Meeke Brothers opted for slat rubber and head scoop
Brothers Philip and Barry Meeke manage the family farm outside Dromara in Co Down. The Meeke family have been farming on the home farm for over 100 yards with some additional land being purchased over the years.
Barry takes up the story: "The farm today is primarily a 60 cow dairy farm with all male calves being reared through to beef and heifer calves being kept as replacements for our own herd or beef types being sold privately as suckler replacemens. The cows have been bred back to British Friesian to give better conformation to the calves and improve the longevity of the cows. Often people assume that you comprise a lot of milk going down the British Friesian route but we continue to focus on breeding cows which are still capable of producing milk and today the herd average is 7400L per cow at 4.45 butter fat and 3.4 proteins.
"The majority of the land we farm is connected to the farmyard or in close projiciently to the yard and we don't aim to get any bigger, but we do aim to continually improve what we do and become more self-sufficient by growing more of our own crops.
"We applied for Tranche 2 of the Farm Modernisation Programme and were successful in our application for slat rubber and a head scoop for the front of our crush. We wanted to improve the comfort of the finishing cattle which are lying on slats and also make the handling of cattle safer. We have been customers of Teemore Engineering for seven or eight years and have been impressed with the cow cubicles, mattresses and feeding gates we bought from them so we decided to speak to them. A sales rep for the company visited the farm, measured and priced the job and got the order. We have always been very happy with the service Teemore provide and the reputation of the company in general is very good. The slat rubber is a great job and the cattle are very comfortable on it and even moving around they seem to be alot more active. The head scoop has just recently been installed and will be very useful when handling large cattle.
"The whole process of application was pretty straightforward and I would encourage farmers to apply for the newly released Tranche 3," Barry added.
Ray Foy, sales manager for Teemore Engineering Ltd commented: "The benefits of perforated slat rubber, is by now well recognised in Northern Ireland. Tranche 3, like Tranche 2, has seen perforated rubber in category 1 making it a highly favoured welfare friendly product under the Modernisation Programme. The rubber supplied by Teemore has evolved to be one of the most versatile on the market. This rubber can be fitted unto both single and gang slats and with the improved grip and the ribbed underside makes it safe and comfortable for all livestock types. Slat rubber is one of those products that almost always sees repeat business. Customers can be hesitant at the start but once they fit one pen the rubber speaks for itself by improved performance and a lot more comfortable cattle."
For more information on farm measuring you can call 028 6774 8377