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XtraBlatt Issue 02-2018

  • Text
  • Krone
  • Machinery
  • Forage
  • Straw
  • Farmer
  • Contractor
  • Dairy
  • Bales
  • Agricultural
  • Cows

INTERNATIONAL FARMER

INTERNATIONAL FARMER GEORGES CHEVALIER, RUDELLE CHEESE EN GRO Georges Chevalier from Rudelle in the south of France discloses the factors for success in his dairy goat enterprise that has expanded from 80 to 220 animals, now producing milk for around 720,000 cheeses per annum. 38

S Georges Chevalier makes and markets seven different types of cheese, mainly via wholesalers. Since 1992, Georges Chevalier has produced goat cheese from the family enterprise with main customers the French wholesalers Rungis Express and Odeon. Some of the production is sold directly over the counter of his farm shop. But this is the exception: “We’ve always made all our milk into cheese, plus another 2 to 5 t milk bought-in per year according to demand”, he explains. His herd of white Saanen goats, a breed with proven performance for both milk and meat, produces 200,000 l annually, each goat averaging about 3 l milk daily. With his 220 goats, Georges Chevalier has an average-size herd for southern France. “In this area there are certainly 50 further cheese producers. Herd size can be up to 500 head”, he reports. His cheese sales earn an annual 450,000 €. His most expensive cheese brings him a calculated 2.75 € for every litre of goat milk that goes into it. But this is just one of seven different cheese types he produces, some driven to customers in a Sprinter van he had fitted-out especially. “My cheeses are mainly exported to Belgium and the Netherlands.” Alongside good genetics, this farmer says quality feed plays a crucial role in production. ”Above all, I put my trust in high quality forage harvesting machinery, which includes equipment from Krone. For the cheeses we produce, we are legally bound to use feed that is at least 80% home-produced”, stresses farmer Chevalier. The forage making machinery is also well looked after here and kept under cover. “In fact, my baler has never even been rained on!” MORE LUCERNE HAY Up until 2003, farmer Chevalier grew 12 ha lucerne. Since the great drought in that year, he’s increased the area to 25 ha. There’s also 20 ha of cereals, mainly wheat and barley. “The drought made us rethink our policy. Now, we sell some of our lucerne so that even this year’s poor harvest didn’t affect us much. We were able to harvest 10 to 12t/ha lucerne. With wheat, though, we only managed 5t/ha. With our chalk-rich clay soil, lucerne yield is acceptable.” In good years up to five cuts of forage are possible. Forage harvesting is conducted by the farmer himself with his own EC F 320 CR and EC R 320 CR mowers plus turner and tedder, AX 280 GL self-loading forage wagon and a BiG Pack BP 1270 MultiBale baler, all from Krone. Since 2006, he also works with these machines as a contractor for other farmers. On the other hand, he himself uses a contractor for combine work. He swaps some of his cereal crop for maize grain and this goes into his goat rations. Organisation in this respect is through Cuma: a national federation of agricultural material purchasing cooperatives. Georges Chevalier keeps his wheat straw because the goats like to eat this. “We once bought-in extra wheat straw, but the quality was a catastrophe”, he recalls. MAIZE NOT AN ALTERNATIVE The goats are fed fully automatically in the very roomy loose housing accommodation. A hydraulic grab lifts the lucerne hay into the feeding passage while the remaining components are evenly distributed via feed dispenser. A mix of pellets, cereal grain, maize grain and lucerne hay make up the milkers’ ration. The hay is dried if required and aerated via photovoltaic system and fans. Per animal and day, calculated ration is 1 kg concentrate feed and 2 kg lucerne hay. “We have no maize silage because we think the quality is not good enough. We take a lot of care with the feed and this results 39