January is a quiet month for us at the dairy as we wait in anticipation for our first batch of heifers to start calving. Our cows and heifers seemed to have enjoyed their time on fodder-beet with most having put on a great deal of weight during their winter holidays.
This will be the last time our cows spend winter outdoors, as we have decided in the interest of animal welfare and judging by the state of our staff’s clothes in the interest of staff welfare, to build sheds to get them out of the elements and the mud. Knights Construction arrived on the 8 January to start building; the sheds look amazing on paper, so it will be an exciting process to watch. The sheds will allow us to dry our cows off more strategically and manage our calving’s better.
We have also thought about how we can reduce our footprint, and, in this regard, we are installing solar panels on the massive roof surface area, to generate power for the dairy. We will also be installing a water reticulation system which will collect and store all the roof runoff water, for use in the sheds and the dairy.
Our yearling heifers have done really well and have averaged 0.9 kgs daily gain, whilst being housed at Yorton Villa farm. Our new calf rearing facility is nearing completion at Haston, a big thank you must go out to Tom and Scott; as well as Graham and his team for doing such a great job. These sheds will house 450 heifer replacement calves, with an isolation area and a one-off custom made milk heating system, designed and installed by the Sansaw maintenance team, so that the calves receive their milk at the right temperature every day.