vor 1 Jahr

XtraBlatt Issue 01-2018

  • Text
  • Machinery
  • Krone
  • Forage
  • Silage
  • Maize
  • Menschen
  • Farmers
  • Contractor
  • Agricultural
  • Dairy


MENSCHEN ON-FARM 1 2 Slaughter takes place nearby and the carcass halves are delivered straight back to the farm for cutting and retailing. The same process takes place with the 20 pigs kept on the farm. These also belong to an endangered breed: the Schwäbisch-Hällische landrace. FARM SHOP WITH SELF-SERVICE The livestock demands more labour than fieldwork. But through direct marketing via the farm shop the animals also leave a substantially bigger margin, says Marco Ruf. In the Bannsteinhof shop other home-produced ware is offered. Only a small proportion, such as pasta or bread spreads, is bought-in from other organic food sources. This farmer recognises the current trend towards regional products. There’s increasing demand. In the past, organic or “bio” was in great demand. But many customers now understand that this alone is not enough because “bio” doesn‘t always mean regional. Mother Margit Ruf looks after the shop, supported by daughter Jessica and two assistants. Additionally, she runs the farm office and has also developed an interest in sausage production, continually trying out new recipes on the family and customers. Her creations can be seen in the shop refrigerator. During our visit the shop was closed because opening times 44 are adjusted to allow those working all day to come and shop in the evenings. However, those who want to buy eggs just before Easter, for example, have to get up very early. A sign at the door already announces: Sorry. Eggs sold out today! Actually, eggs are sold outwith shop opening times anyway. In front of the shop there’s a small refrigerator where customers can serve themselves round the clock. The 450 layers peck and scratch in hen runs sited around the steading. These are pure egg producers, housed in mobile houses. In joyful expectation of feed, the hens run clucking towards Marco as we near them. He reckons that every hen has 8 m2 space for herself. Unlike the cattle and pigs, the poultry represent no special breed. Marco Ruf explains why: “A few years ago we experimented with a dual-purpose breed – Les Blues. But their laying performance didn’t really match their feed consumption. We are an organic farm, but still we have to turn a profit. So we decided against the breed. However, we are still looking, and plan to experiment with another one. Egg selling is not a straightforward business. But we have established a good rhythm. In the summer months when the hens are laying well, but egg demand is not so high, we regularly replace flock members. The redundant layers are slaughtered and sold as ‘soup’ hens.” REAL BIOGAS Back to the farmyard, we walk through the former bull feeding barn to the biogas plant. Meantime, this has become the 3

4 5 most important enterprise. It’s a real “bio” biogas business, says the farmer proudly. “We manage the plant according to our original concept, in other words as part of the natural ecological cycle system. The cows eat clover/grass forage, their dung goes into the biogas plant and the ferment residue goes back to the fields as fertiliser. There is a further side-effect: through the fermentation process, the cow manure doesn‘t smell so strongly so that when spreading it on the fields it is less pungent.” The plant produces up to 240 kW/h. Each year the plant also needs around 4,000 t grass silage. This is not seen as contrary to the natural cycle concept, the clover/ grass playing an important role in the rotation. The share of dung in the substrate is about 40%. This and the grass have a lower energy content than maize so that minimally more substrate has to be fermented. 1 Forage feed base comes from 80 ha permanent pasture as well as 100 ha of clover/grass grown in rotation. 2 Meat from the livestock is sold in the farm shop. 3 The biogas plant is fed with cow manure and clover/grass silage. 4 Layers are kept in mobile hen houses on hen runs sited around the steading. 5 Feed for the 35 sucklers, their followers and 20 pigs is all produced on the farm fields. roof so that the farm is almost self-sufficient in this respect. But here, too, the Rufs ponder future developments. “From 2020, financial support for the first biogas plants comes to an end. However, payments should continue for plants that can feed electricity into the network at variable times. In other words, when it is most required. We are working here to achieve this capability by building a new heating/power production plant.” Heat and electricity produced from the biogas are supplied to the farm houses, the shop and the Bannsteinhof grain drying plant. Additional energy is supplied by photovoltaic panels on the steading 45