Animal welfare a high priority
Innovative Design Improves Efficiency
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Ezi-flo pit gates completely clear exit ways and cannot be touched by cows leaving the milking area.
The fully galvanised gates are available in kitset for speedy installation
“The ﬁrst time I went to move the dry cows out of the shelter, I did what I normally did in the paddocks – opened the gate and took off down the race to open up the new paddock – expecting the herd to be right behind me – but there was no-one there – they were still in the HerdHome staying out of the rain.” Now the cows are allowed to amble between pasture and the shelter in their own time, but if the weather is very hot, cold, or wet, they are moved back inside once they’ve had enough pasture to eat and may stay off the paddocks for a maximum of 20 hours. Animal welfare is a high priority for Rex and Sharon. They gain satisfaction from farming happy, healthy cows.
Quality of life
“They pay you back 10-fold – it’s really a no-brainer. If any of our cows had to be sold and go to a conventional farm, I’d feel sorry for them because I think their quality of life would go down. Here they are free from heat stress in summer and the cold in the winter.” The Butterworths concentrate on prevention not cure; maintenance not repair, and housing the herds helps make that happen. Mastitis at calving time has halved largely due to udder cleanliness as the cows can be taken off the paddocks in
wet and muddy conditions. The Somatic Cell Count is currently sitting in the 90-120 range. The clear roof over the buildings allows sunlight through, killing light-sensitive bacteria and drying the ﬂoor.
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Shade sales are employed in summer to help keep the shelter cool; and Rex says not only is it cooler inside, thanks to their design, but the air is also constantly circulating. The system means lactation length is not as heavily inﬂuenced by cow condition, pasture cover or the weather. The HerdHomes Shelter have brought signiﬁcant animal welfare, environmental and ﬁnancial beneﬁts to the Butterworth Enterprises operations but careful and prudent ﬁnancial management and keeping a close eye on costs are also vital. So too is the roles of farm managers Vernon and Barbara. “Their contribution has been outstanding and we couldn’t be happier with their efforts. “They should be, and have every right to be, proud of what they have helped us achieve.” To ﬁnd out more about Butterworth Enterprises and the Dairy Business of the Year Awards, go to http://dboycomp.com See page 10 for DairyNZ comments on herd barns. Elaine Fisher
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Coast & Country News January 2016