In 2020 Bles Dairies has written a business plan for a French dairy farm – cows and goats – owned by a Dutch investor. The farm contains 150 milking cows and around 300 milking goats and has the goal to grow and produce 3,000,000 litre organic cow milk and 500,000 litre goat milk per year on almost 1,000 acres. Key principles for the business plan are self-sufficient feeding, maximum grazing, and a voluntary milking system.
The plan consists of two sections. The first section provides a description for the set-up of the farm, whereas the second is a financial feasibility study with an investment and operating budget. Within the plan, the farm has been divided into three different business units. The first unit is the arable farm that produces the feed for the other two units: the goat and cow farm. The total required amount of FTE – full-time equivalents – for the three business units all together is eight.
The arable farm
The arable farm will produce roughage – pasture grass, maize, alfalfa, grass-clover, whole plant silage, barley, peas, and hay, – concentrates – barley, maize, and winter field beans – and a part of the straw needed for the straw yard barns. In addition, for the goats, the concentrates will be purchased.
Around 350 milking cows and 200 heads of young stock are needed to produce 3 million litres of organic cow milk per year. A new high-care dairy barn and a young stock barn need to be built for the housing of these animals. The milking robots will then be placed in between the two barns. For the grazing, they will make use of the A-B-C Grazing system, which means that the cows have a new plot every eight hours on the grazing platform A, B or C.
For the production of 500,000 litres goat milk per year, around 600 milking goats and 180 lambs are needed. The existing barns for the dairy and dry cows will be converted into housing for the goats. In addition, the current goat barn will be turned into a rearing area for the older lambs. The goats will graze during daytime.
All-in all, a well-structured plan has been presented and now plans for the implementation are being discussed with the investors and farm manager.