Qatar: Baladna, the farm with 20,000 cows

5 June 2018

The Baladna farm is located about sixty kilometers north of Doha, the capital of Qatar. To access it, you have to take a long and impeccable straight road through a desert landscape. On the way, this dessert is in full transformation. On the right, we can see one of the eight pitches of the 2022 World Cup, the future Al Beit Stadium, being built at great speed. Here and there, more curiously, there are corners of greenery. These are greenhouses, which have emerged from the landscape for a year. They shelter fruits and vegetables, cultures a priori not very compatible with the climate of the Arabian peninsula. With a rainfall of fewer than 100 millimeters of water a year and a temperature of 45 degrees in the summer, Qatar offers a show of end of the world … and excessiveness. A little further, the dairy farm Baladna covers 240 hectares. It’s a big portrait of the emir,

It’s a sweltering heat that morning. 42 degrees in the shade. How do cows survive in such an environment? “You will quickly understand,” smiles Mark Denes Somogyi, marketing director of the farm, in charge of the tour. Direction “Farm 2”, the extension of the first farm, built in a few months. Here, we move into a minivan. Before entering each place, hygiene measures are carefully applied. Vehicles are cleaned with water and authorized persons must cover themselves from head to toe with protective clothing. Youssef Burucu, the manager, is waiting for us. Inside, the noise is deafening. Water pumped directly from the ground, sprinkles cows 24 hours a day. “Cows have a very limited capacity for perspiration. So l’ water allows them to stay at a cool temperature, Youssef explains. Here, we must manage nature and the climate. The farm, still under construction, aims to accommodate 20,000 cows.

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