Southland’s Zeestraten family has developed a hybrid system for their farms, combining the strengths of pasture systems and cow housing to create a manageable and sustainable operation. The owners talked to Karen Trebilcock about the benefits of their system for the cows
and for their family.
The infrastructure to support a herd wintering barn can add up to 70 per cent to the million-dollar plus cost of basic construction, a new study of the financial and environmental impact of barns has found.
Only three of the five barns analysed in Canterbury and Southland were found to be profitable in initial analysis over a projected 20-year span based on a standardised milk price of $6.50 a kilogram.
Cows are conventionally grazed outside and when required cows are farmed inside free-stall barns. This gives total control over soil and animal health and environmental pressures.
Southern Centre Dairies Ltd is one of the first dairy operations in the country to introduce large-scale free-stall barns to house cows in winter or
when paddocks are too muddy.
The Van Leeuwen Dairy Group has three robotic freestall milking barns. They will have 24 robots that would eventually milk 1500 cows and the intricate labour-saving, environmental and animal welfare technology involved.
The arrival of cow barns in dairying has brought about the study which is analysing the effects of them on cows, nitrate leaching and pasture production.
SCD's section starts at 9mins on this video