The long time dream of Mark and Tania Gargan to buy their own dairy farm finally came to fruition in June 2014 when they took possession of a 113 hectare farm in Ngakuru in the Bay of Plenty. After 12 years of share milking the Gargan’s had a number of plans for their first farm including a new cow shed and, in the future, a stock underpass. Or so they thought.
“When we worked on the budget to buy the farm we knew all along that one of the first things we would do was build a new cow shed as the cow flow through the shed was terrible, they wouldn’t leave the race,” explains Mark. “So there was always money in the budget for a new shed, but what we hadn’t planned on dealing with straight away was the herd crossing the road every day.”
The Gargan’s farm is split by Waikaukau Road with approximately 40 hectares of their 99 effective hectares on the other side of the road.
“The cows were standing on the race for at least two hours waiting for me to finish milking so I could cross them over the road,” adds Mark. “This cuts into their grazing time and added to that was up to 30 minutes of my time to man the crossing. We realised we had a productivity problem. So we decided that the underpass had to move to the top of the list with the cow shed – it just made sense for us.”
Included in the purchase of the 113 hectare farm was about six hectares of pine trees, so the Gargan’s decided to use the money from the pine trees to fund the underpass.
After phoning around suppliers of underpasses Mark got hold of Dave Casey from Humes. “The Humes price was one of the cheapest - the same as one other - but the Humes units are an additional metre wider. Dave is also very knowledgeable and helpful so we decided to go with Humes. We trusted Dave to help arrange a contractor and liaise with them for the installation.”