On the 12th of May 2016, 18 students left to Perschiera del Garda in Italy with a subsidy from the University Fund Wageningen to study Italian dairy farms. The study trip was organised by students from the Cattle Breeding Association (RFS), a sub-association from the study association from Animal Sciences.
On the first day of their excursion, the students learned all about the famous Italian cheeses (Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano etc.). Here they learned about the special treatment of the cows that allows the farmers to put a special mark on their cheese. In collaboration with a breeding association, the students visited two large dairy farms. One of these farms was run by four families, where they took care of both meat and cheese production from their cows and pigs.
The next day the students got a tour at some farms by Lely; a producer of dairy-robots for cows. Here they learned that the special requirements for certain Italian cheeses were blocking the application of these robots. Additionally, the next day at a cheese factory they learned about which production processes made the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese this special, next to the required treatment of the cows. It was very interesting for students in animal sciences to broaden the knowledge they gained in their studies. The final visit of the study trip was to the university of Bologna, to experience what it feels like to be an Italian student in ‘Animal Production’.
All in all, the trip was of added value to the knowledge of students. Due to this trip, the students are acquainted with the uses and requirements playing a part in Italian dairy farming.