Opposition grows to 'biggest farm ever built in France'


It is known as the farm of a thousand cows. Work has begun to build a huge dairy farm in northern France that will produce up to 8.5 million litres of milk a year and run a methane power plant. Supporters of the intensive farming project say it is the most efficient way to farm given the level of Europe-wide competition and the low prices that smaller-scale dairy farmers get for their milk. Opponents – who staged a demonstration at the weekend - say it is bad for the environment and for local people. Jade Lindgaard reports on a clash of two farming cultures.

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Up to 1,000 cows kept under cover day and night, eating maize, soya and alfafa, each in the 10 square metres that will be its permanent home. A huge herd that will be milked three times a day, and produce up to 8.5 million litres of milk a year. While the slurry produced by the cows will be used to run the biggest methane power plant – 1.5 megawatts – yet built in France. A grotesque science fiction futuristic vision of the French countryside? Far from it; this is a detailed and current - if controversial - project to construct the biggest farm of its type ever built in France, deep in the countryside of Picardy, a northern region traditionally kown for its cereal crops, beetroot and beer.