Local Heart, Global Soul

March 14, 2017

Literally… This Boss Is A Real Cow!

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,TEXEL,Texel: Ice-cream farm Labora,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At  “IJsboerderij Labora” in Texel, Family Kiwidutch and our friends got the opportunity to see something very new for the first time.

That ‘something” was introduced with a sign on the wall of the dairy farm which read: “Wilt u binnen een kijkje nemen? Ingang om de hoek, Hier kunt u onze melkrobot in werking zien” (Would you like to come inside for a little look? Entrance around the corner, here you can see our milk robot in action).

Milk robot?  I’m immediately curious and went in to take a look.

Inside I find myself facing the back side of a large machine called the “Lely Astronaut“. It is busy with water, brushes and milking suction cups and the cows are simply walking up to it one after another and allowing themselves to be cleaned and milked before returning to the main stall.

There is a small screen with a rolling commentary on our side of the machine.  It tells us all about how the milk robot works.

Translated and summarised: “Dutch dairy farmers wanted to find an easier and faster way to milk cows that was less stressful for cows, more efficient for the farmer.

Various machines already in use have a multitude of problems, for example that the cows have to move backwards or sideways and out of stalls, a movement not natural to them and produces stress. Stress is not only bad for the general health of the cow, it also means that she lets down less milk.

Dutch agricultural firm “Lely” therefore decided to redesign the entire milking procedure from scratch using new methods of technology and the  “Lely Astronaut” is the result.

Firstly, the cow moves only in a forward motion, gone are side-steps or reverse, she enters the milking stall at one end and leaves through the other.

She is scanned as she enters, the computer identifies the specific individual and tipping a small feed mix into the container by her head:  if milking has been unproductive the feed mix is adjusted with supplements or medication. She is weighed and her general condition accessed via a scanning system.

An arm with rotating brushes comes out under the cow, cleaning her teats and udder using a steam clean requiring no detergents. The udder is scanned and the robot finds the teats one at a time, mimicking how a calf would do it.

Sensors throughout the process can detect signs of mastitis, the arm under the cow also measures colour, temperature, conductivity, fat, lactose, levels of somatic cells, protein levels in the milk, as well as milking speed. If the machine detects a deviation in the milk value then the milk is separated automatically.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The cups are attached to the teats using a 3D camera and lasers, cow is milked, then mimicking nature at the end they detach one at time. Cow and the equipment are steam cleaned and disinfected again at the end and the cow exits via the front of the stall, whilst the back opens up for the next cow to enter.

Amazingly the farmer can control everything from an App. on a smart phone and so can spend more time with cows that need specialist attention.

Cows feel pressure and discomfort if they are not milked on time and having lived on a farm I know that cows are intelligent animals who happily walk to a milking shed when they feel this need, therefore this robot means that the cows decide according to this need and milk themselves!

It was certainly funny to see the orderly queue as the cows lined up waiting their turn at the machine. The farmer just fills the hoppers, collects the milk, does maintenance and can supervise on a remote dashboard and collect data for management of the herd.
It seems that “teaching” cows to become accustomed to an automated milking machine is a very achievable objective, and a big success. It’s great to see how modern technology can be put to good use, and that everyone in this system benefits: happy cows, better milk, happy farmers.

It’s been an eye opener to see a system where the farm animal can be part of the decision process and that everyone wins. I’d love to see technology extended to help other farm animals have a “say” in their own environment, be in the spaces where they live, to heat and light. Who knows how technology will evolve later in the twenty-first century? I hope that machines like this robot lead the way to better lives for livestock on our farms.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 13, 2017

Colour Lacks But The Wheels Still Go Round…

Ijsboerderij Labora” is a Dutch dairy farm where they use some of the fresh milk to make their own ice-cream. Located on the island of Texel in North Holland, it’s where we spent the 2016 Easter weekend with friends. Following my yesterday’s post I am taking photographs for my “reference library files”, and have gone from “klompen” (clogs), to “wheels” as the topic of interest. In taking photographs from different angles I hope to not just capture composition but also texture, something I achieved in some small part, but had the same problem with the klompen: my colours are noticeably washed out. Still, something is better than nothing and the learning curve continues.

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

March 12, 2017

The Most Unlikely Shoe Collection…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

This post finds us still at “Ijsboerderij Labora“, a dairy farm in Texel that uses it’s fresh milk to make the most delectable of treats: ice-cream.

The date was Easter 2016 and Family Kiwidutch were enjoying a much needed long weekend break with two other sets of friends and their children.

Our children were reluctant to leave, not just due to the fabulous ice-cream, but also the abundance of a large variety of playground equipment and toys,  and not least, the presence of at least four large trampolines.

The afternoon was getting on, and the crowd of other visitors who had smaller children suddenly disappeared as their kids dinner and bed times approached, so our party soon had all four of the trampolines almost to themselves.

With queues gone, I took photographs of them jumping for the family album, but their passion for jumping outlasted mine in the end and feeling a little bored after another rest, I moved back toward the car, where other things had caught my eye. I’d spotted some lovely clogs on display as I arrived and wanted to get some photos for my ” reference library” album.

After all, it’s always helpful to have a few studies to refer to should the sketching bug arise.  To this end I set to work making various photographs, attempting various angles and zooms so that the most could be made of these lovely “klompen” (clogs). To be fair, not having a tripod with me, especially in the strong wind, didn’t help and for some reason the colours are lighter and more washed out in the end results than they were in real life, but the “bones” are there. Regular readers will know I adore old stuff like this, I hope you like them too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

March 11, 2017

Getting A Very Creamy Ten Out Of Ten!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Finding ourselves visiting “Ijsboerderij Labora“, a Texel dairy farm that makes it’s own ice-cream, guaranteed that our 2016 Easter trip was going to have one, less than conventional pre-main course entrée.

The range of flavours in the long freezer cabinet had everyone deliberating on their perfect combination of flavours.

I didn’t get photographs of our selections simply because the kids disappeared outside with theirs and the adults inside were so busy getting down to ice-cream  demolition that slow-poke moi at the end of the queue arrived to find most the evidence already gone.

Needless to say the ice-creams were very good indeed. I also liked that there was an indoor sitting area, not large but a very welcome resting spot  after my tour of the play area.

Additionally, a large cupboard with locally made Texel products meant that we could take a few small gifts back for my Mother in law, I choose small pots of lanolin to massage into her hands since her skin was often very dry. I also attempted a few “Still life with tulips” photographs, not the best but ok reference material if I want it for a sketch one day. The wind may be cutting and fierce  today but that’s not stopping everyone from giving this outing a very creamy ten out of ten!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

 

March 10, 2017

A Plentiful Supply Of Raw Ingredients To Make …Profit!

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Texel: Ice-cream farm Labora,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Our next stop during our 2016 Easter weekend visit of Texel is somewhere that our friends have read up on and the children in our extended party voted as a must-see place to visit.

As we get close we see a paddock with several lines of parked cars… clearly not just members of our group think this is a top destination.

As soon as we turn into the gate I see the attraction: there is play equipment everywhere, from items to please toddlers to multiple large trampolines to enthuse bigger kids and adults alike (myself excepting, the idea is tempting, the practical implications of landing on my sore foot immediately not).

Then the second attraction becomes apparent: this is a dairy farm that makes its own ice-cream.

The wind is still blowing a gale, but no one we see seems deterred from the play equipment: certainly our kids peel off quickly enough and make a bee-line for the trampolines. I content myself to talking photographs… who isn’t going to like anywhere where there is ice-cream somewhere on the near agenda?

The house is half typical Dutch and, with it’s strange “all roof” appearance, very much of Texel character. Part of the ground floor has been converted into a small cafe, and of course, the outside lawn into the entertainment section. The kids are quick to want to burn off excess energy… and luckily the foresight of the owners of putting several large trampolines here means that waiting times are kept to a minimum. Of course in the height of summer it’s probably very crowded but the crowd of smaller kids thins quickly after we arrive due to their earlier dinner time so it doesn’t take long before our lot more or less have the trampolines to themselves. This is a prime example of a dairy farm taking full advantage of their space and ready supply of milk to make a secondary income for themselves, what a perfect idea!

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(phot(photograph © Kiwidutch )ograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

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