Good Thinking

Floating dairy farm will ship milk to Rotterdam

Floating dairy farm will ship ...
In addition to food production operations, the Floating Farm will host a high-tech living lab
In addition to food production operations, the Floating Farm will host a high-tech living lab
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In addition to food production operations, the Floating Farm will host a high-tech living lab
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In addition to food production operations, the Floating Farm will host a high-tech living lab
The structure itself will contain an "animal-friendly garden-like environment," with artificial grass upon which the cows can roam
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The structure itself will contain an "animal-friendly garden-like environment," with artificial grass upon which the cows can roam
The use of renewable energy and the circular nature of the farming means that the farm will be almost entirely self-sufficient
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The use of renewable energy and the circular nature of the farming means that the farm will be almost entirely self-sufficient

A Dutch collaboration is pushing the boat out with an idea of how to feed growing city populations despite decreasing amounts of space in which to produce food. The Floating Farm will produce various kinds of milk and yogurt from its location docked in the port of Rotterdam.

This isn't the first time waterborne farms have been mooted as a means of food production. Last year, Forward Thinking Architecture proposed its triple-decker Smart Floating Farms that would provide 2.2 million sq ft (204,400 sq m) of space for rearing fish and growing crops, while the Swale mobile floating food forest is scheduled to tour New York piers from this month.

The Floating Farm, though, has a focus on dairy. The project is a partnership between three companies. Courage is the innovation institute of the Dutch Agriculture and Dairy sector, Uit Je Eigen Stad runs urban farms in cities across the Netherlands and Beladon is an authority on floating structures.

The farm will measure 40 x 32 m (131 x 105 ft) and the plan is for it to produce dairy goods on a daily basis. There will be enough space for 40 cows, producing in the region of 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) of milk every day. Floating Farm says it would be very possible to scale the design up so as to accommodate 200 cows with a daily milk output of 5,000 kg (11,000 lb).

The structure itself will contain an "animal-friendly garden-like environment," with artificial grass upon which the cows can roam
The structure itself will contain an "animal-friendly garden-like environment," with artificial grass upon which the cows can roam

The structure will contain an "animal-friendly garden-like environment," with artificial grass upon which the cows can roam. Grass for feeding the cattle will be grown in short cycles on special beds using LED lights.

Urine produced by the cows will drain through the floor and into an air-tight storage facility. By keeping it contained here, ammonia emissions will be limited and it will be able to be distributed for use as fertilizer for city farms.

Manure, on the other hand, will be collected and stored separately. A biodigester will be employed to turn the manure into biogas and fertilizers, which in turn can be used to help grow the grass used to feed the cows. Rainwater too will be collected and filtered for the cows to drink.

The use of renewable energy and the circular nature of the farming means that the farm will be almost entirely self-sufficient
The use of renewable energy and the circular nature of the farming means that the farm will be almost entirely self-sufficient

All of this will be powered by solar panels and turbines. The use of renewable energy in this way and the circular nature of the farming means that the farm will be almost entirely self-sufficient. Its city location, meanwhile, means that the distances for transporting produce are minimized, and so too resulting emissions.

In addition to food production operations, the Floating Farm will host a high-tech living lab, which will be used for researching food production, and waste and water treatment processes. There will also be an education program, with guided tours for visitors and children to teach them about healthy food production and the processes being used by the farm itself.

Construction of the first Floating Farm is scheduled to begin this month and is expected to be completed in December, ahead of a projected January 2017 opening.

Source: Floating Farm

8 comments
alib
Is any of this actually healthy for the cows too?
Chiko
Poor cows ... they are genetically predisposed to live on land and not on "floating boats"
jerryd
Why is the upper structure there? It seems to have little use. Better to use the materials for more area. Trees, really? Fast growing grasses is the smart choice. I really wouldn't try to grow most of the feed when so much waste biomass is around, use the space for more cows instead. With wind, solar, biomass they can generate a lot more power than it needs and on demand giving another profitable revenue stream. Not the best choice as either pig or chicken would be better choices in such limited space.
knarc
Interesting.... I wouldn't mind seeing it when it is completed and running. I wonder what the capital and operating costs are of such a venture? However, I do think it is a sad and backward state of affairs that leads us to this point.... of having milk cows live on a floating dock instead of on land on a pasture.
MikeW
Hmmm if you have to start moving facilities out into the water be cause of lack of space, then maybe you are overpopulated.
ljaques
I, too, wonder how much it affects the cows. How much milk does a seasick cow produce? How does this boat compare to pasture land, sustainable-wise?
Grunt
This immediately raises animal welfare issues. People have fought for years to get better more humane and natural conditions for chickens and pigs, now these money grabbing morons want to put dairy cows in a boat, presumably for the duration of their "productive" lives! It's not on.
icykel
Perhaps a better way is to put people on the water and give the cows the land base.