Course Details - Milking to Potential

Designing sustainable and profitable dairy systems

The large variety in agroecosystems, socio-economic factors, and policies makes it impossible to develop a single model for dairy development. Therefore it is essential to understand the opportunities for dairy sector development as well as the limiting factors that could harm sustainability and profitability in the long term. During this course we will analyse the dairy sector at different levels, from animal to farm and up to country level. We will look at the challenges and opportunities the sector faces in your own situation. Moving beyond the technical realm, you will learn how to involve multiple stakeholders for inclusion of social, environmental, economic and political aspects

A mix of online lectures and group work

Would you like to better understand how to design dairy sector interventions, strategies or policies in your own context? The course will use a mix of online lectures, discussions and group work. We will challenge you to discover your own environment with new eyes. It will offer theoretical insights, as well as practical approaches for projects and programmes development. Lecturers from different disciplines will expose you to a broad range of domains, with examples referring to the global South as well as to the Dutch example. Videos of visits to local farms and interaction with various dairy stakeholders will give you opportunities for developing new ideas that you can transfer to your own real case during the group work exercise. The participants will exchange their own experiences and learn mutually from working actively together in various study groups. The programme is flexible to suit participants’ needs and the issues they raise. This will include many opportunities to expand networks and access literature as well as to learn up-to-date pedagogical methods.

Dairy opportunities and trade-off issues

During this course we will explore the opportunities and trade-offs of issues like:

  • Investing in the formal or the informal dairy chain?
  • Focus on dairy imports or local milk production?
  • Work with smallholders or with larger farms?
  • Improving the local herd or importing grade cattle?
  • Building inclusive dairy chain to the benefit of young and female individuals?
  • Producing milk in a natural resource (water, land) scarce environment ?
  • Can the potential of camels, buffalos, goats and sheep be better exploited?
  • How to better acknowledge food and nutrition challenges in dairy strategy?
  • Adding value to the product: Liquid milk or processing? Niche products or conventional?
  • How to create responsible value chains when it comes to milk quality and safety?
  • How to better coordinate dairy stakeholders to co-create concerted dairy strategy?

Why doing a course on Dairy Development with the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is a leading dairy country where the dairy industry is a key economic sector that is investing heavily in sustainability, quality and innovation. In continuous evolution, new challenges urge the Dutch system to evolve. You will be surprised to discover that the variety of the Dutch dairy farms not only include high-tech high-input farms with annual production of over 10 thousand litres of milk per cow. Farms questioning this model can also be found giving a large emphasis on their social and environmental impacts while focusing on the national market. You will also have the chance to meet various stakeholders operating in the dairy sector (veterinarians, cooperatives, laboratories, researchers, supermarket, consumers...). Their ability to collaborate together with the farmers, being a key success factor of the Dutch dairy sector of today and tomorrow.

Courses are currently online

Our courses are currently online and follow this format:

  • Pre-course assignments for you to get to know WCDI and for us to get to know your work environment and your expectations about the course;
      • Interactive plenary sessions where we share content, review assignments and facilitate exchanging experiences. During those interactive sessions we work with a number of online tools like Google Jamboard, Mural and Mentimeter;
  • Group work either online or offline where you with other participants address a specific question or do an assignment. Results of these assignments are also shared and discussed during online sessions;
      • Individual assignments where you will read literature, watch videos, and do exercises on your own. These assignments are an essential part of the learning and most of them count for getting the certificate. They are meant to introduce or deepen knowledge and make the link between theory and your own situation. These assignments are reviewed either by peers or facilitators.

In some, but not all courses we go on virtual field visits – showing you ‘live’ situations in the field, or with companies or organisations that we collaborate with. We offer coaching trajectories where we support you one-on-one or in small groups to review your individual learning paths in the course and help with any basic questions you may have.

Online platforms: Zoom and TalentLMS

Internet connection is important for the completion of the course. Not sure about the connection in your area? Send an e-mail about your situation.

We use Zoom as a facilitating platform for all our online courses. Our courses take place in general over a 6-8 week period to make the workload and time you spend online manageable.

Our online learning system is TalentLMS. Everything you need — our course programme, chatrooms, assignments, background information are in this system. TalentLMS is easy to operate, can also be accessed by your phone and has an on-and offline functionality. We even organise a technical check-in before the course starts, to test your facilities and get familiar with the tools.

Course planning and certificates

The course workload is approximately 16-20 hours a week (2-2.5 workdays).

The exact programme of your course will be available 2-3 weeks before the start of the course. If you’ve successfully completed your course we send you a digital certificate.

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