Calf carrying trailer is a mooving experience
While picking up calves from muddy paddocks and trying to get them in from the cold in a hurry, western Lake Taupo farmer Kim Caldwell thought there must be a better way that piling them into a single trailer.
Animal welfare was very much at the forefront of his idea, and got plenty of stares at the recent Fieldays. It won the innovations award.
‘‘It is always a struggle to get calves out of a trailer which is a health and safety issue for staff,’’ Caldwell said.
‘‘And when you have a bad, cold, wet day and you have all these little newborns shivering, there is that desire to get them inside where it is warm as quickly as possible.’’
The Moova can carry 20 calves in slings and is aimed at large farms where a number of calves are born on a daily basis.
Caldwell manages a 1250-cow dairy farm and often has 60 calves a day that need transporting to the sheds which meant multiple trips with a normal trailer. He now only has three.
He mentioned the idea to engineering pal Greg Kane of Matamata.
‘‘What I envisaged right from the start was something the calves would be suspended in so they couldn’t fall over and hurt themselves or other calves and be at the right height for easy loading.’’:
They tried various products for the sling producing a crude version with two pipes, four cable ties and bit of milk liner.
‘‘It worked well and we could have left the calves in it all day but it wasn’t suitable for transporting.’’
They tried a calf-meal bag and then bits of a 200 litre plastic drum. Even part of an old pond liner.
‘‘The pond liner worked really well,’’ Kane said.
‘‘We knew we were onto something then so built a trailer to suit.’’
By the time they had produced the first Moova, calving had begun but they used it to pick up about 600 calves and have since trialed it on two other farms.
Other benefits of the Moova is calves can be tube-fed while in the slings as well as navel sprayed and eartagged.
‘‘Feedback had been great and it has worked really well.’’
They won $5000 of help and advice from accounting and consulting form Crowe Howarth.
The award-winning ‘Moova’ calf carrier.