Integral Sustainable Compost Barns (IDV)

In response to the current societal demand for responsible business management and improved animal welfare, farmers in the Netherlands developed an innovative animal friendly barn. 

Full Project description EN PDF icon (509.72 KB)
Project summary: 

The common cattle housing concepts date back to the previous century and no longer apply to modern requirements for social, sustainable and responsible business practices. Today it is understood that cows need more space and a soft floor made of compost. These conditions allow the animals to behave more naturally.

The main goal of this project was to develop an animal friendly barn, where cows are healthier, have more space and less hoof problems. Dairy farmer Marc Havermans developed together with other companies a new natural housing system for dairy cows. The beneficiary experimenting himself as well. He commissioned a compost business to do a study to come up with the best possible compost features for the floor which he further developed. The upper part of the housing was developed in collaboration with a greenhouse construction company. The ventilation in traditional barns is also not sufficient. The high ceiling of the new barn is covered with transparent plastic foil which is a cheaper construction material than glass. Sun rays kill mould and germs. Pieces of cloth were hunged for shade so that the cows – just like in nature – can lie in the shade once the temperature exceeds 25 degrees. It is also known that cows don’t like strong wind. The cloth on the sides of the barn prevents the wind from reaching the barn. Under these new considions cows prefer to stay in the barn even in the summertime. The new type of barn is called "Integral Sustainable Loose Housing System (IDV-barn)". 


Project results: 

Benefits of the IDV barn are:

  • Cows are stronger, have better immune system and live longer. 
  • Lower use (and cost) of medication. Reduced use of antibiotics.  
  • Animal friendly, natural behaviour
  • Increase fertility rate 
  • Compost for better soil fertility