World’s First Floating Diary Farm in Rotterdam
Jacqueline van Lier
The waters of the Nieuwe Maas snake through the city of Rotterdam, giving way to sandy beaches, bustling harbors, and, soon, a small herd of floating cows. It may sound like science fiction, but the world’s first floating dairy farm, the brainchild of Dutch property development company Beladon, is well on its way to becoming a reality.Though the project has been in the works for years, the farm only recently got the green light for construction. Earlier in the summer, a giant, 900-ton concrete platform was lugged by barge from the north of the Netherlands to its current post in Rotterdam’s Merwehaven harbor. It might not look like much yet, but, according to Peter and Minke van Wingerden, co-owners of Beladon, it will soon be a multi-level, hi-tech home to 40 Meuse Rhine Issel cows—and perhaps the best bovine real estate on the river.Source: Atlas ObscuraAccording to Peter, animal welfare was a top priority when designing the farm, so the team enlisted the help of a full-time farmer to determine cow-friendly materials, temperatures, feed, and major elements of the design. The finished farm will feature a “cow garden” on the top floor of the building, boasting artificial leafy trees, lush bushes, and sprawling ivy to offer some shade for the cattle. Meanwhile, a soft floor will mimic a natural environment and allow urine to soak through (to mitigate ammonia emissions). To allow the cows more freedom in their milking schedule, a team of robots will be on dairy duty, collecting an estimated 800 liters per day. The milk will then be processed on the floor below and sold locally.In its leisure time, a cow aboard the floating farm might plod around on the 1,200-square-foot platform, graze on locally sourced fodder, or feast its beady bovine eyes upon the harbor. “This cow will have a beautiful view of the port of Rotterdam,” says Minke. “The farm has three layers … and the cow is standing on top.” However, she points out, a heifer who’s tired of watching the waves can always trot down a ramp to access a small pasture on solid ground.Click here to read more about the floating farm in the Maas.