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Monday, 15 October 2012

Oct 14th Robots, Rubbish, & Rugby

Michel Pivard our Nuffield guide and host while in this part of France opened up his farm enterprises to us. Michel and his brother manage a diversified dairy business. As well as 60 dairy cows they have also developed a composting business to manage the surrounding towns green waste. The composting business is also complimented with a energy business, to provide a guaranteed income from the composting sheds even if they happen to lose the compost contracts at some time in the future. The energy business consists of a huge array of solar panels on the southern facing slope of the compost shed roves. Installed at a time when there were large subsidies for green energy, the system will pay for itself in 10 years, with well priced, 20 year contracts ensuring excellent profitability well into the future.

A machine recently bought by the business, & used to turn the compost piles. We all thought it looked like it would be great fun to drive

The 60 dairy cows are milked by a robotic milking machine. The cows can make their own way into the machine to be milked 24hrs of the day. It was pretty amazing to see it in operation, and takes the problems and costs associated with the labour required to normally milk cows.

After a wonderfull lunch organised by Michel & Domonique we had some free time in the afternoon, and took up Michels offer to join him at a local Division 2 Rugby game. It was a lot of fun, despite not really knowing much about rugby. The background view of the French Alps as we sat in the stands was fantastic.

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