A major reduction in lameness and a big increase in cow comfort – it’s a good news dairying story straight out of the Waitaki Valley.
Kaimanawa Farms owner Daniel Bishop has witnessed first-hand what happens to pastures during prolonged periods of wet weather. Originally from the North Island, Daniel spent time working on the family farm on the Hauraki Plains where rain levels are high and paddocks often muddy. He had grown used to standing off cows for extended periods of time to save waterlogged pastures.
Unfortunately, the farm lacked a decent stand-off pad. And the concrete feed pad Daniel and his father Wayne were using instead, wasn’t fit for purpose. Leaving cows on the concrete feedpad for too long was causing hoof problems.
As Daniel puts it, “We were standing cows off for long periods of time and concrete was just too hard on them. We were getting a lot of lame cows from the concrete.”
Daniel Bishop, Kaimanawa Farms, Kurow
In search of a solution, Daniel and Wayne had tried a couple of different options – namely post peelings and cheap rubber matting – but these solutions proved expensive as they didn’t last long and required constant replacement.
It was through a family friend that Daniel first found out about Numat matting. Their friend had laid Numat rubber two years prior and it still looked like new. The promise of a proven surface with a 10-year guarantee was compelling. They purchased and installed Numat’s Kura matting on their feed pad in the following month.
The results were immediate and overwhelmingly positive – a significant reduction in lame cow numbers and the welcome benefit of being able to stand off cows for longer periods of time.
“We put down the rubber and it reduced the lameness big time. The cows were so much more comfortable and we could put them on for longer periods of time.”
When Daniel and his family moved to Kurow to start Kaimamawa Farms, he took what he’d learnt in the Waikato with him, installing Kura matting on the farm’s yards, entry / exit, and 60 bale rotary almost straight away.
Daniel say he likes the way the mats lock together and stay in place. But most importantly he likes the matting’s durability. “This stuff we’ve got here is 4 years old and you wouldn’t think it’s more than a month old. It’s certainly very durable.”
Another added benefit of the rubber matting is the reduction in cows slipping in the yard and around the shed. “It’s helping out big time. We’ve put it also on our platform and it’s helped out with slippage of the cows. We used to have a couple quite badly injure themselves. So, we’ve put the rubber down and it’s eliminated that problem completely. We don’t have any cows drop down at all.”
Overall, the matting has been a major win for the farm – and its four hoofed residents. “They’re more content coming on the bales. There’s less kicking. They’re just so much more content.”
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