‘Dairy cows really do prefer flexible cubicles’

Artigarvan milk producer Albert O'Neill with his cows resting up in EasyFix cubicles behind
Artigarvan milk producer Albert O'Neill with his cows resting up in EasyFix cubicles behind

Artigarvan dairy farmer Albert O’Neill milks 200 Montbeliarde cross Holstein cows with his brother, Wesley, and father, John.

The predominantly autumn calving herd is currently averaging 8,500L with good fat and protein levels. Given the strong emphasis on winter milk production, there is a strong focus on providing the cows with optimal comfort levels throughout the housing season.

A prime example of this was the decision taken by the family to invest in 46 Easyfix CowSafe cubicles as part of a farm development project back in 2015.

“It was one of the best decisions we have ever made,” said Albert.

“The cubicles provide the cows with the comfort they need. In fact there is almost a fight within the herd to get down to the new cubicles first after milking. So the cows, obviously, prefer the Easyfix option compared with the more traditional metal frame cubicles that we also have on the farm.”

Given the relatively large size of the cows within the herd, Albert opted for cubicle widths of 1,200mm.

“This would be slightly wider than a normal cubicle specification,” Albert confirmed.

“But we wanted to give the cows as much scope as possible. I can also confirm that not one cow has attempted to turn around in the new cubicles since their installation. This is further confirmation that they are totally fit-for-purpose.”

According to Easyfix, the CowSafe Cubicles represent a major step forward in allowing dairy farmers meet the comfort and welfare needs of their cows. They 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 frames will come back to its initial shape and size once the cow stands up. In addition, the cubicles offer better utilisation of space within sheds. They can also easily retro-fitted into an existing shed.