ZS „Bukas” receives bank financing for the reconstruction and automation of the dairy farm

May 31, 2021

The farm „Bukas” has received a loan from BlueOrange Bank in the amount of EUR 674,6 thousand, which will be used for the reconstruction of the cattle farm — the construction of the barn, as well as the purchase of modern dairy equipment, allowing full automation of the herd milking and feeding processes.

ZS „Bukas” is located in Dobele region with the territory of 138 hectares, and it operates under the management of the experienced farmer Arnis Kristapsons and his wife. Although they both have a different professional background and come from Riga, the couple has been running the dairy farm since 1993, and are drawing their business development ideas not only from farms throughout Latvia and neighbouring countries, but also in France, Denmark and Sweden.

Currently the farm holds around 100 heads of cattle, including 51 dairy cow. ZS „Bukas” operates two cattle sheds, a barn and a dairy house. With the realisation of the project, the number of dairy cows will increase to 80.

“The development of the agricultural and livestock farming sector plays a key role in facilitating the recovery of the country's economy, and it is therefore important to support farmers that responsibly and vigorously develop relatively small farms,” notes Marina Antonova, head of the BlueOrange Crediting Department.

As part of the ambitious reconstruction project, it is planned to renovate the barn and install a modern DeLaval milking robot, thus improving the comfort of dairy cows, which is the most important factor in increasing the milk yield. A forced ventilation system will be installed in the reconstructed barn, which will provide an optimal microclimate 365 days a year. The costs of these facilities amount to EUR 240,625 thousand. The reconstruction of the barn and the purchase of equipment will lead to significant improvements in animal welfare standards, as well as continuous monitoring of the health status of cattle, its hormonal fluctuations for insemination purposes and milk yield. The automated system in the barn will monitor free movement of livestock from berths to the feeding places at the same time controlling the milk quality indicators.

The building is constructed based on the so-called “warm shed” principle, by keeping the air temperature at a comfortable level of +10 degrees for the employees and following the livestock welfare standards. “Temperature fluctuations inherent to the cold season will be controlled by installing a thought-out warming of the building and a modern venting system. Optimal air temperature is essential not only for livestock welfare reasons but also for increasing the milk yield and reducing the total feed consumption of the herd. This, along with the other technical solutions, opens up the possibility for long-term development and optimisation of the farm,” Arnis Kristapsons explains.

After the reconstruction, which is scheduled to be completed by 1 October of this year, the new barn will hold 160 heads of cattle, including 80 dairy cows. The barn will be equipped with a milking robot providing for an automated process of milking and collecting milk for 24 hours a day. By adapting to natural daily rhythms of livestock it is planned to increase the milk yield from the current one tonne to two tonnes per day.

Dairy farming is the main activity of ZS „Bukas” and the production is currently mainly marketed in Lithuania, in cooperation with SIA “Piena partneri” and the Lithuanian company “Pieno Žvaigždes” — one of the largest groups of dairy companies in the neighbouring country.

The project for the reconstruction and modernisation of ZS „Bukas” is being implemented under the sub-measure “Support for investment in agricultural holdings” of the measure “Investment in material assets” of the “Rural Development Programme for Latvia for the years 2014-2020” of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and some of the funds invested will be recovered after the realisation of the project. BlueOrange Bank provides 100% financing for the project and the loan has been issued for 12 years.