Farming Couple Solves Winter Flooring Problem

White River Holstein Friesians owners Paul and Kyllee Henton developed their own solution after struggling to find suitable flooring for the wintering shed on their farm in Kelso.

The fruitless search motivated the couple to research, develop and manufacture their own flooring solution of heavy-duty, interlocking rubber mats.

Agri-Tech Imports was born, and they run it alongside their 580-cow herd.

The Henton's had run the farm for 15 years before going in with Mrs Henton's parents to buy the property.

The wintering shed was built because the farm was prone to flooding and snow during winter, with the Heriot Burn waterway runs through the middle of the farm.

The herd could be on the pads all the time during harsh winter weather, said Henton, which is why they needed compressible flooring.

Agri-Tech's mats were made in a mould rather than being cut, and a compression layer on their base made them cushioned and comfortable. It gives the cows confidence to walk around without slipping or falling, said Henton. When the cows lay down and stood up as they would in the paddock, they knew it was a success. The mats had also eliminated lameness within the herd.

The extra comfort for the cows had increase milk, and subsequently, profits added Henton. The herd produced about 550kg of milk solids per cow, supplying Mataura Valley Milk.

The cows access a feed pad after a gate automatically opens at 3am, and the cows come in on their own for morning milking.

After milking, the herd return to the paddocks until the gates are automatically unlocked again at lunchtime for the herd to access the feed pad.

Whilst the mats were designed for the Henton's personal use, other farmers became interested, and the mats are now being made to order.