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XtraBlatt issue 01-2017

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  • Krone
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  • Cows
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MENSCHEN ON-FARM

MENSCHEN ON-FARM Fleckvieh breeding THE FARM WITH “FEEL GOOD” It cannot be claimed that Fleckvieh are uncommon in Bavaria. But with 220 cows including 100,000 l animals and “Feel Good” A2 milk, the farming business run by the family Kraus certainly attracts attention… MILK The Kraus family’s cattle breeding business lies in Deubach near Augsburg. Goats graze a little meadow by the farmhouse – a children’s zoo for the village kids who love to visit at the weekends. Farm machinery and forage have individual barns. The cattle accommodation, extended for 100 head in 1992, looks very modern. Twelve years later, expansion began again – and hasn’t stopped. After all, the business now has three families to feed. Today’s herd comprises 220 Fleckvieh cows at home in open-sided and airy loose housing with straw-littered deep-bed cubicles and outdoor access for the cattle. “The cows love the outdoor area. When we lower the roller side walls to stop the wind blowing in, there are no cows to be seen outside. If the wind shields are up, then the outside area is completely filled – whatever the weather,” says farmer Georg Kraus. “Unfortunately, we cannot graze our cows. The farm buildings lie in the middle of the village and we can hardly drive 220 cows through the streets,” explains the senior farmer who is also chairman of the Swabian Fleckvieh Breeding Association. He runs the farm, which he took over from his father in 1982, with his wife Helga and sons Jürgen and Andreas and the help of a student. “Jürgen takes care of our 180- kW biogas plant which we’ve run since 2010. Andreas is mainly responsible for the milk management and keeping an eye on our cattle.” Some 200 of the cows are robot-milked. The animals go voluntarily into the four milking cabins, sometimes up to four times daily. Concentrate feed comprises winter barley, maize grain, molasses pulp and rapeseed meal offered from automatic dispensers. Andreas Kraus checks daily that the milking runs smoothly. The software allows him to monitor details of every cow and make adjustments for any cows. After all, not every udder is the same. For instance, where a cow has a damaged teat, Andreas can feed this information into the system so that the affected cow is turned away from the robot to be milked conventionally. “The Georg Kraus breeds Fleckvieh cattle primarily for high health – nevertheless 100,000 l females are no rarity from this herd. transition from the classic double-eight herringbone parlour lasted a few weeks,” recalls Andreas. “In the beginning, we milked the cows as normal, enticing them into the robot cabins with some concentrates so they got used to everything. When a new animal joins the milking herd, I still accompany it through the system for the first weeks.” To Andreas, the advantages of robot milking are clear. “The cows are much quieter and don’t spring to their feet immediately when someone comes into the barn.” All the animals not robot-milked, for instance fresh calvers, are still milked twice per day through the herringbone “by hand”. 26 27