"Our ultimate goal was a shed which was efficient, minimises labour input and works well and that’s what we’ve achieved".
Vernon and Theresa Corbett were sharemilking in Matamata when the option to lease 80 hectares next door to the family drystock farm in Otorohanga became available.
“We already owned 24 hectares which I’d been leasing off my family so the opportunity to lease an 80 hectare dairy farm with a 10 year option to purchase was the opportunity we’d been waiting for,” Vernon says.
The family made the move ‘back home’ in 2007 Vernon recalling the farm’s 18-year-old, 21-aside herringbone shed had grown up with over the years.
“It started life as a 16-aside with room for 21 bails. We were milking 186 cows when we came here and planned to gradually increase numbers to the 380 cows we’ll milk in 2018/2019.
“We decided, right from the start, to utilise the length of the pit and add cups to make it 21-aside and, as I’d be milking on my own and drenching and applying teat spray, we’d add cup removers. I’ve been milking in herringbones with cup removers for 15 years and wouldn’t milk without them.”
Throughout the years herd numbers increased from 180 to 260 and it was at this point that Vernon employed an assistant.
“I’d milk the first herd and the worker would bring in the second herd and milk while I did other things.
“We then added in-shed feeding so we didn’t have to drench and that worked even better; it became a one man shed from that point on.
“At the end of 10 years we exercised our right of purchase and bought the farm. Achieving our goal of milking 380 cows in a 21-aside was always going to a stretch; it needed to be around 32-aside to minimise rows and milking efficiency and so we compared the financial and operational benefits of a new build, with extending and retrofitting the existing shed.”
The Corbetts looked at new sites but decided financially, it was better to extend the current pit from 21-aside to 32.
There were 8 to 10 weeks to rip the old shed apart, extend the pit, build new yards and install the new technology before calving started.
Vernon explained why he selected Waikato Milking Systems technology.
“I’d used their gear and it’s awesome – clever, well designed and tough. It’s value for money – we got everything we wanted, at a good price and it’s really efficient and easy to use.”
He said the equipment had performed up to expectations after the first season in the new shed.
“Rebuilding this shed was purely financial, we looked at other spots around the farm but we already had 21 bails here so it was easier and made financial sense to extend what we had.
“Our ultimate goal was a shed which was efficient, minimises labour input and works well, and that’s what we’ve achieved.
“Back-up service has been brilliant. A few teething problems, as you always do with a new fitout, but they were resolved on the spot and since then we haven’t needed to get anyone out.”
“We are really happy with the shed.”
Ultimate Cup Removers,
- Double bank plate cooler