Getting Intimate with Cows at Almarai Company’s Al Danah Farm in the “Milk Road”

Almarai Company (Almarai) never stop committing to its catchline: “Quality You Can Trust”. This is the reason why it embarked on providing the general public with free visits to its cow farms and processing plants in Al Kharj in the year 2013 as part of its whole new level of bringing intimate connection with the customers.

Our last visit (“Almarai’s Central Processing Plant In Al Kharj“) did not include any of the seven dairy farms: Al Hamra, Al Fanar, Al Nakheel, Al Rabiah, Al Badiah, Al Danah, and Todhia. Almarai is so gracious that we were given another chance to book a visit last 14 August 2016. Our gratitude to our colleague, Warren Rivera, for including me and my friends in the invite sent to Almarai’s Communications & PR Department two months prior to said date. (Booking is a bit of challenge due to the rising public demand especially during this time of the year and early summer.)

We had to check the bakery plant once again because the arranged visit included it as the first stop. The final one would be the Al Danah Farm, which is just a few kilometers away from Almarai’s Central Processing Plant (CPP) area.

We were all filled with so much anticipation and excitement as we were nearing the dairy farm’s gate. Finally, we were setting foot on one of Almarai’s seven dairy farms. How interesting it would be to see herd of cows in the desert. I had always thought cows are only a thing in the tropics where grass ideally thrives. It was difficult to picture farming them in a Saudi Arabian desert. Thank God for the booming dairy farms in the capital city that challenged the imagination of the concerned locals. According to what I read, there are more than 120,000 heads of cattle being raised in Al Kharj and 80 percent of the dairy products produced in Saudi Arabia comes from the area. Hence, the name “Milk Road”.

Almarai, of course, holds the highest number of the figures; it is the largest integrated dairy foods company in the world.

Before we entered the facility proper, we had to undergo disinfection at the gate. The bus that carried us had to be disinfected too through another form of disinfecting equipment a few meters away from the gate.

At about ten minutes, we were already seeing the cows peacefully resting in the sheds which the caretakers call “‘parlor”. The smell of sheds was what took my attention for a minute. It brought me back to my hometown in the Philippines where a number of cows graze in front of our house.

The smell is something not so, for lack of a better word to describe it, inviting because of huge milk vats mixed with cow dung on the grounds. Nevertheless, it was something that made me feel closer to home in a special way.

I am not a technical person when it comes to this kind of facility but one thing I observed, based on the the way the geezers run the operations of the farm, is that everything is closely monitored―from the cows’ identification system to how much milk they produce respectively, even the narration of how silage are being meticulously made…among other processes.

These thousands of cattle are all of Holstein breed. Logic and research tells me that is so because of their outstanding milk production. The entire herds produce an average of 13,000 liters a year.
A total of one hour and a half was spent at watching and photographing the cows, the parlors, and the milking house. We all went back onto the bus for a drive through the restaurant in CPP for our lunch. Then, after gorging our sacs and taking a bag of freebies, we were again back inside the bus to, this time, head home.
The trip was a great way to break the monotony of my travel trips. Funny how dairy farms in the desert emerged this big. Keeping cows in the middle of the kingdom’s barren lands is no easy task. Almarai never fails to impress the world with its innovative demonstration of relentless pursuit of providing quality dairy and food products everyone can trust.
For booking requests, please visit the Almarai website or click here to get straight to the page in the above screenshot.
(Location Map/DirectionExact/Complete Address: Almarai Al Fanar Dairy Farm, 10, Harad Road, Al Kharj 11942; Telephone No. +966-11-470-0005)
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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mabel Kwong says:

    Such a refreshing trip, Sony. I enjoyed the tour very much along with you. Very lucky that you managed to get a place again this time round, and it sounds like the place is a stickler for hygiene given all of you have to be disinfected before going in. But that is so good to hear of the dairy industry in Saudi – top notch.

    Wonderful shots you captured here and so many different angles. So crisp, so clear. Hopefully none of the cattle were disturbed by your troop. It sounded like everyone was happy and contented that day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      Because you inspire me, Mabel. And nothing feels better if you compliment the work. I’m so humbled.

      As for the cattle. I’m not really sure if we did a good job at not disturbing because I think they were…for about 15-20 minutes. That’s quite a torture for them and I realized that now.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ooooh, fresh milk! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sony Fugaban says:

      I wish I could let you both have a drink of that, Super Duo. Let me know if you get to Riyadh soon.

      Liked by 2 people

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