Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Schmiedhof Dairy and Tobacco Farm in Germany

Mr. Roland Bellaire, owner of Schmiedhof Farm explaining how a large section of his farmland will be taken by the government for flood control for the Rhine river. A difficult situation indeed.

Govt. issue eartags on a Fleckvieh calf at Schmiedhof Farm. Required by law as soon as the calf is born. There is a hefty fee for lost tags. Inspectors can drop by the farm anytime to check eartags, without notice.

The main freestall barn where the herd of 70 Fleckvieh cows are kept.

Dominik and his daughter who would rather have him play with her than lead a farm tour. She kept saying "Papa...Papa....". I miss hearing my girls saying Papa. Oh but these three weeks are flying by.

Okay, back to business....

We toured the Schmiedhof Farm in Neupotz, Germany. The farm is owned by Mr. Roland Bellaire and his son, Dominik. They have 412 acres of tillable land, including 62 acres of hay, 55 acres of tobacco, 13.75 acres of parsley, and also some mustard.

Here our host, Dirk Gerling, right, discusses the stats of the Wilson Farm and a small photo book I brought along with Dominik Bellaire. The size of our family's farm, at over 3,000 acres, although just an average farm in North Dakota, seems to be a pretty hot topic here, where farms tend to be much smaller due to the large population base and many more forested areas.

The Bellaire's milk 70 head of Fleckvieh cows. 140 total head of cattle with young stock included.

Average milk production per lactation (each time a cow has a calf she lactates) is 8,500 Liters. Average lactation lasts 370 days. Milkfat percentage is 4.3. Protein percentage in milk is 3.8%

They currently milk in a double four tandem parlor where the cows are lined up head to tail in individual stalls, but they hope to upgrade to a robotic milker in the future.

Roland is currently the chairperson of the county farmer's association.

A gadget is installed on their tractor to change the tire pressure from inside the cab when they go from driving in the field to on the road and vice versa.
Every tractor here is required to have a license plate.
Certainly many differences between how we farm in the U.S. and how they do things here in Germany, but we have a lot of common ground as well. Very grateful to the Bellaire family for taking time out of their busy schedules to show us around their well-run operation.

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