In the east of Austria, there is a small-scale, organic dairy cattle farm where four generations of the same family of farmers live together. It is one of the farms that supply Yarrah the organic beef (in this case heart, liver and lungs) for its dog and cat food. Quality manager Arthur paid a visit to see how they operate with his own eyes.
In Austria, you’ll find a lot of small-scale farms with cows. At the time of Arthur’s visit, this particular farm was home to 20 dairy cows and 11 calves of the Fleckvieh breed. Each cow has 1.8 hectares of pasture at its disposal where they will graze at least 180 days a year. The pasture offers more than grass alone: there is a diversity of trees, shrubs and herbs. All the food for the cows is sourced from their own land.
Fleckvieh cows are double-purpose cows: they stay on the farm for around 8 to 9 nine years are dairy cattle. Then they are slaughtered for the meat. Because the cows aren’t just bred for their milk, they are more resilient and healthier which is great for the farmer. It limits the veterinary bill. The slaughterhouse is located at a mere 20-minute drive from the farm. This limits the amount of time they spend in transportation which mitigates the amount of stress.
The family income doesn’t rely on the cows alone. They also have fish ponds and a bed & breakfast where people can spend the night. The farm also has a social function. Schools visit on a regular basis during weekdays to teach the children about how a farm business operates, what activities are involved, what a cow looks like, where the milk comes from, etc. The cows clearly get their fair share of attention. Normally cows tend to be shy of people, but these ones stay put and will even allow a friendly pat on the head!