Cubicle Dairy Farming

The Herald has details of what is actually proposed:

However, a director of one of the companies behind the proposals says critics who call it “factory farming” have got it all wrong.

Richard Peacocke was reluctant to be interviewed while involved in environmental hearings related to the applications. However in statements, he said: “Factory farming implies that stock are unduly restricted.

“Each cow will have its own cubicle to stand, sit and sleep. The floor of the cubicle is a thick rubber pad and the cows are free to enter and leave the cubicles at will and wander around the balance of the shed and feed as they require.

“There will be clear roof panels to allow sun and light to enter. Additionally the cows will be free to wander out onto a large open air holding yard during fine weather and stand or sit in the sun.”

Mr Peacocke said the effluent would be collected and stored, with liquid waste watered down and spread on pasture at “very low rates”.

The proposal is for 18,000 cows that will live within the stables (including yard) for eight months a year.

I suspect this is an issue similar to battery hen farming. Around 80% of people will say they don’t like it and would be happy to pay more for free-range egss. But in reality free-range only has 10% of the market.

The bigger concern is if it could undermine the overall NZ dairy brand. This is why Fonterra is against.

Federated Farmers are supportive though, and say this model of farming s more environmentally friendly. I’d be interested in the details of that claim.

UPDATE: Press editorial has some details:

From an environmental point of view, the proposal has a lot to recommend it. Rather than having herds roaming free and leaving effluent to flow where it will, with the risk of pollution to waterways and aquifers, it would, while the cows were under cover at least, be collected for more orderly disposal. While the details of that disposal would have to be scrutinised closely, that is almost certain to be less damaging to the environment.

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