VanDrie Group strengthening innovation with opening of research centre
Drieveld highlighting family-run company's development drive
The VanDrie Group is expanding its innovation capacity with a brand new 'Drieveld' research centre in Uddel, Gelderland. The purpose of this research centre is to help the VanDrie Group's Research & Development (R&D) department drive development in the chain. "A place where there is room for research, cooperation and open dialogue", says Marijke Everts (Director Corporate Affairs).
At the head of the R&D team is Wiebe Mulder, who together with eight colleagues will use the state-of-the-art research facility on a daily basis. The testing of feed concepts forms the bulk of R&D efforts. Mulder: “Drieveld has a stable so that we can test new feed concepts directly in practice. In doing so, we seek answers to very practical questions. For example, how can nutrition contribute to better animal health or animal welfare? How can we contribute to lower nitrogen, methane and ammonia emissions from animal husbandry with a different feed composition? At the same time, we are engaged in longer-term fundamental research. For example, raw materials that will eventually no longer be available and for which alternatives will need to be found. Or the potential influence of feed on the prevention of pathogens [disease-causing agents] in the chain. To this end, we work a lot with suppliers and customers, but also with other research institutions.”
In Drieveld, scientific insights are being translated into practice. The research centre has 1,064 spots for calves that are divided into five departments. Two sections have been specially equipped for research on breeding calves (calves suitable for dairy farming) and three sections for calves destined for the veal sector. In this way, the company also wants to bridge the gap between dairy farming and calf husbandry.
Everts: "We believe in a resilient future for Dutch livestock farming. We're not only looking at the veal sector, but also at dairy farming, as this is the basis for a healthy calf." Wiebe Mulder continues: "We have deliberately chosen to research both sectors in Drieveld. With a view to the future, cooperation with dairy farming and the mutual exchange of knowledge and data is essential. Healthy, robust animals are in all our interests." He continues: "Through our subsidiaries Alpuro Breeding, Brons and Schils we are in contact with dairy farmers. Our colleagues there can quickly share the knowledge and experience we develop in Drieveld with their customers. This is how we can make a valuable impact."
Marijke Everts: "We are facing major challenges. We are well aware that we need to keep innovating to stand out from the crowd and face up to challenges. Drieveld will be the connecting factor bringing parties together so that we can accelerate the transfer of knowledge. By combining the spirit of yesterday with the innovative power of today, Drieveld is creating the foundation for the future success of the VanDrie Group."