Meth­ane cap­ture churns

Irish Independent - Farming - - Front Page -

A SHORT trip across the Ger­man bor­der into Aus­tria, again at the foothills of the Alps, we vis­ited dairy farm­ers and cheese­mak­ers Toni and Martha Fahringer.

Like so many farm dwellings in ru­ral Ger­many and Aus­tria, their house, cheese fac­tory and cat­tle were all un­der one roof, al­beit a very large roof.

When ren­o­vat­ing their cow shed two years ago, they de­cided to in­stall a bio­gas unit to sup­ply the heat re­quire­ments for the cheese­mak­ing process.

There are sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of cheese pro­duced by the Fahringer's, in to­tal amount­ing to a yearly pro­duc­tion of 8,000kg.

All the cheese is pro­duced from milk from their own cow herd. In to­tal, 35 Sim­men­tal cows yield 6,000 litres of milk each a year. They are fed on hay cut three times a year from the farm’s 25ha down in the val­ley.

The fam­ily also has 35ha on the slopes of the Alps, where in spring and sum­mer the cows graze these pas­tures. It is the grasses and herbs from these slopes that gives the milk and cheeses their dis­tinc­tive flavours.

De­spite hav­ing four stom­achs, cows can­not di­gest grass

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