrative farm specialized in practical research on multiple topics such as precision farming, animal welfare, feed, housing, fertility, reduction of emissions and antibiotics, animal health and young stock. Hooibeekhoeve has strong expertise in educational activities. Our education and short training are targeted both to farmers and agricultural students as well as to the broad public. Different demo activities on farm and field visits are organised each year. Hooibeekhoeve also focuses on rural development and landscape integration. A landscape architect draws plans and support farmers to integrate their farms in the scenery. Hooibeekhoeve is perfectly suited as an exemplary demo farm. It has two comparable dairy stables for in total 120 cows (Holstein Friesian) each with an automatic milking system. The stables are equipped with a body condition scoring camera and herd navigator to monitor the cows individually. Body condition score and health parameters (fertility, mastitis, ketosis) are monitored daily. The climate and lights in the stable are sensor-controlled and monitored. The RIC-system (Roughage intake control) provides information about individual feed intake behavior, health, physiology, and production of the dairy cows. The young stock is housed in a separate stable with an automatic calf feeding station and two scales to monitor their growth. Fodder crops, mainly grass and maize, are cultivated on 56 ha of sandy soil.