We are a family farm, based in Herefordshire in the UK who have now invested in the Holm and Laue calf rearing concept and we now have the opportunity to introduce you to their ideas.
The health of your calves, whether they are your next generation of heifers for your herd or they are to be reared for the beef sector will directly affect your profits.
We all know about how important good ventilation is to all livestock, calves are just the same, in fact ventilation and the housing environment is even more critical. Optimal flow of fresh air is essential, but calves that are exposed to draughts will suffer. A housing system that offers the calves a draught free, but high volumes of fresh air will create an environment for healthy calves that can resist challenges. Holm and Laue, a company developed by a dairy farmer in Germany, have developed a calf rearing system based on “outdoor housing” but that provides a choice of zones.
When designing a calf rearing area and before construction begins “work flows ” should be considered to ensure optimal work efficiencies are met. The design of the system needs to allow for flexibility, calf handling and possible expansion in the future.
The Holm and Laue “outdoor housing” concept is based on the proven two area concept, the micro climate offered by the H&L Igloo and the outside environment under the roofed area in front of the igloo.
We can offer two systems based on the H&L igloo concept for calves that are group housed:
– The H&L igloo
– The H&L igloo and veranda
And further options for calves that are to be individually housed:
– Individual hutches with flexi fence
– Modular pen system
About us (Joff and Emma Roberts)
Our farm is based in North West Herefordshire on the Welsh boarders. As a family we have been farmers for many generations.
Emma and I have been taking over the farm in stages since 1996, developing the existing enterprises such as Chickens, Arable and Cider apples as well as adding a calf rearing unit.
We started rearing dairy cross calves in 1999, four months after our first child was born.
We began in a small way using existing farm buildings and Emma (with Harry by her side) was in charge of the calves.
As the numbers of calves grow as well as the numbers of children (we now have three), the work load increased. In 2004 we invested in a H&L 100 computerized calf feeder. This helped reduce the work load on feeding 70-80 calves a day, improving the calf heath too.
Over the next couple of years the farm developed further and having done the maths we decided to expand the calf rearing substantially raising the numbers to 320 calves on the farm at one time (rearing 900+ calves a year).
To ensure that we had the best possible setup we then embarked on a period of reaserch, looking at many rearing setups in the UK on dairy farms as well as beef farms. We also had contacts in Holland and went to see some of their concepts.
Finally in 2007 we visited Holm and Laue in Northern Germany to see for ourselves there “Igloos System”. It was a miserable snowy two days in February but having seen many farms looking closely at the designs and more importantly the calves we were convinced that this concept would work for us.
After obtaining finance and the planning permission our calf rearing shed was stocked for the first time in time for Christmas 2008.
It has generated a lot of natural interest as with the igloos it look rather unusual, but for us it has performed much better that expected in terms of calf health and financially.
Holm and Laue then approached us, asking if we were interested in marketing their products in the UK. Our first thoughts were that we are farmers and not sales men and that we would not do this product true justice but H&L encouraged us to go with it so here we are.
We are still not sales men but if people are interested in what we do, like any other farmer with a successful and novel concept we like to talk about it!
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