In Huize Ruijter in Tollebeek (Noordoostpolder) little Ivan would rather look at beautiful grazing cows on his mother's phone than at cartoons. "He loves cows," say Erwin and Ludy-Anne Ruijter. It is not surprising that the interest in cows is already high. Together with his parents and brother Stefan, Erwin runs a dairy farm with 120 dairy cows and 90 young cattle. They are real cow farmers who focus on optimum cow health and welfare. This ensures that the average age of the cows is high on the farm and the Ruijter family is in 9th place in the list of the top 25 best performing robot fanciers. At the kitchen table, Erwin enthusiastically talks about the family business.
"A lot has changed within our company in the last 7 years. In 2013 we built a new barn where two milking robots are now running. In recent years, too, from our own breeding, we have risen sharply in the number of dairy cows. "From 60 cows in the old situation, the Ruijter family grew to 120 cows after the relocation. The old dairy farm is located in Urk, where Erwin's parents live, and is still the place where the young cattle are housed.
Get used to so many cows
With the construction of the new barn and the growing number of dairy cows, a lot has changed for the family. "We had to get used to so many cows," Erwin says. In 2013 the Ruijter family switched to automatic milking. The goal of automatically milking 120 cows has now been achieved for the Ruijter family. "We are currently very satisfied. Our cows are healthy and the business is doing well. Our objective now is to further increase milk production from 11,500 to 12,000 kg of milk per cow per year. "They want to achieve this goal through good management and good nutrition. An increase is certainly possible, "Erwin firmly states. With the new stable and growth in livestock, the Ruijter family now focuses primarily on optimizing the company. "It is still uncertain about the number of cows that we will be allowed to milk later, so our goal now is to run a good return."