Axel Nielsen-Vold loves a challenge. Four years ago he was working for a share milking company looking after a few of their farms in Southland, when the opportunity arose to manage one of the largest dairy farm operations in the North Island of New Zealand. At 813Ha, Archilles Dairy Farm is one of 13 Landcorp Farms that have sprung up in the last 8 years in the Taupo Volcanic Zone. Each farm is managed independently, the Archilles farm employing 10 fulltime staff with some seasonal workers required as calf rearers during calving season.
So why are Landcorp using StockRock?
The herd can potentially walk up to 16km to get to and from the milking shed twice a day, such is the size of the farm, so issues such as lameness need serious consideration. Now installed, the StockRock races Axel estimates, have reduced lameness as well as mastitis issues in the herd by as much as 30%. “So the savings are significant, it does cost more to set it up, but once it is, there is also a lot less maintenance and a better flow of animals at any of the pressure points along the race,” Axel explains.
With an operation this size, getting the herd flowing efficiently in and out of the shed is important. It’s a long day starting at 3am, with the second milking not finishing until around 5pm. You get the feeling talking with Axel, that having the business running smoothly is something he is pretty good at. “If I didn’t have the challenge I wouldn’t be here,” Axel smiles.