Agri Span™ is a specialised calf-rearing building that creates a healthy, controlled environment
Stuart and Caroline Perry run Nower Dairy, a Devon farm that employs a year-round calving system with 200 dairy cows on site. As tenant farmers, the Perrys produce milk for Arla and supply Buitelaar with beef calves.
In November 2021 the farm invested in the McGregor Agri Span, as part of their efforts to improve the calving system and upgrade from calf hutches. Although common in the industry, calf hutches are not ideal for the animals well-being. The Perrys recognised the need for a better system that would allow their calves to thrive; developing the calves in their best condition, at their target weight, earlier with less effort.
The Agri Span is a specialised calf-rearing building that offers farmers a controlled environment for group housing calves and housing individual calves in pens. The structure forms an adaptable environment with excellent ventilation, filled with natural light.
The environment created by the Agri Span has reduced stress and disease among the calves. This has enabled the Perrys to meet the high standards of their Buitelaar contract – requiring calves to meet strict weight, health, and overall quality criteria. With far reaching health benefits from the new setup, they have also been able to reduce the use of antibiotics on the farm which is a key criteria of supplying milk to Arla.
“The calves are healthier, happier, we’re meeting that 50 Kilo minimum weight faster it reduces labour, reduces the spend. As a purpose built system for youngstock, it’s great”
With the Agri Span, the Perrys have been able to maximise their profits and increase their productivity. Previously, the farm required significant manual labour to feed, clean and manage the calves, which was time-consuming and costly. The ideal alternative to calf hutches, Agri Span brings the calves together in one well ventilated space with room to accommodate multiple calves in groups. In addition, the Perrys have set up an automatic feeder system that ensures the calves are fed on time, with reduced effort.
Positioned on open ground at the edge of their farm complex, the Perry’s had considered the Agri Span as a stopgap solution, but now it’s up and running and delivering well beyond their expectations they see it as a permanent fixture. The Agri Span is a modular building that simply bolts together, constructed on top of 1.5 metre ground screw foundations which are screwed directly into bare earth. This modularity is a significant advantage to tenant farmers and will enable them to dismantle and move the structure to their next tenancy when the time comes.
The Agri Span is an investment that has paid off immediately, Caroline and Stuart have more time and will continue to improve their business. Implementing best practices to rear healthy calves in the best condition, at their target weight, earlier with less effort.