The Flevoland barn houses 140 dairy cows and focuses on feed research and smart farming. The herd calves year-round. Milk production/cow/year is 11,300 kg with 4.35% fat and 3.60% protein.
Approximately 60 dairy cows are milked in the 2x8 herringbone milking parlour. This group also participates in livestock research. The other 60 animals are milked in the milking robot. In the Flevoland barn, third-year students at Aeres University of Applied Sciences carry out many assignments for their Competence Test.
With the ‘Beter Leven Keurmerk’ 3 stars, the poultry house meets the most extensive requirements set by the Animal Protection Society for this label. A number of students from the university were closely involved in the design of the new barn. The students, who live in student housing in the Aeres Farms yard, run this poultry house with 1,000 laying hens. The barn is divided into 4 sections of 250 laying hens so that the students can conduct various research projects. This barn also functions as an educational facility for practical training.
The arable farm occupies 220 hectares of land, which consists of both conventional and organic farming with its own mechanisation and storage of products. The farm has a storage facility for 2,500 tons of potatoes and 1,000 tons of onions. In addition to traditional arable crops, the cropping plan allows for the cultivation of new small crops such as soybeans.
Experimenting on the Education Learning Plot
Students of the Horticulture and Arable programme and Agricultural Entrepreneurship Horticulture and Arable programme visit the plot frequently. First-year students are introduced to the development of different crops on the plot. At various times during the growing season, they follow a crop round where they learn more about the crop and the identification of weeds. All second-year students conduct experiments there. In advance, they have figured out for themselves which experiments they find interesting and valuable. A choice is then made as to which ones will be carried out this year. A number of experiments/trials will be conducted over several years.
For example, among the onions this year are strips of cucumber weed and Phacelia. These two crops attract natural enemies, with which the students hope to reduce the pressure of thrips in onions. There is also a strip where only mechanical weed control is carried out. A total of seven student groups are involved in experiments in sowing onions.