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HomeDairyFarmer goes down on-farm processing plant route instead of expansion
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farmer goes down on-farm processing plant route instead of expansion

Installing a mini dairy factory, Lely Orbiter, has increased the value of the Rotgans family farm’s milk in Hippolytushoef, the Netherlands.

Reijer is the fourth farmer to process milk via the automatic dairy processor. Using the ‘Mijn Melk’ (My Milk) label, he now distributes dairy products straight from the farm to supermarkets and consumers.

Lely Orbiter

Reijer is serving the growing consumer demand for local products.

He says innovation is key to future-proof the business: “Being a farmer involves much more than just milking cows.”

“You need to have an entrepreneurial mindset. The sector has plenty of unexplored potential. Nowadays, growth no longer lies in market expansion, but mainly in adding value by extra activities.”

This is exactly what the Rotgans family has found in the Lely Orbiter.

Sustainable farming

Sustainable farming is the starting point for everything the Rotgans do. They built a new cow house in 2014, which offers improved cow comfort and reduces the environmental impact of the business.

Cows move freely in the barn. Besides, for at least 120 days per year, six hours a day, they can go outside and return to be milked whenever they choose.

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Milk is bottled within 24 hours and is distributed straight from the farm to the supermarket.

Mijn Melk initiative

Reijer Rotgans’s dairy products are sold under the ‘Mijn Melk’ label: milk distributed straight from the farm.

Farmers affiliated with ‘Mijn Melk’ process the milk on the farm independently, thanks to the Lely Orbiter. The ‘Mijn Melk’ farmers prefer a short, transparent food chain.

Consumers always know the milk’s origin, down to details about the date and time the cow was milked and the milk was bottled.

Straight from the farm

The Lely Orbiter is an advanced mini dairy factory and directly linked to the Lely Astronaut.

Lely claims that its aim of making local milk available to consumers, straight from the farm, has been “well-received”.

“Consumers increasingly prefer small brands and natural, unprocessed and local products.

The Rotgans family’s dairy products are pure and supplied straight from the farm: perfectly in line with the demands and expectations of consumers and retailers.”


Furthermore, dairy products ‘straight from the farm’ are now available in more than 1,000 supermarkets throughout the Netherlands.

In the near future, Lely will further increase the distribution and number of affiliated dairy farmers.

After introducing cream and semi-skimmed Jersey milk, containing naturally 30% more protein, Lely expects to expand the Orbiter’s production capabilities in the short term.

The firm said that this will enable dairy farmers to expand their product range further.

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