Pukemutu Dairies Limited has 600 cows over 223 hectares of land with very heavy soils.

In springtime, it can get very wet and cold, so compaction and pugging are issues. The cows come into the shed every night and are fed along the feed lane which works really well.

Our average herd size and live weight is 550 kilos per cow. The height is 600 in here with a breast rail and 1200 to the head rail. The offset of 200 works really well as we don’t get any cows getting pushed through the rails.

We can fit 99 cows in here within Environment South regulations which is my springer mob anyway.

The flooring in the shed is gravel based with up to 600ml of chip which holds all the effluent on top and stops it from getting compacted. We have no run off coming out of the shed whatsoever.

Health benefits

There are some major health benefits from having the cows in the shed. Once they’ve had their calf, it’s born nice and dry and warm, they’re up on their feet and being fed. The cow is up and eating and they have less or no metabolics. Our calves are stronger and easier to feed too.

We had a huge snow event here in October and we didn’t lose a calf because they’re all in the shed. We had about 15 centimetres of snow and it just rolled off the shed so that’s really good. 

Mastitis has not been an issue at all and so far the shed has handled everything that Southland can throw at it. We’ve never had an issue with strong winds and an unexpected bonus in the middle of summer is that it’s really cool in the composting barn.