Brothers Jonathan and Kyle Price finish 400 cattle on their family farm, which is located on the western edge of Lisburn.
“We buy in quality Limousin and Charolais bullocks at around 500 kilos and take them through to slaughter weight over a period of six months,” Jonathan explained.
“Some of the cattle see grass but most are finished out of the house on a TMR containing grass silage, home grown barley and a proprietary blend.”
The brothers are working the year-round with heavy cattle and they have two key management requirements: the availability of excellent handling facilities and the provision of optimal comfort for the cattle while they are housed.
“And we have invested accordingly over the years,” Jonathan added.
The past months have seen the brothers install a new, bespoke handling facility at the main yard of the farm.
“We have also laid 350 square metres of Easyfix slat rubber on the most recently completed shed on the farm. All of the work was carried out by Teemore Engineering,” said Jonathan
Teemore’s Adrian Bates was a recent visitor to the Price farm. He confirmed that the new cattle handling facility was both designed and manufactured by the company.
“It features a circular collecting pen that will hold up to 30 mature cattle with ease. Also featured is a forcing gate with a unique one way operational mode when working with cattle. The gate cannot be pushed back by the cattle. This is a key safety feature.
“In fact the entire system was designed with the health and safety of both cattle and operator in mind. High quality plastic stock board was used throughout, so as to encourage the cattle move forward and to reduce the noise that would be normally be associated with animals hitting against metal posts and frames.
“The cattle leave the circular pen and walk up a straight race. It features exit gates within every section. This allows the operator easy access to an animal that might have gone down.”
Jonathan confirmed that the new system is performing well.
“We work regularly with the cattle. On arrival, they are clipped, wormed, fluked and weighed. The weighing is facilitated courtesy of a new crush and weighbridge, which is located at the bottom end of the recently installed handling facility.
“So we need facilities around the yard which allow us get on with the work in hand in a safe and effective manner.”
Jonathan said that the most recent investment in Easyfix rubber means that all the slatted areas on the farm are now fir for purpose, from an animal comfort perspective.
He added: “Cattle arriving at the farm are kept in straw bedded pens for three weeks to allow them acclimatise to their new surroundings. After that, they are moved into slatted pens covered with Easyfix rubber.
“We have been using the Easyfix option for the past ten years. It delivers the level of comfort we need and is extremely durable. Cattle genuinely thrive with the level of extra comfort provided. We are in a position to directly compare the effect of straw bedding and the slat rubber on the farm. And there is no difference from a daily liveweight gain point of view. The only practical difference is the extra workload entailed when it comes to cleaning pout the straw bedded pens.”
For further information, contact Teemore Engineering on: (028) 6774 8377.