Buildings Focus: A new 43-cubicle strew for an expanding dairy flock in Co. Mayo

Buildings Focus: A new 43-cubicle strew for an expanding dairy group in Co. MayoBuildings Focus: A new 43-cubicle strew for an expanding dairy group in Co. Mayo

In this week’s Buildings Focus, AgriLand spoke to dairy rancher Tom Clesham, from Cong, in Co. Mayo, about his new apartment shed.

Tom, who farms alongside his father, Tim, are milking a group of 46 cows, that are done adult of predominately British Friesian cranky Holstein cows, by a six-unit parlour.

Up until final winter, a milking cows were housed between an aged apartment strew and a slatted house. Since Tom started milking in 2013, a group has gradually grown in distance and it had come to a theatre where new housing comforts were indispensable to accommodate an boost in cow numbers.

Speaking to AgriLand, Tom said: “We had an aged apartment strew on a farm, so adult until now, along with a slatted house, we used to conduct to residence all a cows.

But we wish to pierce adult in cow numbers, so we had no choice yet to demeanour during building a new housing facility.

“The new strew gives us a bit of leisure since we were removing parsimonious for space, generally during calving time.”

Tom Clesham


The new apartment trickery was built on an aged silage chunk that was located right beside a milking parlour.

The construction process, according to Tom, was straightforward. He noted: “We are propitious where a categorical farmyard is since if we were to build on a other side of a plantation we would have strike stone true away.

“The belligerent around a yard where all a sheds and milking salon are is utterly soft, that done a digging routine most easier to do.”

Source: Damien Ryan Contracts

Note: The 3 cubicles during a tip left of a sketch (above) were private and, instead, a shifting doorway was put in so that cows could travel into a collecting yard that is directly behind where a cubicles were meant to be.

The building is 24.3m prolonged and 18.2m wide. The section stands during 6.8m high during a peak and 4.3m to a eve gutters.

The petrify walls of a strew mount during 2.4m high. The dual slatted tanks are both 28.3m long; yet one tank is 3.2m wide, while a other one, that is between a cubicles in a centre of a strew and a feed face is 4.1m wide; both tanks are 2.4m deep. There are dual restlessness points during possibly finish of a shed.

The cubicles along a length of a petrify wall are 2.8m prolonged and 1.15m wide; while a cubicles, in a center of a shed, that are back-to-back, are 2.4m prolonged and 1.15m wide.

Source: Damien Ryan Contracts

The apartment strew is 5 bays long, with any camber 4.8m in length. A roof overhang – 2.5m in length – is incorporated into a pattern usually over a feed passageway, to forestall sleet removing into a strew and to keep a silage dry.


One aspect of a strew that Tom wanted to get right was a ventilation. Over a final few years, he has been forced to residence his cows in an old, dim apartment shed, that wouldn’t be as good ventilated as complicated sheds are nowadays.

Tom wanted a splendid and ‘airy’ strew and that’s accurately what he got. Even yet there are no roof lights incorporated into a build, a strew is still utterly splendid due to a spaced sheeting on a roof and a opening between a vented sheeting and a roof edge.

So, he opted to implement 5 shifting doors in a unit; there are dual during possibly finish of a shed, while there is one in a corner, on a right-hand side of a shed, that leads into a collecting yard where a milking salon is.

Two of a doors are kept open via a whole extending season, as a alley that goes right by a milking height leads into a front of a shed, where a cows can travel by a front and around a behind into a collecting yard.

There were 43 cubicles propitious into a shed, along with 4 tiny H2O drinkers and one tip-over H2O trough. Tom has systematic mats for a cubicles, that he hopes to have propitious in over a entrance weeks.

The feeding barriers, cubicles and H2O troughs were sourced from Condon Engineering.

Tom added: “It incited out really well. It’s a really easy strew to entrance from possibly end, that is accessible if we ever had a cow that got in bother.

I suspicion about usually going for one slatted tank instead of two. we indeed deliberate about digging out a tank that would have assimilated adult with a collecting yard.

“So it would have left from a shifting doorway that leads into a collecting yard over to a front of a feeding barriers. That would have meant we would have had to put in dual involuntary scrapers as well.

“But, in a end, we opted usually to put dual tanks going together with any other on possibly side of a dual rows of cubicles.

“The approach it is laid out involves carrying to hand-scrape some of a animal fertiliser into a slats yet that usually takes a integrate of mins to do.”

He explained: “The beauty of a shed, in terms of how it is laid out, is that a cows can go directly into a strew and travel by it and around into a collecting yard.

“Then, when they are all in a collecting area we can tighten a embankment behind them and open adult a exit competition embankment and they can conduct behind into a strew after milking until we am prepared to spin them behind out to grass.

It’s really fit and means a cows can possibly go behind and take a splash of H2O or distortion on a cubicles or both.

“The fact that they can go and splash H2O in a strew after milking is a large reward for me, generally in dry weather, since we usually have a half-inch siren feeding into a H2O troughs around a farm.

“So, when it is warm, a H2O can be a bit delayed to fill into a drinkers. However, since a cows can splash in a strew after milking, twice-a-day, it takes a vigour off.”

Exit competition and crush

Along with building a apartment shed, Tom commissioned an exit competition and vanquish that leads out from a milking salon behind into a apartment shed.

Damien Ryan Contracts finished this partial of a pursuit as well, that Tom says creates life so most easier during milking time.

Tom noted: “The cows go in a circle, we could say, once they enter a apartment strew during milking time.

“When they come in for milking, they travel by a strew and around to a back, where they can make their approach into a collecting area.”

Tom noted: “Once they are in there [the cows], they go by a salon and out by a exit competition and behind into a apartment house. In essence, they do a full loop.

So, once we tighten a embankment behind a cows when they are in a collecting yard and open a tiny embankment during a front of a exit race, we can go into a array and stay there though carrying to leave.

“It literally takes me about an hour or even reduction in a dusk to divert a cows, since before it would have taken longer.”


The devise was carried out with a assist of a Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II).

Commenting on a new build, Tom said: “Overall, we am really happy with a finished product.

“It’s a large investment, yet a devise is to enhance cow numbers in a nearby future, so hopefully if divert prices stay comparatively clever it won’t take too prolonged to compensate back.

“I couldn’t boost cow numbers with a comforts we had before, so we had to ‘bite a bullet’ and go and build, which, looking behind now, I’m blissful we did.”

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