More confident approach to renovating the barn on the animals' terms
The Luoma farm in Kauhajoki, South Ostrobothnia, Finland has been actively studying online courses to support and develop their operations. Their dairy expansion goals and the resulting barn design project led them to a webinar organized by 4dBarn, which gave them tips on suitable online courses for their farm. "We have now taken a total of three really useful courses, one of which was this VIC course," says farmer Jaakko Luoma. For you who don’t know yet, a VIC is a Very Importat Cow i.e. a transition cow.
Luoma describes VIC as an important and relevant issue for their farm, which they want to focus on even more in the future.
"Issues related to cow welfare have been around for a long time and fortunately there is no sign of the trend slowing down, so it is important to keep up with the latest standards. We want to keep our animals in the best possible conditions and increase welfare throughout the production cycle."
The course ran in parallel with an ongoing farm retrofitting project. The aim is to create facilities that are fully in line with the VIC ideology.
"We have had some idea of the criteria from other farmers in the past, but the 4dBarn online course gave us a clear concrete idea. We gained a lot of new information, calculation models and real figures that allow us to calculate accurate measurements for different animal groups. Instead of guessing, we now have a clear idea of how to get a good VIC pens for our cows and avoid building unnecessary square metres,"
says a satisfied Luoma. As a result of the course, Luoma's farm will, for example, have a soft deep bedded pen with dimensions based on the online course's teachings.
E-learning is perfect for the everyday life of a farmer
All three managers and owners of the Luoma farm took part in the e-learning course, as they felt that it would be good for all of them to learn equally.
"It was a good idea to take the course together, as there was a lot to cover on the course and it could be difficult to report back to others in the same comprehensive way. The course also provided a good opportunity to discuss management practices and ways of working for the future,"
The online course was a perfect fit for busy entrepreneurs. In the case of Luoma's farm, the learning was mostly happening in the evening hours from the comfort of his home.
"Our goal is to have a once-a-week meeting, so it was easy to combine the the course with that. E-learning suited us perfectly, as our daily lives are a bit unpredictable and it is difficult to plan suitable study breaks. This is definitely a less stressful option as we can study at a time that suits us best."
It is also easier to learn because you don't have to absorb everything at once - you can go back to the material and review it again.
The Luoma family did not find any disadvantages compared to being physically present.
"I didn't feel like I was missing anything, even if I wasn't physically in the classroom. Of course, face-to-face courses will continue to have their place in the future. The 4dBarn experts made it easy to get more information and we were encouraged to do so from the start of the course. The course was so clearly laid out that there was really nothing left to guess,"
Luoma says of his experience.
Luoma's farm is always keen to learn more about topics that will improve their business. 4dBarn's course offerings have been tailored to their needs as they have been planning new construction and investments.
"The VIC course and other topics are certainly useful for those who do not have investment or big changes on their minds. For example, you will get a lot of tips on how to handle animals in existing facilities,"
Would you or managers of your farm be interested in learning more about facilities for VIC), for example? Find out more about our wide range of online courses: eAcademy eLearning Materials