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.”
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.”
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.
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.”