For many dairy farmers, rubber matting for their feed pad is a crucial investment. Interestingly, the price difference between the top-tier and the lower-end mats on the market is small – a mere $20 a square metre. With such a narrow price gap, understanding the value and cost dynamics becomes essential. This guide offers a comprehensive look into the factors influencing the cost of rubber matting for feed pads.
1. Factors That Increase Costs
a. Quality and Durability: The core of a mat’s value lies in its quality. High-end mats are made from the highest quality rubber, ensuring they withstand daily hoof-traffic for many years. These mats offer superior consistent comfort for cows, translating to better health and increased productivity. Top-quality mats will last 15-20 years, compared to low-quality ones that may only last a few years. So, while the initial outlay for these mats might be slightly higher, their longevity means you’ll be replacing them less frequently, offering long-term savings.
b. Freight and Logistics: Transportation is a noticeable chunk of the overall mat cost. Whether you’re buying a premium mat or a more budget-friendly one, freight costs remain consistent. This uniformity in freight costs further tightens the cost difference between varying-quality mats.
c. Design Complexity: Rubber mat designs, particularly their interlocking patterns, can influence installation and costs. Many mats in New Zealand have strict alignment patterns, making them challenging to fit at the edges of your installation where mats may be cut to fit. This specific alignment can lead to more wastage and longer installation times, increasing costs. In contrast, NumatAGRI’s “multi-flex” design allows any mat corner to connect seamlessly with another, reducing wastage and simplifying installation. This flexibility offers both time and cost savings.
2. Strategies to Reduce Costs
a. DIY Installation: One of the most effective cost-saving measures is handling the installation yourself. With a clear set of instructions, you can ensure the mats are laid out correctly. This DIY approach not only trims costs but also offers flexibility, allowing you to work at your convenience.
b. Innovative Mat Design: Innovation can lead to savings. As we mentioned earlier, NumatAGRI’s mats come with a unique “multi-flex” design. This means any corner of one mat can seamlessly lock with any corner of another mat. Such a feature drastically reduces waste, ensuring a snug fit and leading to a more cost-effective installation, especially in unconventional spaces.
3. Reasons for Slightly Higher Prices
a. Commitment to Excellence: Some companies, like NumatAGRI, prioritize producing top-quality mats. This dedication might result in a marginally higher price tag. However, the array of long-term benefits, from unmatched durability to unparalleled consistent cow comfort, offers an exceptional return on investment.
b. Value-Added Services: Price isn’t always about the product alone. Some companies might incorporate additional services, such as expert installation or longer warranties. While these services can elevate the overall cost, they offer peace of mind, ensuring you have a robust support system backing your investment.
C. Mat design (although, this can lower wastage and overall cost): It’s essential not to judge mats solely based on m2 or individual mat cost. As discussed earlier, some designs might seem economical at a glance, but inferior designs can necessitate additional mats or m2 coverage to achieve the same fit. With NumatAGRI’s “multi-flex” design, you not only get quality but also efficiency, reducing the overall number of mats required even for unique spaces.
4. Reasons for Slightly Lower Prices
a. Rubber Sourcing: Cost savings often come from sourcing cheaper rubber mats that are made using filler compounds such as Carbon Black. Some companies in New Zealand opt for this route to reduce their costs. While this might lower the initial purchase price, it can compromise the mat’s longevity and performance and increases the risk of environmental pollution directly linked to the toxic compounds used in the manufacture of such mats.
b. Design Simplicity: A reduced price might also hint at limited design features. As mentioned earlier, mats with specific alignment requirements might be priced lower, but they can lead to increased wastage and unforeseen costs during the installation phase.
Spotlight on Cost
When purchasing mats for your feed pad, you can expect to pay between $80 and $100 per square metre. NumatAGRI’s products sit near the top of this range because they reflect our commitment to offering top-tier products and services. While the initial investment might be slightly higher, the slew of benefits, from enhanced cow health, boosted productivity, and industry-leading durability, ensures substantial long-term savings.
Making an Informed Choice
In the world of dairy farming, investments like rubber matting play a pivotal role in determining the well-being of livestock and the overall profitability of operations. In a market like New Zealand, where the price range is so narrow, the decision becomes less about cost and more about value. By understanding the factors that drive costs up and the strategies to keep them down, farmers can make informed decisions, ensuring the well-being of their livestock and the sustained profitability of their operations.
If you’d like more information about NumatAGRI’s feed pad matting options and pricing, give us a call at 0800 686 119.