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Future visions for the Dutch dairy sector

The Animal Sciences Group of Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands has reported three future visions for the Dutch dairy sector. These visions are part of the project Power for Cows.

The project Kracht van Koeien (the Power of Cows) has been assigned to develop a more sustainable dairy husbandry system by the Dutch ministry of Agriculture in which the project team is working on a re-design of the present dairy husbandry production system together with stakeholders in the industry.

With these stakeholders the project team formulated three future visions:
- Dairy Husbandry with Energy
- Milk, the Mineral Motor
- Growth through reduction in production scale

As far as the future vision Dairy Husbandry with Energy' is concerned, it became clear that energy and minerals are complementary. Looking at the issue from a cyclic perspective yields a wide variety of concrete ideas with a range of possibilities within the system. Discussing the future vision 'Melk, the Mineral Motor' concluded in the realization that manure and urine can become more valuable in future. This could be realized through several different approaches. The session also yielded ideas about how to apply manure in pastures. The future vision 'Growth through reduction in production scale' was enriched by ideas for autonomous self-regulating herds and using a different (smaller) type of cow.

The results of these creative sessions will be used as input for the continuation of the design process; not only to shape ideas and directions of the eventual design, but also in creating networks that are willing to make a step towards a more sustainable dairy husbandry in the Netherlands.

Related weblog:
Future changes in the global dairy sector   

Related website:
Full report (in Dutch)

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