Improved comfort helps pay dividends
THE Moore family – Alan and his sons Colin and Richard – milk 200 cows near Ballygawley in Co Tyrone.
For the past couple of years the herd has been confined 24/7, putting extreme importance on the provision of maximum comfort levels within the main slatted shed on the farm, which is the year-round home for the cows in the milking herd.
“Our aim is to breed robust cows with plenty of milk,” Alan confirmed.
“We decided to bring the cows in the year round because of the fragmented nature of the farm. This, in turn puts a strong emphasis on making high quality silage. We have managed to dodge the showers so far this year and already have two cuts in the pit.”
He continued: “Last year we decided to put 30 new cubicles into the main slatted house. We decided to go with the new Green Cubicles from EasyFix TM, as they offered the maximum levels of comfort for the cows. We then opted for the company’s cubicle matting system. The decision was also taken to put down EasyFix slat rubber adjacent to the feeding troughs. Cows stand in this part of the shed for lengthy periods of the day. So it made sense to give them that extra comfort and grip while they are on their feet.”
Alan concluded: “The new fittings were put in last November and we are delighted with the results achieved to date. The cows took to the new cubicles immediately: the mats are both comfortable and easy to clean while the slat rubber has definitely reduced the level of feet and leg problems in the house.”
EasyFix TM also supply a unique rubber matting system which, in tandem with the company’s slat rubber, can be used in a wide range of floor areas on all dairy farms. The company’s product range is a recognised market leader, providing a cost-effective solution that can increase yields and cuts costs. EasyFix products are manufactured from 100% natural rubber, come with a full five-year warranty, are manufactured to ISO9002 standards and are quality tested to the internationally-recognised DLG standards.
The matting provides a soft, comfortable, durable, non-slip walkway surface and can be used throughout the dairy.
Collecting yards; milking parlours; entries and exits to the dairy; passageway and walkways plus feed areas are all parts of the farm where feet problems can occur or where slips and falls are a distinct possibility.
EasyFix mats and slat rubber also provide an ideal solution for use in cow houses, covering concrete slatted floors and delivering well-recognised productivity and welfare benefits.
EasyFix CowSafe cubicles, which are green in colour, offer enhanced safety features because of their flexible nature. The bars making up the cubicle dividers will bend, thereby providing cows that little bit of additional space when lying down. The cubicle frame will come back to its initial shape and size once the cow stands up.
The current series of wet summers is forcing more and more local dairy farmers to seriously consider year round confinement, or keeping herds in at night throughout the grazing season, as the most feasible production options for their cows.
Ronan Boyle, from EasyFix, takes up the story: “The importance of investing in comfort, in relation to milk production, cannot be overestimated, particularly when a cow is lying down. In fact, the issue of maximising comfort levels is five times more significant for the recumbent animal than is the case while she is standing. A cow should be lying in a cubicle for at least fourteen hours per day in order to maximise milk output.
“The EasyFix foam mattress mat is one of the most comfortable cubicle mattress systems available. The system is available in two forms: a single foam mattress, with a 25mm latex memory foam insert; or a double foam mattress mat with a 50mm Latex Memory Foam insert. An interlocking Mechanism provides a seamless finish.”
He continued: “Comfortable cows are profitable cows, and through the use of the EasyFix Green CowSafe Cubicle and Mattress Mat, comfort is maximised, and health and welfare of cows is increased. This also means less vet bills and reduced replacement costs.”
Ronan concluded: “Dairy farmers across Northern Ireland who have invested in the complete EasyFix comfort range – that is: cubicles, mats and our rubber flooring systems – have found that they will generate a very fast return on their initial outlay.”
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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