7 September 2001

EVENHANDLINGSYSTEMEASESWORST TASKS

ALONGSIDE the new parlour at Boode Farm, a handling system easing routine cow tasks, has been developed.

Access to the collecting yard can be from the public road, private roads, or the cubicle house and a low-cost cattle loading area has been added. The yard is higher than the road and so cattle can walk on an almost level tailboard onto the lorry or trailer, instead of scrabbling up a steep ramp. Careful planning meant the existing gates to the collecting yard could also be used in the loading process.

Mr Fowler says cattle now load faster and with much less stress. This has been exceptionally useful during the foot-and-mouth restrictions, when cows and youngstock had to be transported to distant fields instead of walked along the road.

The treatment race has straight rump and breast rails. It holds up to 14 cows in herringbone fashion, with the last one held in place by a movable bar. The cows look out at the landscape while treatments are carried out from in front or behind.

"Cows are relaxed in the race – in fact the first time the race was used cows let their milk down. We use it for everything – vaccinations, AI, PDs, examinations and wash-outs, tail painting, tail or freeze brand trimming and hosing off feet before going into the footbath. Every farm should have one", says Mr Fowler.

And the cost of all this? "A lot, but worth the investment," is all he will reveal. &#42