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Biodiversity

Our entire chain focuses on people, animals and the environment. From grass to cheese. From farmer to cheese maker. Every dairy farmer works with nature and there is biodiversity on every farm. Appropriate for the company and what nature demands there.

 

Beemster Bee Corridor

Our farmers' biodiversity projects are linked by the Beemster Bee Corridor. The bee corridor helps bees and other endangered insects to find enough food. The Beemster Bee Corridor starts at the CONO cheese factory and runs through the pastures of our farmers throughout Beemster. This is how we make our world a little bit more beautiful.

Farmer Bakker

The Beemster Bee Ribbon is an all-you-can-eat restaurant for insects

At CONO we dream of happy cows, happy farmers and a happy earth. That is why we sowed the Beemster Bee Corridor. Farmers Johan and Jeannette Bakker from Middenbeemster have been participating from the very beginning.

Those who drive through the Beemster polder will see a ribbon of cheerful, colorful flowers at more and more farms. That is the Beemster Bee Corridor, which provides food for all kinds of insects. A solution for the endangered wild bee, which plays a crucial role in the pollination of all kinds of flowers, vegetables and fruit. Butterflies and other insects also feast on this feast.

“I think the Beemster Bee Corridor is a very nice landscape element,” says Johan. “For me, biodiversity is a variety of animals, grass, vegetables and flowers. The flowers also provide environmentally friendly crop protection, Jeannette adds: "The beauty is that certain good insects that come up on these flowers eat the bugs that can be in the corn with us."

The Beemster Bee Corridor flowers from spring to autumn. The different flowers alternate, which means that the strip always changes color. Johan: "They are annual plants, so we mow them around February and mix them through the soil as natural fertilizer."

Farmer Oudshoorn

Sustainable grass and corn thanks to eco plows

What could be better than producing food for your cows yourself? That is why Clemens and Sandra Oudshoorn from Westbeemster have land on which they grow grass for one half of the year, and corn for the other half of the year. To switch from one crop to another crop, the land must be completely clean. They do that with the eco plow.

Plowing turns the soil upside down. Eco plowing appears to be a very smart method. Because the top layer is only turned about ten to twelve centimeters deep, instead of twenty to twenty-five centimeters for an 'ordinary' team. This keeps important organic sofas easily accessible for the roots of the new plantings.

It is logical that Clemens and Sandra want as healthy as possible land on which they grow the feed for the cows. “Grass plays an important role on our farm,” says Clemens. “In winter, if the cows cannot graze in the pasture, they get nice silage that we already mowed in April. In addition, grass is a soil improver. The Italian ryegrass we use has very long roots. This makes the soil loose for all the bugs in the ground and for the corn that comes afterwards. Spraying the grass turf that has been mown with, for example, glyphosate does not fit in with that.”

Farmer Pieter Jan  

Swallows protect the dairy cows

The barn swallow is an endangered species, but they are safe with farmer Pieter Jan in Middenbeemster. Every year about twenty pairs of barn swallows breed there. Insects are swallows' favorite food, and that works out well! Cows find flies a bit annoying, so they wave their tail all day long. Swallows eat a large part of the flies. Thousands a day! They are so satisfied with their shelter that they return every spring. And always in the same place: at the top of the sand coop where the cows can roll.

“The swallows found us immediately when the new farm was built here,” says Pieter Jan. “The extra animals are fun, but also very useful. Because apart from reducing the number of flies, they protect the cows against an invasion of starlings. They live in large groups of up to ten thousand species. They have a taste for good food, such as the corn we give our cows. Such a flock of starlings regularly flies into the stable. Two things then happen: they eat the food and poop the food bowls. Of course we don't want that, because then there is the risk of diseases. Fortunately, the barn swallows know how to chase the starlings in no time.”

Farmer Peter

Cows as nature managers

Cows in the meadow is a familiar sight. But nature reserves also need to be managed, and grazing can prevent everything from closing up. The pregnant cattle of farmer Peter Helder from Middenbeemster is therefore "lent" to Staatsbosbeheer. With this he participates in the project "Dairy strengthens nature and landscape".

“Geese can keep the greenery short until spring, but everything will shoot up from the spring. Then you need cows that graze all day long, ”explains Peter. Without the cows, the open landscape changes into a forest in no time. Meadow and waterfowl then migrate, fearing that all kinds of birds of prey hide in the trees. Peter also does more in the field of nature management. “Due to sustainable nest management, I will only start mowing from mid-June. This gives the birds enough time to breed, while the young birds can grow up quietly. ” The farmer has also sown herb-rich grassland. More than twenty types of grasses, herbs and clovers attract all kinds of insects, which mean a varied menu for the chicks. And later in the summer also for the cows!

Farmer Jos

Worms love 'rough' manure

Farmer Jos has a clear vision of sustainable farming: “A cow poops and urinates separately, so we also process it separately, because then both can use it optimally.”

For fertile soil, manure and vulture are spread on Jos' arable land. “We mix the raw manure without slurry with straw that the cows run out of their boxes, and let it compost outside on a large pile. The mix of solid manure and urine is the main source of ammonia. At the beginning of the summer we drive the rough manure over the land and the worms can do their work. Those corridors in the ground are not only good because of the airiness, but also ensure that the rainwater drains quickly. ”

Jos also works the old-fashioned way with the vulture. "Too much vulture is not good for the animals in the soil." Jos' machine makes narrow gullies in the bottom and pours the vulture in a very measured way. So the rest of the ground can breathe. The result: a lot of life in the ground and abundant harvests. “Normally you only put corn on the same land for five years in a row, but with us it has been around for fifty years in a row. Thanks to this old-fashioned and sustainable cycle.

Farmer Beers

Sustainably return land to nature

As a farmer you want as much pasture as possible for the cows. But sometimes the water is stronger than the land. Even then it is possible to make sustainable choices, as the Beers family business from Westbeemster shows. For example with nature-friendly banks.

Over time, about half an acre of land has calved in the draft ditch, which runs between two plots. This would continue without intervention. So it's high time for action. The choice was made for environmentally friendly braiding of braided branches, and the return of soil between the new sheeting and the existing banks. “Reed is planted in it, which with the roots retains all the soil better. So our problem has been solved ”, Piet says. At the same time, this vegetation contributes to nature in and around the water. Think of fish that find a quiet place to lay their eggs, birds that use the stems for their nests, or dragonflies that crawl out of the water through the leaves. It is a real win-win situation for people and nature.”

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