Company strategy focuses on special feed and milking robots

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ForFarmers provides farmers with brand-independent advice on milking robots.
Foto: Lely
ForFarmers provides farmers with brand-independent advice on milking robots.

The challenges facing future livestock farming in this country are great. The feed producer wants to expand its market position in Germany. Its own sustainability strategy is intended to support this.

The situation for German livestock farmers is currently very tense, particularly with regard to pig farming. On the one hand, there is overproduction in the market, caused among other things by the Covid 19 measures and by African swine fever (ASF). The result is market prices that are at rock bottom, while at the same time prices for raw materials have risen sharply. On the other hand, society is demanding more sustainability and higher animal welfare from German farmers. The increasingly stringent legal requirements for livestock farmers require investments that not all farmers in Germany can afford.

Shaping the future of agriculture

However, ForFarmers also sees many opportunities for the agricultural sector in this change. The company is convinced that modern agriculture in Germany is a sustainable and innovation-oriented industry that produces and supplies high-quality food. Sustainability is one of ForFarmers' core values. The feed company has therefore determined its own sustainability strategy under the name "Going Circular," which, for example, envisages 100 percent responsible sourcing of soy and palm oil by 2025. The use of by-products is also to be made even more consciously. These include raw materials that result from the production of food and cannot be used for human consumption. These so-called non-food materials, which could rapidly become a burden on the environment as a result of the increasing demand for food from our rapidly growing world population, are fully absorbed by farm animals while being upgraded to high-quality protein.

In addition, ForFarmers uses experience and knowledge to help farmers become even more sustainable. To do this, the company's feeding consultants work side by side with farmers to improve feed conversion and animal welfare on farms. Possible measures involve husbandry, management and feeding and vary depending on the farm situation. Ultimately, only the farmer himself can decide. The company acts as a sparring partner.

In addition to advice and technical aids, ForFarmers sees its central research department as playing an important role. Here, for example, the focus is on even more efficient use of certain raw materials such as phosphorus and nitrogen, which is supported by intelligent feed solutions. The company also develops and uses innovative additives that have a positive effect on the digestibility as well as the intestinal health and well-being of farm animals. Together with partners, ForFarmers is also working on the development of alternative protein sources.

Serving specific market segments

The company intends to expand its position in Germany through organic growth and acquisitions. There are specific market segments that are seen as growth areas. These include the sale of specialties for young animals and for specific life cycle stages of cattle, pigs and poultry. the company also offers advice from its piglet specialists.  For example, ForFarmers has recently further optimized its 'VIDA piglet feed concept', thus consistently focusing on the production of high-quality and healthy piglets in Germany. The composition of the feeds in the VIDA range is based on the latest intensive practical trials by ForFarmers' research department. In addition to offering an individual feed program Large dairy farms with automatic milking systems are also seen as a future growth area with potential.

The number of milking robots continues to rise sharply in Germany as well. ForFarmers responded to this development and the concerns of this group of dairy cow farmers many years ago with specialized consulting services, in order to be able to support them not only in questions of keeping their dairy cows healthy, but also in all aspects of animal nutrition and robot adjustment. ForFarmers is in close contact with the various suppliers of milking robots and advises farmers independently of the brand. From the company's point of view, this is particularly important for the entry of interested customers.

Furthermore, the internationally active company ensures through constant training that its robot specialists have special knowledge of all robot brands and can evaluate the data and change the settings for all systems with the help of its unique robot analysis program. This can especially benefit farmers who already milk automatically and want to optimize their herd performance. By linking feeding and animal health with the data from the milking robot, even seasoned robotic milkers can improve their performance. This idea of all-around support is to be reflected by the company's new campaign, "Always Robot Ready with ForFarmers."

Nicole Wiegmann,
ForFarmers, Vechta-Langförden