Clear roof shelter helps cut mastitis levels

04 Aug, 2016 11:16 AM
Comments
0
 
Simon Rea in the clear-roof shelter on his property at Panmure in south-western Victoria.
We’re doing a cost and nutrient benefit analysis for using the bedding to fertilise the farm.
Simon Rea in the clear-roof shelter on his property at Panmure in south-western Victoria.

Australia’s first clear-roofed deep-litter cow shelter has proven its worth during its first year of operation, helping a south-west Victorian dairy farm to better pasture, production and cow health outcomes.

The 48.6x81m shelter built on Simon and Pep Rea’s Panmure farm by Dairy Shelters Australia, has eased pressure on pastures during a wet winter, improved feeding efficiency and led to reduced mastitis and lameness in the herd.

Dairyfarmers can see the shelter and its positive results first hand at an open day on Tuesday, August 9.

Mr Rea said the shelter had proved its worth in the wet conditions.

“Since the start of May we’ve had cattle in there the whole time; it’s been under more pressure than anticipated but it’s holding up very well,” he said.

“There were 500 in there last night when the weather was really bad, it’s much better for cow comfort.”

The shelter allowed the Reas to develop a good wedge of home-grown feed and improve feeding efficiency with use of a feedpad.

“We’ve been reducing our stocking rates on paddocks, particularly on wet days,” Mr Rea said.

“That has meant improved pasture cover and reduced pugging in the paddocks.”

The shelter has led to positive health outcomes for the cows.

Mr Rea has seen fewer cows with lameness and the farm’s mastitis levels have improved significantly, with an average Bulk Milk Cell Count BMCC reading of 83,000 for July compared with 97,000 for the same time last year.

The June BMCC differential was even more pronounced, reducing from 132,000 in 2015 to 91,000 this year, and there was a similar drop from 135,000 to 105,000 in the May comparison.

“That’s the best we’ve achieved,” Mr Rea said.

The farm’s production was up 5 per cent for 2015-16, a good result considering the difficult seasonal conditions, and so far this it’s up a further 10 per cent in July.

“I made a decision in late autumn not to push ahead with extra cow numbers this season because of the seasonal and industry outlook,” Mr Rea said.

“The system allowed us to be flexible and still keep up production, but when things turn around we’ll be able to increase our stocking rate.”

The shelter has been used by dry cows and milkers and also for calf rearing.

The results of a nutrient analysis of bedding in the shelter will be available at the open day.

“We’re doing a cost and nutrient benefit analysis for using the bedding to fertilise the farm,” Mr Rea said.

“There are a lot of nutrients tied up in the bedding and when it comes time to replace it we hope it will fertilise the farm on a cost-neutral basis with the new woodchips replacing paid fertiliser.”

A demonstration at the open day will show the release of heat when the bedding is turned.

“It’s heating up and seems to be sterilising itself; we’re more than happy with the way it’s going,” Mr Rea said.

Mr Rea said the shelter would be invaluable for farmers struggling with wet conditions across southern Australia.

“It’s become a multi-purpose venue for us and we’re finding new ways to use it all the time.”

Mr and Mrs Rea joined with local vet David Colson and his wife Sue-Ellen to launch Dairy Shelters Australia which is customising New Zealand-made Redpath clear-roofed, deep-litter shelters for the Australian dairy industry.

They are made from a flexible polythene membrane and the deep woodchip floor can be easily cleaned using a simple scarifying process.

The shelters can be built at any size to meet farmer needs.

They also feature vents and retractable sun shades to protect cows during heatwaves.

Cows can move freely and feeding can be arranged under the cover or nearby.

Dairy Shelters Australia will host the open day at the Rea farm at 89 Naringal-Panmure Road, Panmure, Vic, on Tuesday, August 9 from 11am.

Lunch will be provided and people can RSVP by contacting info@dairysheltersaustralia.com .au or 0427 676343.

More information can be found at www.dairysheltersaustralia.com.auwww.dairysheltersaustralia.com.au or http://www.google.com.au.

Page:
1

POST A COMMENT


Screen name *
Email address *
Remember me?
Comment *
 
Australian dairyfarmers are missing out on the opportunity for more profit by not better managing their home-grown feedbase, according to Gardiner Dairy Foundation chair Dr Bruce Kefford.
24 Mar 17 Australian dairyfarmers are missing out on the opportunity for more profit by not better managing their home-grown...
Rick Blackshaw was rightly proud of his oats crop, as he let his dairy herd into the paddock for their first grazing at the end of April last year. 
27 Feb 17 Rick Blackshaw was rightly proud of his oats crop, as he let his dairy herd into the paddock for their first grazing...
light grey arrow
Hi Mike What a ignorant example of multinational company,s point of view. Which company do you
light grey arrow
Our company, ABM Metal Detectors P/L is currently looking into designing a new type of metal
light grey arrow
"Aldi brags on its website that the majority of its brands are sourced from Australian
A New Zealand dairy farm and a milking contractor have been fined $29,000 each for letting dairy effluent accumulate on a paddock, which risked contaminating groundwater.
14 Mar 17 A New Zealand dairy farm and a milking contractor have been fined $29,000 each for letting dairy effluent accumulate...
DAIRYING in the subtropics at Dobies Bight, NSW, Wayne and Paul Clarke know too well the importance of keeping cows comfortable in hot and humid weather.

06 Jan 17 DAIRYING in the subtropics at Dobies Bight, NSW, Wayne and Paul Clarke know too well the importance of keeping cows...
Australian farm chemical manufacturer Nufarm has repaired its balance sheet and is now hunting for acquisition opportunities.25 Sep 16 Australian farm chemical manufacturer Nufarm has repaired its balance sheet and is now hunting for acquisition...
Monopoly market may confront cropping sector under mega-merger proposal.22 Sep 16 Monopoly market may confront cropping sector under mega-merger proposal.