The problem

I worry how much pugging damage we create during the wet.

“We are flat farm and rivers surrounding us, water table is an issue. Depending on how hard the winter is we would use about 20ha as sacrifice paddocks. For the first week of the cows being in there, it would be good. But then after a week of 300 cows going into that paddock you couldn’t drive a Ute round them, we still needed cows to go back into them at night, we were calving in those paddocks which isn’t ideal. It was bad for the cows, the stress on us as farmers and the staff and also the environment.

Our sacrifice paddocks were really bad for the cows, the stress on the staff and the environment – there is no future in this way of farming. ”

The Solution

We went and looked at farms with feed pads of 1000 cows, but they had a 300 cow sized feedpad which they rotated the cows with standing off in paddocks, but that wasn’t what we were after – we were after the area to stand them all off on for 6 weeks. With the system we have now we can reduce staff numbers and stress. It is a big capital cost but the savings in the future are on a large-scale over-all aspects. Wear and tear on our machinery, we have no feed waste, time is well spent, cows are happy, our environmental impact now is positive, and we are so proud with what we have done. Rivers surround us and right beside us is State Highway 1. As a food producer, this is something that we had to do, and we have done it well covering all animal, social and environmental aspects.

Problem Nitty Gritty

  • Standing off in paddocks isn’t good for the cows.

  • Calving cows in the mud is stressful on the cow and the staff.

  • Feed losses are huge.

  • The wear and tear of machinery in the winter to feed out.

  • You pay the price for pugging your paddocks.

  • Turn over paddock in March and can’t graze it until next July.

  • Limits production of grass for the whole season.

How we solved it & the outcome

  • Built a Herd Barn to standoff all our cows for 6 weeks.

  • Barn has rubber matting for cow comfort and safe calving.

  • Herd Barn is designed to accommodate 75000L of recycled water for floodwashing.

  • Floodwashed into a Weeping Wall size for our requirements.

  • Weeping Wall liquid is pumped back to pond or into floodwash tanks.

  • Barn is covered to reduce cow stress from the elements.

  • Simplified our whole system and reduced stress overall.