In Leusden, near Amersfoort, is the farm of dairy farmer Ron van Burgsteden. He milks 70 dairy cows with a robot and the farm covers 40 hectares. Ron talks about the value of data sharing for his business.
Ron found out that data is not exactly a favorite topic for many farmers. “They often don’t know who they’re sharing data with and don’t have an overview of who they’ve authorized to do what. I’m not a data farmer per se, in the sense that my farm is full of sensors, but data from my Lely robot, for example, helps me identify cows that require attention. Their application already combines data, so I don’t have to make that link myself.”
Ownership of data
Ron already participated in the Smart Dairy Farming project ten years ago. “At the time, I honestly expected that we would be further along by now, some ten years after the start. Development has been delayed by the big question of ‘who does the data belong to and how do you implement that?’ Smart Dairy Farming was started to make useful products for livestock farmers. But we got stuck in the discussion question of ownership. The three cooperatives CRV, Agrifirm and FrieslandCampina finally got it going again, for their members.”
Added value for your company
Ron now participates in JoinData and has an overview of the organizations he shares data with. The dairy farmer explains: “The value of data doesn’t have to be cash, but it can add value to your business. By sharing data, I get better, faster and more accurate information. For instance, I don’t get a message saying: ‘maybe one of those 10 cows is sick’. No, what I want to know is: ‘this specific cow is sick’. In the end, that means less work, less stress, less use of antibiotics and fewer worries. I also want to know exactly what part of the day a cow is in heat. Twenty years ago, it was a great improvement that we knew that a cow was in heat in the last 48 hours and that you had to pay attention again in 3 weeks. Today, that’s not enough anymore. I want to know exactly which cow is in heat at what time of day.”