You don’t just fall into being a farmer by mistake.
What’s more, if you were to ask the Grand Fermage farmers, they would tell you that it is a vocation, a life-long project guided by a single thing: the love of animals, which they raise and see grow day after day. They know them by name, observe them, feed them, and really pamper them 365 days a year to ensure their well-being… which is completely inseparable from their own.
This is how, over the years and with experience, they have developed a “farmer’s eye”, a unique and inimitable expertise.
A word from Nicolas
At 5.45 am, the cows are waiting in front of the milking shed – even if I might forget to set my alarm clock, they certainly never do! Milking is an important time for the cows, and they want to get into the milking shed to relieve their udders.Nicolas, dairy cow breeder in Souleuvre-en-Bocage (Calvados)
A building designed for the well-being of the cows
Like us, cows are very sensitive to their surroundings. Although from March to the end of October, depending on the region and the farm, they spend a lot of time grazing, the rest of the year they live indoors in their barns.
This is why Grand Fermage farmers ensure they are perfectly adapted to their well-being and their comfort! Bedding, feed, water points and even showers, mist sprays, fans and cow brushes: cows have everything they need and are free to move around indoors as they please.
What’s more, each barn is specifically adapted to the climate of the region.
For example, ventilation is crucial to bovine well-being! As well as being well positioned towards the sun, the barns have large openings that allow ventilation to regulate the temperature, without letting draughts in. Everything has been well thought-out!
Did you know?
Like us, cows split their days into “three 8s”!
In other words, they eat for 8 hours, they chew the cud for 8 hours and they sleep for 8 hours. Quite a schedule!
You don’t get quality milk without a balanced diet!
It’s a fact that a healthy cow produces the best milk!
This is why Grand Fermage farmers attach such importance to feed, the primary source of their well-being. Their meals must be balanced, based on fodder, hay and cereals mostly produced on the farm. This allows farmers to be independent and also to adapt the feed rations to the needs of their herd.
And a home-cooked meal is always the best!
Did you know?
Cows have their own technique for grazing grass.
Instead of pulling it out with their teeth, they surround it with their tongue, grasp it gently and then chew it!
Cows’ happiness come from the pasture... but not just that!
In France, some cows graze more, and other less, or simply not at all.
And there’s no historical significance to this – it’s simply a question of the region and more importantly the climate!
For example, in rainy Normandy, there’s perfect green grass available for 8 months of the year. Conversely, Poitou-Charentes is much warmer and the grass turns yellow much more quickly. That being said, don’t think that cows that are not out to pasture are unhappy because of that… As cows don’t sweat, they can’t stand the heat at all, unlike us!
What’s more, when it is hot or when grass is scarce, they much prefer the comfort and coolness of their barn, although of course they’re also free to go outside whenever they wish. Well sheltered from bad weather, they then enjoy their bedding, feed and watering points as they wish.
Finally, whether grazing or not, Grand Fermage farmers have simply adapted their practices to the specific climate of their region, so that the well-being of their animals is always prioritised… Because for them, this is the most important thing!
The health of the cows is always a priority
Grand Fermage farmers monitor the health of their herd like watching milk boil on the stove. First and foremost this is out of the love they have for their cows, but it also affects the quality of their milk.
Morning and evening milking sessions are an excellent opportunity to do this. Farmers take the opportunity to clean teats and udders, which helps prevent infections, but also to inspect the cows’ hooves for lameness.
If a cow does fall ill, a vet will come to the farm to check her over. As for the patient’s milk, this is set aside for the duration of the treatment.
And once a year each Grand Fermage farm undergoes a health inspection.
Did you know?
There are 10 vets working for the cooperative to monitor farmers and ensure compliance with health standards, breeding conditions and the good health of the animals.
A word from Cyrielle
We support our farmers to become more efficient. Whether it is a question of food, buildings or health, the team strives to help farmers improve their production with the greatest respect for the environment.Cyrielle, veterinarian of the cooperative
Working in compliance with the Charter of Good Farming Practices
Traceability, herd health, quality feed, scrupulous hygiene, animal well-being…
For over 20 years, more than 40 demanding criteria have made up the Charter of Good Farming Practices.
And to put it simply, at Grand Fermage, 100% of our farmers are committed to respecting it to the letter! And what’s even better, is that trained and officially authorised milk advisers from the cooperative audit each farmer every 2 to 3 years in order to validate this.
It is our guarantee for healthy animals and top-quality dairy products!