In 2017 we decided this was the time to get back into farming.
We applied for a leader Grant which was accepted and probably we wouldn’t have done the project without this money, so a big thank you to leader.
We decided that organic was the way to go and we were very lucky to time it right and get a milk contract from OMSCO. We converted our land over the next two years. We bought in 95 yearling heifers to convert with the land; these heifers were a mixture of 20 jerseys, 20 Fleckvieh x Swedish Red x Friesian and 55 Holstein X Friesian.
We chose to go autumn block calving again and install 2 x second-hand DeLaval VMS.
I designed where we were to place the robots in our existing shed
The aims were:
- To have the best access for the cows with good visibility to others cows especially when they are being trained. (VMS One)
- To keep the maximum amount of cubicles in the shed.
- To keep the build work costs as low as possible. (where are there currently drains in the shed ?)
- To be as close as possible to the milk tank (Max 100m).
- To be accessible from a clean area (In our case, from the feed fence ).
- To be able to create a training pen with gates easily if they are needed.
- To be able to run feed augers to the VMS.
The two 2008 VMS were purchased through DairyCentre Ltd.
The idea was to make this installation functional but not to flashy and expensive. I wanted to prove how cheaply we were able to set up a robotic system.
The heifers started to calve towards the end of July 2018.