Mike Simpson we farm just out of
Rangiriri which is just north of Huntly Milk 1250 cows through to herring
bone sheds. I moved home 8 years ago contract milked for six years and in the
last two seasons I’ve stepped aside and attempted to take over some of my dad’s
roles he had a thought about what we wanted to do and we wanted to make
things a bit easier for ourself we are about two weeks off having it all up and
running so it’s quite exciting. Our boundary is the Waikato river and the
other boundaries that Whangapae Stream outlet so we are very low lying we’re at
the bottom of the table for all the drainage schemes which is good in summer
because we retain a lot of moisture but through the winter we can have a lot of
surface water paddocks that you can’t even drive a two-wheeler through right a
two-wheeler through yet alone feed out and so the challenge of us over winter
is we’re pretty much grass based for two months because we just can’t physically
feed anything the damage we did from July to August we paid the price for
that pugging it grew willow weed out grew the grass and we so July August
September we’d do the damage we couldn’t renew that grass until March and then
the cows couldn’t really eat it until July so best part of ten months that
paddocks probably producing 50% of the grass that it should be and it’s not
good for the environment back then carving this season was one of our
better ones we had a dry winter but we still had to use sacrifice paddocks cows
standing in mud all night having to draft new mums out of that mob in the paddock
at times it was just a stressful job it probably took an hour and a half for
four people every day and it was a lot of work this year we’ll have our
Springer mob on the feed pad so we’ll literally be able to punch the numbers
into the minder and the gate will draft them out while we’re having
breakfast and checking cows a contract milk you can
just come down it all in here if he has to calf one it’s a 50 meter walk to the to
the head crush and the management and ease of that is going to be a hundred
times easier than what it has been. Used to store the silage just on grass and
secured paddocks sometimes we’d be chugging a four wheel drive to get to the to
the face of the stack and you’re having to get towed out so the
challenges of that we won’t ever have again feeding out we had to take your
feet out wagon around the whole farm should be two K’s one way at some times
so the ease of what we’ve got now is we’re feeding out probably fifty meters
and eventually it’ll be concrete that we drive on but it’s going to take all the
stress out of that getting wagons into paddocks sometimes they’re bit tight
training staff health and safety of uncoupling the wagon and the mud we went
and had a look about eight different systems and all the different ranges of
roofs and bedding matting slats a lot of them were the feed pad was shared
amongst the cows so it would be a 900 cow farm and it’s a 300 Cow feed pad
where how our whole driver was to be able to get them off the land for the
six weeks of their dry at night and sleep them all at once so we went to
it’s about a thousand cow feed pad there’s three feed pads and amongst the
one under the roof and they can comfortably sleep with the six square
meters per cow for that dry period it’ll just save your pasture it’ll save
the stress of worrying about it when when you get 20 mls of rain overnight
and you know where the cows are in the morning type thing
so our current system is 2 – 44 aside hearing bones
a contract Milker employs six full-time staff and we need four minimum every
single day to milk with this new system we’re going to have four full-time staff
and we we can get by with just two milking at a push we can probably get
by with one, so the ease of that we can have a better roster for staff less
hours a day worked less milking times each day who actually make a desirable
job for the dairy industry we’re before start came and went because notice in
the shed for so long we don’t expect them to do too much outside of the shed
just feed the cows and milk them but it still came at a cost of milking for
seven or eight hours a day every day and the new system one guy I’ll be milking
in the shed one will be floating around at a yardman one will be on holiday
and one can be outside doing farm duties so with the effluent side of things we
went with the weeping wall we looked at a range of options and it seemed to be
there obviously the best one we could retain our existing pond we’ve got that
drop tested got that past so the weeping wall you know
contains all the solids and only the liquid going of the pond what we had to
do over winter was get that right down and just divert all the cow sheds when
they weren’t be milked and you know spreading it you needed a few good days
of fine weather before you’re even able to spread it on the paddock so it became
a challenge at times but this new system with the roofing we we shouldn’t really
create too much effluent and it will definitely be manageable over the winter
period what we had to do in the past was have bigger nozzles on our
irrigator and we couldn’t go on the the inner axles because it becomes too it’s
moving too slow and it was it applied too heavy so what we can just do to
having a pass through solids what we can do now is put smaller nozzle caps on
them put on less application and it should be a higher strength because it’s
the same it’s getting recycled the area now is opened up to the entire
we talk to contractors and we can actually track the dry solids to a point
and then use a muck spreader from there so the cost of carting it with the muck
spreader was would be very high but talking to contractors they’re
comfortable that we can actually cart it anywhere on the farm with trucks and
then spread it from that point so we’ve opened up the effluent area to our
entire farm now just quite cool yeah so it’s a cheap fertilizer really we just
playing cartage and spreading so it should should reduce our fertilizer costs and
you know should be able to maintain a low nitrogen usage really. We used to have in shed meal feeding systems that couldn’t feed straight palm kernel we could have
a 60% blend but now we can actually mix mix them how we want it so the ratio we
can decide on the day or the week and make our own blends up really we’ve gone
away from the the whole driver was to feed a lower lower cost meal on the feed
pad so we can actually feed three times as much feed on the feed pad as the
in shed meal feeding system so we’re gonna be able to really fully feed our
cows all year round we’ve got three flood washed chambers on the feed pad
and one on the cowshed, we had to put electrical box in so that they couldn’t
all flood wash it once and we’ll be able to recycle the same water the water goes
to the weeping wall and then back to the pond and the pond pumps it to the tank
so that it’s it’s improving the entire effluent product itself not just
recycling the same water over and over we can we can flood wash you know up to
six times a day really if we wish