Saving Water

Project: 2020-1-CZ01-KA204-078269

Saving Water is an international project aimed to raise awareness of water consumption in agriculture and to find the best methods or technologies to improve efficiency in these sectors:

  • Saving water in livestock (Portugal)

  • Saving and keeping water in nature (Czech Republic)

  • Saving water in crop production (Bulgaria)

  • Using plant and animal residues and waste as an alternative source of energy (Spain)

Saving Water in livestock (Portugal)

Livestock is commonly defined as domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce labour and commodities such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool. Saving water in Livestock production plays an important role in Portugal.

The training programme will be focused on different methods used by various farmers and specialists to lower the consumptions of water on animal farms. It will also consist on topics such as usage and recycling of water in agriculture, using water for farm animals in welfare, way of education and consultancy, EU subsidies and taken governmental measures.

Prados de Melgaco (Goat farm)

As part of a project to exchange good experience and practice, we had the opportunity to visit an organic goat farm Prados de Melgaco. There are kept 240 female goats, 2 male goats and 1 donkey on this family farm. Goats are housed in the stable freely in various groups. Animal welfare is maximally ensured in the stable. According to the owner, a subsidy from the European Union was used to meet all the conditions for goat welfare. The hutchs are equipped with drinking water drinkers, scratchers and hay cribs. Into the trough, goats receive complete core feed in granular form, which is purchased from the production of feed mixtures in the area. Hay owners also buy from farmers on the border with Spain. Thus, all feed is provided from purchased sources. Mineral nutrition of goats is carried out in the form of mineral licks placed in each hutch. There are no grazing conditions in the given locality, and therefore the goats are closed in the stable all year round. Classical music plays from the speaker for more animal comfort. Thanks to the provision of clean bedding and a good climate in the stables, goats produce milk of a good quality without any negative odors that could pass into the milk if the environmental conditions are not met.

Milking of goats is performed on a modern parallel milking parlor for 2 x 10 goats, with 10 milking parlors common for both sides of milking. This milking parlor is from the DeLaval brand. To motivate goats to milk, grain is added to the milking parlor in the form of whole barley.

After milking, the milk is transferred to cooling tanks, from where it is pumped for processing to a farm dairy, where mainly French-type cheeses are produced. This dairy was built with the support of the European Union. Due to high hygiene rules, it was not possible to see the dairy physically. The process of milk processing in the dairy was performed in the form of a video, where it was possible to see the process of processing the milk produced. Subsequently, the cheeses produced were tasted. In addition to fresh cheese, we also tasted ripened cheeses that ripen for 30 days and cheeses flavored with spices and wine after 40 days of ripening.

The owner explained how she uses water resources on the farm. The goats are fed in the form of drinkers with drinking tap water. Utility (rain) water is used on the farm mainly for rinsing and cleaning in the milking parlor and stable and for irrigation of vineyards (drip irrigation), which line all the surroundings of the farm and dairy.

Quinta de Pregal (Livestock)

The last breeding visited was the QUINTA DE PREGAL farm, which deals with the breeding of Barroso beef cattle, kept in a clean line. The owner of this farm comes from an agricultural family. He studied agricultural school and after returning from studies in 2018, he decided to resume beef cattle breeding and meat production. This farmer farms only 10 hectares of land and despite this small volume of land is profitable.

The animals are found outside on the pasture all year round, where calves are also born. The feed base of the cattle is mainly pasture rich in herbs, followed by corn silage and hay grown only on their own land. Animal welfare is taken care of in breeding.

After fattening, the farmer has the young cuts slaughtered and sells the meat directly from the farm in 10 kg packages. Its customers are also more luxurious hotels.

When it comes to water and water management, surface water is used there. This water is cleaned of impurities with the help of plants and then led through a riverbed around the pasture. The water is of high quality despite the fact that it is surface. Cows go to drink in the riverbed, as it is the only available source of water for the herd. Despite the fact that it is surface water, thanks to these channels there is a continuous movement of water and thus the safety of water.

In Chrudimi, 19. 8. 2021

Work up: ing. Marie Janecká, PhD