Entrance and exits can take a lot of everyday wear and tear and in winter can quickly become muddy and awkward for the cows and those looking after them. For Trent Hayman of Koromiko Dairies, the problem was compounded by the surface of the laneways on his farm.
Initially built with roading rock and then covered in pumice, the lanes were worn away by the 830-strong herd. “The cows would drag stones and create mud,” says Trent. “They’d break through the surface fairly quickly and then damage their hooves on the gnarly rock below.”
“We’d been battling the problem for around six years,” he adds.
He’d considered concrete as a solution but it was an expensive option – and the problems of lameness from slippage would still be there. Two years ago at the Mystery Creek Fieldays Trent came across Numat’s Cow Carpet and saw the future at his feet.
After investing in lightweight Cow Carpet matting Trent then spent a bit of time preparing the surface for the new approach.
“It was a piece of cake to put down – but we wanted to make sure it performed for years to come,” he says. “So we put a lot into the prep work, using a commercial vibrating compacter to get everything right with the base and the contours of the lane.”
After 12 months of use, the results are clear. “The cows love it – they still have a choice on what surface to walk on and they always choose it (the matting).”
Trent says, “We’ve had a bit of work pinning down the leading edges but that’s no great hassle. And there have been no rips or tearing and no mess – after a bit of rain it looks as good as new.”
He’s since purchased another 80 metres of heavier cow carpet to help further enhance the farm and ensure less time spent maintaining the entrance and exit and less money spent on vets bills in the future.
When asked if he’d recommend the matting Trent replied “absolutely”. To emphasize the point, and with perfect timing, he then says he’s about to go show the matting to another farmer who had driven up to see it in action.