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Off-road bobby calf collections

Dairy Meats will this season offer off-road collection of bobby calves to dairy farmer suppliers in the main dairy farming areas of Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.

For the remainder of the North Island, off-road collections will be offered to farmers situated on State Highways or on main tourist routes, or where individual arrangements are made with carriers.

Dairy Meats supply manager, Paul McGuire, says collecting calves from inside farm gates away from the roadside, is in response to a service need requested by many suppliers in recent years. It is also a response to environmental, safety and dairy industry image concerns.

"Dairy Meats is seeking to offer the best calf collection service possible to its suppliers, while also supporting the dairy industry 'good'", he says. "It will be the farmer's choice to take advantage of the offer, not a compulsion from Dairy Meats."

Some minimum standards have been set for off-road collection to avoid delays to trucks. The time involved in collecting bobby calves is critical because there is a legal time limit to collect calves and have them delivered to the works.

The simplest answer for off-road collection is to move the bobby pen off the road to a point on the farm track where the truck can quickly and efficiently pick up the calves, turn around and drive out. Bobby pens still need to be at least 65 cm off the ground. A truck must be able to pull up close to the bobby calf shed or pen to minimise the distance of carrying calves, and calves must be able to be closely confined within the shed or pen to facilitate loading. Bobby calves are to be tagged and kept separate from other calves.

To avoid the truck meeting a milk tanker with neither able to reverse, tracks longer that 300 metres may require a passing bay. This will also apply where the milking shed is not visible from the road entrance. Mr McGuire says if farmers are unsure, they should consult their carrier first.

Dairy Meats has a new larger flag for use at the farm entrance to indicate to the truck that calves are available for collection.

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