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Cow comfort and welfare is top priority at Rockset Holsteins

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“Everything we do is aimed at making life better for the cows” – that’s the way Cornwall dairy farmers Robert and Heather Hugo approach the management of their successful Rockset pedigree Holstein herd – and they believe it’s even more important when profits from milk are under pressure.

Since returning to milk production in 2007 the 120-strong Rockset herd is fast gaining a reputation among pedigree breeders – and not just in the south west.

This month the herd will host a visit from a party of Dutch breeders and a young bull has already been sold to Germany.

With a herd average around 10,600kg at 4.2% fat and 3.1% protein the focus of attention is not only on breeding and feeding. Last year a new cubicle building was completed with the emphasis on cow comfort and welfare by creating the best possible environment for the herd.

“The passages are wide and measure 18ft, the cubicles are bigger, we’ve tiled the feed troughs and fitted rubber matting in front of the troughs,” says Robert.

The building is 160ft long and has 115 head-to-head cubicles each measuring 17.5ft proving an extra foot of space to give cows ample lunging room.

Each cubicle is fitted with a mattress and EnviroBed paper bedding is used to create a high standard of comfort and maintain cubicle hygiene.

“We’ve seen a significant reduction in our cell count since the cows moved into the new building and were bedded on Envirobed in the bigger cubicles. But as well as giving cows the comfort they deserve EnviroBed is also helping us to maintain a high standard of cubicle hygiene,” says Robert.

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