Pictures: Behind the scenes at state-of-the-art €3.3m 230-cow dairy unit
State-of-the-art Antrim facility can accommodate more than 230 cows
The North's agricultural college at the Greenmount campus in Antrim has recently completed a total revamp of its milking and dry cow housing, at a cost of a cool £3m (€3.3m).
The main shed accommodates 150 cows along with a brand new Fullwood double 16 herringbone milking parlour, while the 1,200m2 dry cow house caters for 82 cows.
While the unit is built to the very highest standards due to its public exposure, the reality for many herds in the North is that housing periods can stretch from August to early May, depending on calving patterns.
The overall cost includes some works carried out around the new dry cow house, including concreting part of a yard and installing new college security gates as the house is adjacent to a main road.
All the most recent work carried out by Pomeroy-based Quinn Automatic.
Five metre-wide central feed passages allow diet feeding, while the roof is clad with fibre cement and translucent sheeting, which is spaced one inch apart.
Inside the house, the floors consist of special concrete slabs made by Creagh Concrete, onto which grips are cast in order to maximise traction and increase animal welfare.
This building is naturally ventilated and includes a slurry management system incorporating ammonia emission reduction technologies.