Aeres Farms (formerly the Aeres Practice Centre) Dronten is the training and learning environment provided for and by students in the agricultural and food sectors. Both Aeres Hogeschool Dronten and Aeres VMBO (formerly Groenhorst) value practical learning in the education programme very highly. They make intensive use of the future-oriented education facilities at Aeres Farms.
Aeres Farms has an agricultural company and student companies. The former CVDB and the Paardenplaats have merged into Aeres student companies. Aeres Farm’s agricultural company covers 340 hectares and consists of a crop farm and three different dairy farms. The first farm focuses on cattle feed and research (Flevolandstal), the second on automation (Flevolandstal) and the third on pasturing (Weidestal).
At the 'Weidestal', the focus is on optimal grazing and return on grass in milk production. At present, the herd has seventy dairy cows – black-pied and red-pied Friesian cows. The cows are accustomed to constant grazing and are given very little power feed. That is because the seventy cows are kept using the Irish grazing system. They have to make do with 40 acres of grassland. The grazing system used is called strip grazing.
The existing traditional dairy barn has been extended and now focuses on the efficient use of techniques, minimal labour input and maximum labour efficiency. The barn has been extended widthways, so that there is now room for 60 dairy cows that are milked using a milking robot. The milking robot that Aeres Farms chose is a DeLaval VMS with a herd navigator. An instruction area was built in the barn to conduct experiments and research in. Based on the Eco 200 principle, heat radiated by the milk will be reused in a useful way. Because of this, the practice centre has been able to reduce its consumption of natural gas and energy. Students from our agricultural programmes regularly come and carry out various assignments in the dairy cattle barns.
The crop farm at Aeres Farms is a working, organic farm with its own mechanization and storage of produce. This farm provides the opportunity to learn, experiment and demonstrate. If you are studying an agricultural study, you also will gain experience at the Studentenlandbouwbedrijf – translated: Student Crop Farm.