CASE STUDY 5: Cubicle housing - Poly tunnel
Mr Long, Troy Farm, Monmouth, UK
Troy Farm had typical old cubicle housing, which was over 30 years old and deteriorating. We needed a strategy to increase cow comfort and improve overall cow flow.
This is an organic herd which aims to optimise production from grass. The herd is autumn calving, so comfortable winter housing is important.
Ivor Davey first met with Irving Long in June 2015, and we discussed options for new housing and a longer term strategy for improving overall cow flow.
Some conversations had previously been had with a Poly Tunnel manufacturer so we explored these options and helped consider some of the benefits. It was important to ensure that using a Poly Tunnel did not compromise on cow space, building layout and overall cow comfort.
Key concerns of the Poly Tunnel:
We only considered the tunnel option as the cows are only housed during the cooler winter months. Essentially, it is a simple 'umbrella' to keep rain off the cubicle beds. The building is two 14m tunnels and one 9m tunnel. The overall building is 90m long and it houses 320 cows.
To optimise ventilation, we had three open ridge gaps for air exit, and open sides to optimise cross ventilation, and fresh air.
The decision to proceed was made in the autumn of 2015, and a full planning application was made.
The work commenced in the spring of 2016, with major work to remove the old buildings, excavate part of the site and start installation of channels, pads for the building steels and drains etc.
The first section of Cowcoon cubicles, Pasture Mat mattresses and 30mm Premium pad foam was installed ready for winter 2016. Most of the 'hoops' for the tunnel were erected at this stage, but the cows were using the cubicles before the plastic roof was installed.
The building was not fully finished until the summer of 2017.
Update - February 2020
It is always rewarding to have messages from customers updating us on how well their buildings are working. This is what Mr Long of Troy farm messaged us in February 2020, with some photos:
"Not blown away yet. Vets still reckon this is one of the best sheds they work in. Had a cow so comfy asleep the other day when sun was shining her foot was moving and eyes twitching same as dog dreaming."