Intensive dairy shed - The Clymo's (

Intensive dairy shed

The Clymo's ("Calmo Farms") in Calivil (Central Vic) recently had a second large "free-stall" dairy shed built. Their shift to zero-grazing follows inspiration and advice from American dairy farmers. An article written in late 2021 described plans to expand the business to house more than 2,500 cows. In 2020, the farm was said to house 1,200 cows, while in 2022, the number had risen to 1,800 cows. The farmer states that he wants to "keep pushing."

The sheds are designed by a company called Entegra, and there are at least 7 farms in Victoria that use them.

The cows live entirely within the sheds, on concrete and bedding made from their recycled manure. They walk around 50m to the milking parlour twice per day. The milking parlour is a rotating one which milks 50 cows at a time, and each is identified using a computerised system that tracks their production via a "smart collar." It is said that the cows "are moved to the paddock during some part of their lactation," however this appears to be referring to open, barren dry-lot shelters. The farmer self-described the system as "confinement."

The farmer states that he believes that it is "more humane" to house the cows in a shed as opposed to in a field, because they are not exposed to the hot sun or to mud. He stated that his cows had suffered with a "little bit of mastitis," and that the shed air circulation had broken multiple times. He also described attempting to find ways to "save labour" and money, such as raising the minimum temperature for the cooling fans to be turned on. He states that, because the cows never leave the sheds, for the workers it is "same every day, every month. Every week is the same."

The expansion of intensive, zero-grazing dairy is supported by Agriculture Victoria and the University of Melbourne is undertaking research into the economic benefit and risks of this change.

Photos are mostly from 2020 & 2021 articles, provided to media by the farmer himself. Others are stills from an Entegra promotional video, and videos uploaded to YouTube by a worker (confirmed through visible cow eartags to be filmed at Calmo Farms).

Articles on this farm and the move to zero-grazing:
www.farmonline.com.au/story/7036504/embracing-the-us-style-of-dairy-farming/
www.farmonline.com.au/story/7336397/support-for-dairy-farmers-moving-to-zero-grazing/
www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-09-28/us-style-free-stall-barns-are-making-their-way-south/100496524
www.countrynews.com.au/dairy/2021/10/12/5376406/bedding-down-a-new-dairy-barn/
www.dairyaustralia.com.au/news-repository/2023/03/20/global-first-national-guidelines-for-feedpads-and-contained-housing
www.dairyaustralia.com.au/resource-repository/2023/10/02/intensive-farm-systems-economics
www.theland.com.au/story/7728180/dairy-businesses-part-of-industry-first-conference/
bioag.com.au/resource/dairy-case-study-calivil-vic/

Videos from the farm:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH5ZomTcDPI
www.youtube.com/watch?v=64BEQbXpdb8&t=90s
www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT9AG0outKk
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Published: Fri 1 Mar 2024 by Windchime
Captured/filmed: 2022
ID: 9eksckl3gr3mhyx83cgm
Licence: Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please credit: Windchime. Link not required.
Country: Australia
Location: Unknown dairy, Calivil, Victoria, Australia )