Welfare lessons

By Country News

The next generation of dairy farmers attended the Van Den Bergs’ dairy farm at Katamatite East last week to learn about animal welfare practices.

The visit was part of Murray Dairy’s Young Dairy Network tour, which had a theme of paddock to plate and the speaker was NSW DPI dairy development officer Peter Havrlant.

‘‘We focused on cow welfare and cow design to maximise productivity and cow health outcomes,’’ he said.

Host farmer Erwin Van Den Berg said learning about animal welfare was critical for anyone wanting a career in the industry.

‘‘I think animal husbandry skills and keeping cows as happy and content as possible is the first lesson every farmer should learn,’’ he said.

Mr Van Den Berg said he was asked questions about how he looked after the cows from birth.

‘‘Basically we got asked about how we handle our cattle from birth to the other end,’’ he said.

‘‘From rearing a young calf, to joining them, to calving them down, to milking them and making them last as long as possible.’’

Mr Havrlant said he was asked a range of questions on topics such as stall designs and head bails.