Proper facility design is based on cow comfort. Milk is the absence of stress
– Dr Geordie Jones.
Housing cows in barns is a relatively new idea for Australian farms. Proper barn planning creates a cohesive, functional system where every part works together to save time and money, keeping your cows comfort front and centre. However, there are a lot of things to consider, one of which being that keeping cows in barns requires a different Management Philosophy. As Jake Martin of JGM Designs says, proper management is the only difference between success and failure.
In our exploration of barn builds in Australia, we found that the three important factors were:
- Planning is key
- Understanding cow comfort is vital
- Planning now allows for easier future growth and development.
This is why at Eagle Direct we recommend using a Master Plan to design your barn.
What is a Master Plan?
A Master Plan takes existing structures and builds on it in a way that is cost effective and plans for future growth. It takes into consideration not just your present needs, but how your farm will develop and grow over the next ten years. An important aspect of master planning is not just deciding where things SHOULD go, but where things SHOULD NOT go. This means that as you build and add to your property, your farm remains a cohesive and functional unit that enhances productivity and the comfort of your cows.
How does it work?
- Use Professionals. This may seem like we’re tooting our own horn, but at Eagle Direct we have put in countless hours of studying barn layout, cow comfort and the best way to plan a cohesive barn unit. We also have an excellent understanding of the paperwork side such as environmental and building permits, to help make the process as hassle free as possible.
- When creating your plan we start by looking at your property to see the existing structures and systems that you have in place, and building the barn up around that in a way that best utilises your space. It’s important to work with the site not against it. Utilising existing slopes, wind direction, proximity to parlour and feed all reduce the cost and the frustration of trying to wrangle your environment to go against itself.
- Future-Proofing your farm: three sure things in life are death, taxes and that dairies expand. We leave enough room to double or triple in size while still maintaining the present day functionality.
Should I house my cattle?
Jake Martin says that the first step of problem solving is problem definition. When asking yourself if you should house your cattle, you should first figure out if you have a problem that would be solved by a barn.
Barn design is based on climate including temperature, humidity and seasonal changes. If the weather is overly hot or wet where your farm is located, then a barn may improve your cow’s comfort and reduce heat stroke, lameness and other hoof health concerns.
Our biggest recommendation is to get out there and visit as many successful dairy farms as possible. The only way to see what works, is to see what works. An alternative to this is to contact us at Eagle Direct for a consultation. We look at how your farm currently functions and how it can be improved. Contact us on 6394 6064 to get started today.