While there are claims of saving in labor with the autofeeder system, the Hammocks wanted to develop a system which provided an environment which allowed more time for management of calves by reducing the demands of some of the more labor-intensive chores of feeding, cleaning, and treatment of calves. Read more…
Dairy Farmer Paul Hammock’s Journey with Autofeeder Systems
The calf blog sponsored by Foerster Technik was launched several months ago. The goal has been to serve as an educational resource for dairy calf management with a special emphasis on successful management of the autofeeder. A key component of the blog has featured videos of a successful autofeeder system at the Hammock Dairy located in Chatham, Virginia in the U.S. The blog has focused on key factors which support success with the autofeeder.
However, it is always beneficial to hear from those involved with the use of technology to understand how they made their decision and how it has benefitted their calves. Over the next month we will hear from Mr. Paul Hammock and his nephew, Isaac about their “journey” with the Foerster Technik system, which was provided by and serviced by Dairyman Specialty, their Delaval dealer. These interviews with Paul and later with Isaac are presented in a three-part series:
Part 1 - A Great Start
Hammock Dairy is a family business owned and operated by several generations of the Hammock family and is located in southern Virginia. This blog post will feature a discussion with Paul about their dairy business and how they explored the use of the autofeeder which eventually led to their construction of a new facility with four feeders and eight pens housing 160 preweaned calves. Their initial trial use of one feeder in a retrofitted facility demonstrated some key benefits in successful feeding and weaning of their calves. They also recognized more desirable behavior of animals that had been raised in the autofeeders as compared to their “hutch” reared calves.
Part 2 - Plan for Success
Their initial experience with one feeder in a retrofitted facility convinced the Hammock’s to make the investment in a new facility designed for use of the Foerster Technik autofeeders. They visited other farms and obtained information from multiple sources including their dealer. They wanted a facility which provided a great environment for calves and the people caring for the calves. Provision of excellent ventilation, drainage, and the ability to clean and sanitize the facility in an effective and efficient manner were some of their primary objectives.
Part 3 - Labor and Maintenance
Part 3 Labor and Maintenance. While there are claims of saving in labor with the autofeeder system, the Hammocks wanted to develop a system which provided an environment which allowed more time for management of calves by reducing the demands of some of the more labor-intensive chores of feeding, cleaning, and treatment of calves. Issac Hammmock, Paul’s nephew shares how the features of their system contribute to labor satisfaction and efficiency. They also describe their daily routines and key factors contributing to success with their autofeeder system. Paul also notes how use of the feeding behavior information provided by the feeders to supplements visual observation and allows more timely treatment of calves before problems occur.