Paysan Breton farmers
Who are they?
Paysan Breton dairy farmers are first and foremost men and women who are passionate about their profession. There are 7,000 of them who every day produce the milk that goes into our products.
Paysan Breton farmers belong to cooperatives. In a cooperative system there are no shareholders, just members who own and manage the Cooperative. The farmer members are involved in any important decision-making.
Dairy farming is a highly complex activity: herd and calving management, calculating feed rations, animal health and well-being, farm logistics and administration, etc. Dairy farmers need to know all about running a company. The cooperative helps them in all of these domains.
Being a dairy farmer is more than just a profession, it's a way of life.
Paysan Breton farms:
3,560 farms produce the milk for Paysan Breton, which means there are two dairy farmers on each farm on average. The farms are family-run and their skills are passed down from generation to generation.
All of the farms are in Brittany and Pays de la Loire, two milk-producing regions that have an ideal climate for this type of farming. Brittany is actually the most important milk-producing region in France.
Paysan Breton dairy farmers and their cows:
There are 65 dairy cows per farm on average.
They are mostly Prim'Holstein, the main French dairy cow breed, which are particularly found in Brittany. They are easily recognisable thanks to their black and white coats. However no two are alike, as each has its own markings, a bit like our fingerprints. Some of our farmers also breed Normande and Montbéliarde cattle.
As well as the dairy cows there are also calves and heifers on the farm. From the time that they are born up until the end of their milk-production life, which lasts about six years, the farmers take care of their animals every day to ensure their health and well-being. They look after the cows in calf and assist in calving. There is a real bond between them. The farmers recognise each one of their cows and give them all names.
A day in the life of a dairy farmer:
Cows don't know what weekends or public holidays are. Dairy farmers work every day of the week, milking, feeding and taking care of their cows. If the cows aren't happy and in good health then the milk will suffer.
6:00 am :
Dairy farmers get up very early. The milking room needs to be prepared and depending on the time of the year the cows need to be brought in from the field or taken out of their barn.
7:00 am :
It's time for the morning milking. It takes about an hour to milk 65 cows. This is also a good time to check that the herd is in good health. After each milking session the room is thoroughly cleaned.
9:00 am :
It's feeding time for the cows.
- Between March and October the cows are taken to the fields, where they graze fresh grass for about six to seven months of the year. In the spring and autumn they are kept in barns overnight.
- In the winter they are kept in the warmth and comfort of their barns. They need to be given a balanced diet: hay, silage, corn, beetroot, etc.
11:00 am :
The calves and heifers also need to be fed, and require extra special care and attention.
3:00 pm :
The farmers take care of their farms in the afternoon. They clean around the farm and work in the fields to grow quality fodder for their cows (grass, corn and hay). They also have to do any paperwork related to the management of their business as well as meeting with their technicians and suppliers.
5:00 pm :
Every two to three days the cooperative collects the farmers' milk. Collection time is different for each farm.
7:00 pm :
A farmer's day rarely finishes before 7:00 pm, after the evening milking.