Lely Holding is an international company that develops innovative solutions and tailored services for the agricultural sector. It focuses on automation of farming practices in cowsheds, such as milk robots. Established in 1948 it now has representations in over 40 countries worldwide.
Every year the senior managers of the Lely representations meet to discuss business issues and recent developments and to visit farms. The 2018 meeting was from 23 to 28 June, in the Netherlands.
One of this year’s visits was to an organic dairy farm in Tilburg, on 27 June. Here the automated processes in connection to milking, feeding and cleaning of cows were demonstrated. Also the vision and principles of organic farming were shared and the day was closed with a barbecue on the farm.
I was tasked to present the relationship between agriculture and nature. During two one-hour walks on the farmland, each time with about 30 participants, I presented a brief history of agriculture in Europe and how this has shaped much of Europe’s landscapes and biodiversity. I presented some key economic figures in (dairy) farming today, pointing at the level of intensification that agriculture has reached these days. The impacts of intensive farming on nature, biodiversity and landscape were presented and I ended with highlighting options for reducing negative impacts, such as through multifunctional land use, nature-inclusive farming, and organic agriculture. During the walk natural features in the landscape and on the organic farm were pointed at as real-life examples.
Photos: Ben Delbaere / Lely Holding