The Arsenić family from Kozarska Dubica modernises cow farm with the assistance of the EU

The Arsenić Farm from Kozarska Dubica, thanks to the support of the European Union, was among pioneers in Bosnia and Herzegovina in acquiring a modern tank for liquid manure. The tank will environmentally improve the fertility of the land surrounding the farm and increase milk production.

For the Arsenić family from the Johova settlement in Kozarska Dubica, every day starts with a tour of the farm with more than two hundred cows. Their job is to ensure successful production of quality fresh milk, which they distribute throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also to the countries of the European Union.

All family members, from the oldest to the youngest one, cherish the family business, lasting for more than five decades. The owner of the farm, Milorad Arsenić, who grew up on the farm raising cows, says that the farm has never stopped producing milk, ever since the seventies when his father and grandfather established it. Today, they successfully produce close to 2,700 litters of milk every day.

Admittedly, running a business is far from easy for Arsenić, but in his words, with the support of his family, professional staff and technological aids, production is much easier than it was years ago.

“When I took over the management of the farm back in the 90ies, it was already apparent that the days of new technologies were coming. It was then that I decided to go into more serious production, following the experiences and practices of working on farms in more developed countries,” said Arsenić.

This farmer from Kozarska Dubica, a machine and plant mechanic by occupation, believes that the key to the survival of his farm is in constant improvement. He, therefore, keeps abreast of modern technological development that can help him in production, and follows innovative ideas of farm management. Having realised that fertilising agricultural land on the farm is one of the main challenges he faces daily, Arsenić estimated that he needed a technologically advanced fertiliser tank.

“Our farm annually produces significant quantities of liquid fertiliser and we want to use it in the best possible way, while attending to the environment and environmental protection,”2 said Arsenić.

Thanks to the support of the European Union through the project European Union Support for Agricultural Competitiveness and Rural Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EU4AGRI), Arsenić managed to acquire a high-quality tank for liquid fertiliser with a volume of 24,400 litters and a value of over BAM 140,000. The European Union secured BAM 93,300, and the Arsenić Farm BAM 48,000.

“We got a tank that is far from ordinary – it is equipped with injectors applying liquid manure directly to the soil, so the manure does not come into contact with the air, and thus there are greater opportunities to use it, while environmental impacts are much more favourable. The new tank also has a much larger capacity than the one we used earlier on the farm,” said Arsenić.

The Arsenić Farm commissioned a new tank in March 2023, and the owners are already noticing positive impacts. As explained by farm staff, it takes much less time and energy to redirect fertiliser from the farm to the nearby agricultural land.

“The tank is more demanding to handle than the previous one given its feature of applying manure directly to the soil, but nevertheless we are very pleased with its performance. All the machines on the farm are modern and have a great impact, which makes our work a lot easier,” said Dejan Tica, a farm worker.

The farm owner, Dragana Arsenić, adds that the new tank for liquid fertiliser will improve the fertility of the agricultural land in the long run, which is expected to increase the yield on the farm. The farm will reduce fuel costs, increase nitrogen utilisation, reduce the need for artificial fertilisers, significantly reduce the burden on the environment and increase production efficiency.

“The modern technology of this tank injects manure into the soil at a depth of 15 to 20 centimetres, directly into the root zone of the plants, which increases the use of fertiliser by up to 95 percent. In this way, the life of the surrounding population is also improved, because after placing manure into the ground, there is no odour spreading far and beyond,” explained Arsenić.

One dairy cow on the Arsenić Farm produces an average of more than 8,000 litters of milk per year, while the farm manages to produce close to 900,000 litters of milk every year. Today, the farm has 226 cows, of which 103 are dairy cows. The Arsenić family plans to acquire another 80 cows and build a new facility on the farm with the support of the Republika Srpska Ministry of Agriculture.

“In the future, we plan to robotise milking and modernise farm management. We have eight employees and recently hired another one. We also hope for new employments in accordance with the capacity expansion. Apart from our family, today at least eight families live of this farm, aside numerous indirect collaborators whom we hire for seasonal work,” said Arsenić.

Milorad and Dragana Arsenić say that they succeeded thanks to their constant strive for good organisation, animal welfare, and steady work and modern training. This is how the Arsenić Farm became one of the leading suppliers of raw milk in Republika Srpska.

EU4AGRI project is a four-year initiative (2020-2024) aimed to modernise the agri-food sector, opening new and retaining existing jobs, and supporting recovery from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus in Bosnia and Herzegovina.