30th April 2020 - Page 34

MAY 09 2019
Carnhill Holsteins install
high tech comfort for cows
HEN Connor Casey
from Loughguile installed a new robotic
milking system for
the Carnhill Holstein
herd, in order to reduce his
workload and stress, he decided
to do the same for his cows
in order to improve yields
through a less stressful system.
He upgraded the cubicles and
mattresses accordingly.
The Carnhill Holstein herd
presently consists of 120 cows
on two GEA monoboxes, 38 litres
average (cows 42, heifers 34), 2.9
milkings, with another box to be
installed to milk the whole herd
of 190 cows presently averaging
10,500 litres.
Connor had a clear vision
for the type of product that he
wanted for his cows to rest on,
easy to clean and mange yet
achieving comfort on par with
deep sand.
Wilson Agri Ltd was asked to
provide and quote a solution
which met his expectations.
Realising that Connor was not
going to compromise on any
of his goals it took all of his
comments on hand.
Connor’s goals were a mattress
which sits perfectly level on the
surface for easy cleaning. The
surface must retain bedding yet
be non-abrasive. The mattress
itself had to be deep in order to
absorb the animal’s full body
weight on impact without her
bottoming out on the concrete
HAPPY: Conor Casey, left, with
Peter Lanoye from Agglorex,
Belgium, and Andrew Wilson of
Wilson Agriculture.
It also had to not create any
pressure at the hock joints,
moulding to her body shape
while she rested like sand, yet
offering support to her feet so
she can get up and down with
Andrew Wilson, head of R&D at
Wilson Agri, took Connor to see
a new technology which it had
under trial for over a year in a
barn close to Wilson’s office. Here
for the first time Connor stood on
what is now known as the Wilson
Agri-Gel Mattress, which has
very unique properties.
Developed for use in hospital
beds and sports, slow fit
foam gives a much better
redistribution of body weight
than either that of latex or
polyurethane foams and water,
which offers no redistribution of
body weight.
This material absorbs the heat
from the cow’s body, cooling her
on a warm day, and as it warms
up it continues to soften, not
putting any pressure on the hock
joint of the cow.
Connor has found it to be a
truly remarkable product giving
him every aspect that he desired
to achieve for his Carnhill
Holstein herd and for his father,
who manages the beds.
Warm air passes through the
waterproof geotextile top layer
into the foam away from the cow’s
body, keeping the cow fresh and
not sweaty, reducing heat stress.
As the warm air passes through
the foam it softens giving the
ultimate cushioning effect.
When the cow stands up and
the foam instantly cools, all the
necessary support is there in the
foam structure together for her
to get up with confidence. This is
the concept which Wilson’s have
developed with top cover and
foam becoming one.
This is especially important
to exploit these benefits as an
airtight rubber cover would
never allow warmth to transfer
into the foam.
The fact that the top layer
is 4mm thick means that it is
flexible enough to flex with the
foam unlike 8mm rubber top
layers, so as the cow rolls on the
product, there is no resistance
to the hocks and other places on
her body where bedding related
injuries mount up.
The cubicles involved the
same concept around Connor’s
final choice of a mattress. The
Cowcoon, though on the market
for some time now, has gone
under some improvements.
Compared to all steel, which is
unforgiving, or all plastic and
not enough support, it places
the cow correctly, in order to
minimise soiling of the beds,
limiting the risk of infection from
a soiled bed.
The Cowcoon gently flexes
around the cow, hugging her, so
she doesn’t suffer injury from
a solid metal bar nor does it
bend away allowing her to use
her neighbour’s bed. It offers
something which is cow friendly
and easy to manage.
The result is that Connor has
a shed now which he is very
pleased with, where cows have
high end comfort which is easy
to manage.
Connor had a
clear vision for the
type of product
that he wanted for
his cows to rest
on, easy to clean
and mange yet
achieving comfort
on par with deep
SUPPORT: Glenn Speer, Fane Valley
Business Development Director, with
Billy Martin, RUAS President, and Alan
Crowe, RUAS Chief Executive.
Fane Valley
proud to
support local
FANE Valley is entering its second
year as ‘Platinum Sponsor’ with the
Royal Ulster Agricultural Society and
Balmoral Show, now in its 151st year.
The partnership brings together the
biggest agri show in Northern Ireland
with one of the leading agri-businesses
and farmer owned co-operatives.
Speaking at the Balmoral Show
launch event, Glenn Speer, Fane
Director, remarked: “We are looking
forward to continuing our Platinum
sponsorship with Balmoral Show,
Northern Ireland’s largest agricultural
and agri-food event.
“We have a great relationship with
Balmoral Show going back many
years and for Fane Valley sponsoring
the show is our way to reinforce our
commitment and support for local
agriculture, farmer customers and
rural community.”


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