New cattle shed will top up milk levels
The island’s largest dairy herd got its first taste of a happier and healthier life yesterday as a state-of-the-art shelter officially opened.
The huge shed, which is fitted with fans, misting equipment and spongy flooring, will help reduce heat stress on the 120-strong milking herd on Store Hill during the summer months.
Its completion signals the end of a two-year long project for dairy farmer Valter Medeiros that will help milk production levels remain constant throughout the year.
“I’m very pleased with how it looks and very happy to see it finished,” Mr Medeiros told The Royal Gazette.
“It’s been a long time coming but has come in time for the summer which is very important and will allow the cows to get some shade during the day. They will have access to the shelter all year around and it should boost productivity considerably.
“Our next project will be to improve the milking parlour.”
His wife Lidia added: “It’s a vast improvement for the herd. We are so excited it has finished and it looks great. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped and supported us along the way.”
Mr Medeiros embarked on the major construction project shortly after taking over the Smith’s dairy operation in 2014 when it went into liquidation.
Yesterday he was joined by Michael Dunkley, his brother Stephen, the general manager of Dunkley’s, and a host of other stakeholders including contractor Bermuda Built Construction, as the structure received a traditional blessing with Goslings Rum.
“It’s refreshing to see someone investing in the dairy industry,” Stephen Dunkley said.
“This construction will mean happier and healthier cows, which in turn means more productivity.
“This provides stability to the dairy industry in Bermuda and a great product on the shelves.”
Meanwhile, the Premier praised Mr Medeiros for his “commitment, vision and passion” in driving the project forward.
David Lopes, himself a dairy farmer for more than 50 years, added: “Valter deserves so much credit for what he has done up here. In my opinion if he had not taken on this farm that would have been the end of the dairy industry in Bermuda.”
The shed, which measures 75ft wide by 150ft long, is topped by a metal roof and includes a deep manure pit at the western end of the structure.
Meanwhile, inside the shed fans and misting equipment have been installed to keep the cows cool in their specially adapted bedding areas that are modelled on waterbeds.