Calf car­ry­ing trailer is a moov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence

Ruapehu Press - - Farming - SONITA CHANDAR

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.

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