South of Stenungsund, Anrås Gård is run, so far as a leasehold, by Pontus and Mathilda Sandén. The milking parlour, with a tied-up system of short stalls and tube milking, was rebuilt after a fire in 1994 and has room for 55 yearling cows and recruitment. On a nearby farm that the couple also leases, there is a stable with room for 120 bulls that are raised for slaughter. These are partly the farm's own dairy bulls and partly bulls that are bought half a year old in the autumn and sent for slaughter about a year later.
"A far too big investment"
- "It's really too big an investment," says Pontus and laughs. The current situation, with higher interest rates and a milk price that has fallen significantly over the past six months, has slowed down the project. "We have to wait for a more stable milk price and a change in interest rate policy. Originally, construction was to start in spring 2024. Now it may be autumn 2024 instead, and then we can't wait any longer.
Plans for an expansion began to emerge about three years ago. In the spring of 2022, Pontus and Mathilda started planning in earnest by contacting contractors, calculating budgets and visiting other dairy farmers who had built new farms.
- The best question you can ask others is: "What would you not have done?". After these visits, we have changed some small things that we might not have thought of otherwise," says Pontus.
The couple farm 280 hectares, of which 20 hectares are natural pastures, 100 hectares of grassland and 160 hectares of cereal crops with autumn wheat, oats and barley. Most of the grain is used to feed cows and bulls. In recent years, the company has grown by about 40 hectares per year, and when the number of dairy cows doubles, the area naturally needs to be larger.
New machines from a reliable brand
The lease period lasts until the end of 2023/2024, when the Sandén couple buy the farm and have the opportunity to carry out their planned expansion. The farm's current owner has close ties to the family and Pontus's father has worked on the farm, just as Pontus himself began to do when the owner became ill and needed help. He bought the cows in 2014. At the beginning of the lease period, he hired almost all the services, but now the situation is reversed.
- "Now I do a lot of contracting for others, some spraying but mainly mowing and round baling in the summer. I started by buying used machines, but after a while it became as much screwing as driving.
We made the decision to replace the machines and invest in new, reliable and a brand that has a wide range so you don't have to deal with several different workshops," says Pontus.
The choice fell on Kverneland and the dealer Andrésen Maskin in Uddevalla.
- "Kverneland is known for high quality, I had heard that people were satisfied with the brand and that it worked well, so I simply went for it. I had a towed mower from Kverneland that I was happy with, then bought a second-hand butterfly and exchanged it for the one I have now. The sprayer, fertiliser spreader and harrow I bought at the same time and the plough in between. Over a period of two or three years, I changed most things and invested in new ones from Kverneland," he says.
Same terminal for several machines
The fact that Pontus has many machines from Kverneland means that he can use the same screen in the tractor and has only had to learn one interface. All machines are ISOBUS compatible, which he says is a great advantage. He runs the sprayer and harrow with a John Deere 6155, while a John Deere 7280 runs in front of the mower and plough.
- "The sprayer, spreader and mower are all on the same screen, and you have GPS and controls all together. It is easy to drive, even if you are tired," he says with a smile.
He is satisfied with the contact with the dealer, Andrésen Maskin in Uddevalla, and he also praises Kverneland's own support, which he has had some help from.
- "They were here when we started up the machines and helped with settings and so on. It's nice that you can ask questions with someone who is an expert on Kverneland, then you get the answers directly. We haven't needed any spare parts, apart from some points for the plough. It has gone well," says Pontus.