Can you imagine of the rearing of cows on water? This is a remarkable project of 2.5 million Euros by Rotterdam’s floating dairy farm aiming at reconnecting Rotterdam’s inhabitants with their food. Moored in the port of Rotterdam, the floating farm will be inaugurated in January 2017. Its 40 cows produce 1 200 liters of milk per day, processed and sold locally. (Article published in The Guardian by Senay Boztas, 4 July 2016)
Do cows get seasick? This was the question that has arisen when three Dutch investors got the idea for the floating farm project. Far from being far-fetched, it is taking shape in the port of Rotterdam with a structure moored to a dock in rehabilitation. Work began in early June. The arrival of the animals is planned for December with an inauguration in January 2017.
This project materialised as there has been a great desire to develop short circuits in town, bringing a maximum of producers and consumers. In a country where every square meter of land is being sold at high prices, the idea of creating a floating barn in the heart of Europe’s largest harbour has become obvious. The technical part of the implementation was entrusted to Beladon, a company specialized in the construction of floating structures.
Minke van Wingerden of Beladon is categorical. “The cows will not get seasick here. It will be very stable. When you are on a cruise ship, you are not seasick,” he told.
The Floating Farm project in Rotterdam is receiving technical support from the Dutch dairy sector. The designers have also put into practice the principles of vertical farming. Thus, the surface of 1000 m² is operated on three floors, including a submerged part.
Electricity for the lighting of the entire structure provided by the roof covered with photovoltaic panels
The upper floor includes stabling which will house 40 dairy cows. The intermediate level includes milk processing laboratory and the farm sales. The submerged level is dedicated to the treatment of livestock manure and the production of grass on a thin substrate. The cows’ urine will be purified and used to grow red clover, Alfalfa and under artificial light for fodder. Cow’s manure will either be used or dispatched to farm in the neighbourhood. The electricity for the lighting of the entire structure will be provided by the roof covered with photovoltaic panels.
Moreover, the cows will have access to pasture a square located on the dock. It remains to be seen whether they will have enough courage to borrow the gateways and sail around!