I woke up super early on a Saturday morning at Hotel Santika, Malang, Indonesia for a really interesting tour. I will be visiting the very farm that produces Greenfields Fresh Milk! Running a tight itinerary, we boarded our vehicle after a hearty hotel breakfast with Greenfields Fresh Milk for an hour drive to the Dairy Farm.
Most Singaporeans are probably not be familiar with Malang. Accessible via Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Malang is the second largest city in the East Java province of Indonesia. Home to almost 1 million, the city has an ancient history dating back to the Mataram Kingdom and was a popular destination for European residents during the period of Dutch colonization. The city is famous for its cool air and the beautiful natural landscape and it is said to be the “Paris of East Java” by people in the province. The ‘Paris of East Java part can’t really be seen in the main city area but it gets more and more obvious as the ride brings us closer to higher grounds.
The road up was pretty bumpy…
The good people at Greenfields were really thoughtful to prepare a comprehensive goodie bag for all of us. There were local snacks to keep us occupied in the car, mineral water and even fresh fruits to keep us healthy!
We bypassed a number of mini plantations and houses in construction on our way.
Our guide explained that Greenfields Dairy Farm is actually one of the key employers in the area. Local residents benefited from direct employment or through the provision of goods and services required by the farm. The construction of new houses shown that locals now enjoyed higher disposable income and standard of livings compared to the past when the farm has yet to commence operations.
After an hour of scenic drive, we arrived at Greenfields Dairy at Gunang Kawi, Desa Babadan!
To ensure high level of decontamination and sterilization, all of us have to put on boots and
be sprayed with disinfectant solutions.
Cannot resist taking a photo with Catherine (Camemberu) in our boots!
Once everyone was ready, Jan Vistisen, Head of Marketing and Sales, GreenFields Dairy gave us a quick introduction of the Dairy. Greenfields Dairy Farm is the largest in South-East Asia and home to over 6,000 of the finest quality Holstein cows since 1997. They have a strong belief that happy cows make great milk. Hence their cows are ethically treated and scientifically managed to produce an average of 20 million litres of fresh milk a year in the beautiful highlands of Malang. Heru Prabowo, Head of Unit, Dairy then did a quick run through of the day’s plan before bringing us out on the tour proper.
While walking to the cow holding area, we came across this lorry is carrying a huge load of King Grass – a popular feed for the cows.
As part of the effort to ‘Give Back’ to the local community, Greenfields is currently purchasing King Grass and Corn from local farmers. Greenfields also fund and train local farmers to rear and milk dairy cows. Milk from local farmers are used only for UHT Milk Production. The King Grass is then diced up into feed for the cows.
As you can see from the map, we have a pretty big area to cover. We also managed to take a glimpse of Greenfields Core Values for its employees but too bad I don’t understand Bahasa Indonesia.
One final sterilization before we get to meet the Stars of the Dairy Farm….
You must be wondering why the cows are kept confined instead of allowing them to graze freely on their own? Our guides explained to us that cows are subjected to unnecessary stress from the weather and availability of grazing turf if left to graze freely. Furthermore, free grazing require a huge area and there is only a short period which is either during early spring or end winter.
Hi Beautiful, is your name 20665? Oh really? It’s just a lucky guess.
Next, we went over to the Maternity Ward. Around 3000 calves were born on an annual basis. Cows at the Pre – Calfing Ward enjoy special treatment and feed. After birth, they are also given special post maternity handling.
Look at the huge bulge on the pregnant cow. She looks like she’s ready to pop any time!
These 2 calves are just out a few hours old! If we were here earlier, we could have witness the birth process.
Our guide explained that calves are separated 2 to 3 hrs after birth and are not allowed to drink the milk directly from their mom. They feed for 2 months on milk before moving to another 2 months of milk and grains mixture. Reason being cows have 4 stomach but only one of them is functioning during the initial 2 months hence the pure milk diet. The larger stomach start to develop only when grain is introduced.
By the 4th month, only grain is fed. On average, these calves growing at around 700 – 800 gram per day which adds up to around 21 Kg a month!
Given that only cows produce milk, majority of the birth has been artificially controlled to be female. Bred using USA bull semen that has undergone sexing process. The farm is able to ensure that 90% of the new born are female. Bulls do not produce milk hence they have little use in a dairy farm. They are usually sold away within 7 days. Poor ladies, no hot guys around.
So they usually just laze around and gossip among themselves after they had their fill.
Next, we were asked to visit to a different sector where cows get subjected to experiments. Sounds a little scary, am I supposed to expect mutated cows with 3 heads? Thankfully the gorgeous mountainous backdrop managed to cushion some of these thoughts.
What are all these giant fans about?!?!
Introducing the Cold Barn. Cows natural habitat is a lot cooler than the temperature at the Dairy in Malang. The Cold Barn is able to bring temperature down to around 4 degrees lower than the normal surrounding.
Check out the strong fan power!
These cow in ‘air-con’ condition are more comfortable with less heat stress.Hence they are able to produce around 6 – 8 litres more daily. Look at how happy they are feasting away in a nice air-con environment.
Overall positive gains have been seen but the dairy is still taking on a cautious stance and will continue the experiment further before implementing it full scale.
After a while, we realised that cows get restless and start to move in herds.
Where on earth are their herd mentality leading them to?
Find out in Part 2 of Greenfields Farm Tour.
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here