FreeWalk – an innovative way to keep dairy cows

Last changed: 17 August 2017

In this European project we will study animal health and welfare, milk quality, environmental impacts etc in farms that use compost pack bedding and “cow gardens” in their barns for dairy cows.

The compost pack bedding barn has a completely free walking and lying area, which typically consists of a convenient floor of (semi)composting materials that transforms waste materials into resources to be used as soil improver.

The cow garden has an artificial floor of several layers, separating urine and faeces, allowing flexible fertilization. Robotic cleaning of the artificial floor takes place, while garden elements are integrated in the housing. The housing systems are called the Free Walk Farming housing (FWF).

We hypothesize that the FWF system will be a breakthrough in friendly cattle farming, while improving the sustainability and future perspective of the sector as a whole; however, differences will be found between climatic regions.


Project period: 2017-06-01 - 2020-05-31

Financier: Formas and SusAn ERA-NET 


University of Ljubljana


University of Giessen

Università degli Studi di Firenze

National Agricultural and Food Centre

HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein