The HoliCow project

HoliCow was born from the observation of a dramatical decrease in the number of small and medium-sized dairy farms in our territories. This decrease is multifactorial. First, access to technologies is complicated for these farms because of the investment and time needed to understand them. This leads to economic losses and lower resilience of the animals and farms. A second reason for the decrease of farm number is the detrimental opinion of the general public. Indeed, agri-bashing is very common nowadays, discouraging farmers to continue their activities.

Evolution of the number of farms in the EU. Source: Eurostat

The HoliCow project is part of the Interreg NWE programme and is co-financed by the Walloon Region. It involves 12 partners from 6 countries (Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Ireland). Our goal: to counter the disappearance of small and medium size dairy farms by helping them to become more resilient thanks to the data collected by Milk Recording Organizations (MROs). The HoliCow project also aims to improve the reputation of these farms, which are too often the victims of “agri-bashing”.

To achieve these ambitious goals, an action plan has been established and will take place during the next three years.

The first phase consists in developing an easy-to-use tool designed for farmers thanks to the data collected by MROs, as well as the data coming from previous projects (e.g; HappyMoo). We want to allow farmers to see at a glance how their herd is doing in terms of heat stress, fertility, production, transformation, welfare and environmental impact. By collecting direct feedback from the users, a community database will also be created.

The second phase of the HoliCow project should allow us to create and perfect this tool in close collaboration with the breeders. An app and an intuitive community database are some considered ideas. Thanks to the help of pilot farms, these tools will be in tune with the reality of farmers.

During the final phase, we want to establish a real dialogue between farmers and citizens and to create a bond between the farms and their local communities thanks to a broad communication campaign. Activities such as open farm days will also be organized in order to bring closer the citizen and their local dairy farms.

Project Timeline: March 2023 - June 2026 

41% Development

The partners have already worked together on other projects and will continue to support dairy farmers from the North-West Europe region thanks to this new project. More generally, HoliCow is part of the Interreg NWE approach of building more resilient communities and of preserving our landscapes.

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