The Borrie’s Dairy Farm, owned by the dedicated and innovative duo Michelle and Rogan Borrie, is one of the three dairy farms they manage in the Lower Waitaki Plains. Their operation features an expansive milking operation with approximately 2,500 cows during winter. Recognizing the need for change and the impact of weather on their farming practices, they decided to undertake an ambitious project – the construction of a new feed pad on their 500-cow dairy farm.
Identifying a Need
“Obviously things move forward and for environmental reasons we decided to put a feed pad on this 500-cow dairy farm,” Michelle noted, emphasizing their commitment to both animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Their decision was precipitated by challenging winters characterized by heavy rainfall that turned the farm into a muddy mess, causing difficulty in managing cows and pasture. In pursuit of a more effective and efficient system, the couple toured several farms to study existing feed pad designs.
Designing the Feed Pad
From their explorative tours, the Borries identified features they liked and aspects they wished to avoid in their own design. “We saw ones we liked, but a lot of them had woodchips where we think woodchips are getting harder to get and dearer,” said Rogan, explaining their decision to opt for a rubber matting option instead. The rubber matting had a higher upfront cost but promised longevity and cost-effectiveness in the long run.
The Role of NumatAGRI
Their project was taken on by NumatAGRI’s construction division. “After talking to them, they were very keen to come on board and were very enthusiastic and wanted to come and build it for us. So, we thought, well, why not? And we’re very happy with the results,” Michelle added. NumatAGRI’s willingness to participate and dedication to the project was a driving force behind the successful implementation of the feed pad.
Using the Feed Pad
The newly constructed feed pad has been a game-changer. Cows are fed 3 to 4 kilograms of maize and grass silage on the feed pad and then guided to the milking shed. Rogan valued simplicity in the design to avoid potential breakdowns. “There’s a scraper for the tractor and motorbike and a wheel pusher to push the silage in. The sharemilker’s got a silage wagon to feed the silage out. So, there’s no mixer wagons. There’s nothing really to break down,” Rogan explained. They plan to keep the cows on the feed pad 24/7 during winter, feeding them maize and grass silage.
Reflection and Future Plans
Michelle appreciated the smooth working relationship they had with NumatAGRI, as the project execution was seamless with no unexpected hurdles. “I’ve worked with a lot of building agencies and stuff with lots of things happening on farm constantly. With Numat, this was just very smooth,” she commented. The couple is waiting to evaluate the full effectiveness of the feed pad design through a complete winter cycle. If it proves successful, they plan to replicate the design on their other two dairy farms, accommodating 600 and 1,100 cows respectively.
Stay tuned as we continue to follow the story of the Borries Dairy Farm. In our next instalment, we’ll return to evaluate the impact and success of their new feed pad.
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