Moxey Farms, the largest single-site dairy in Australia, has been milking cows for nearly 100 years. The Moxey family began their dairy operations in Richmond in 1919 with 20 cows. In 1992, Moxey Farms moved to Gooloogong near Cowra in central west New South Wales and milked their first cows at this location in 1998. Since that time, the Moxey family has continued to grow their business and currently milks 6,000 cows.
The Moxey family farms sustainably by keeping in mind their land, the environment and their cows. They grow the crops their cows need for food and return their cows’ effluent to the fields to fertilise those crops. By doing this, the Moxey family knows exactly what they are feeding their cows, and they are able to keep adding nutrients to the soil.
“We love cows and we do whatever it takes to take care of them, “said Quentin Moxey, a fourth generation dairy farmer and managing director of Moxey Farms. The happier the cow, the better she might like to perform, but at the end of the day, it’s just about taking care of her and putting her in an environment where she’s comfortable and can do what she does best, which is make milk.”
One of the ways Moxey Farms takes care of their cows is by using sand bedding in their freestalls.
“We like to bed our cows on sand,” Moxey explained. “It’s a bit of a nonnegotiable for us in our business at the moment.”
Often referred to as the “gold standard,” sand bedding offers many benefits for cows. It provides the ultimate in cow comfort, udder health and milk quality, as its organic nature limits bacteria growth. Sand also provides traction so the cows don’t fall, as well as reduces knee injuries and swollen hocks.
As part of their commitment to sustainability, Moxey Farms likes to recycle their sand from the waste stream. One of the ways they do this is through sand settling lanes. Sand lanes employ the force of gravity, as well as density differences, to separate sand particles from the effluent fibers. The sand can then be scooped out of the sand lane and put into windrows to facilitate drying.
“Sand’s great,” Moxey said. “It’s the best thing for the cow, but it’s the hardest thing for us to handle traditionally.”
Moxey Farms wanted a way to increase their sand recycling efforts to provide their cows with a cleaner sand as they expand their operations.
“As we continue to grow, we’d like to try and make a system which is more repeatable,” Moxey explained.
Moxey Farms approached McLanahan for a system to help them achieve their sand recycling goals.
McLanahan designed Moxey Farms two Sand-Manure Separation Systems to separate the effluent fibers from the sand material by mechanical means. Each Sand-Manure Separation System consists of an inclined screw shaft and a Dewatering Screen, or shaker. The sand is separated from the effluent as it is conveyed up the inclined screw shaft. Clean water is sprayed on the sand as it moves toward the discharge end of the screw shaft and the Dewatering Screen, which removes the excess water from the sand. This allows the sand to be reused more quickly than traditional stacking methods.
“We worked pretty hard with McLanahan around the new facility, which we’re currently constructing, so we’re really looking there to get ultimately the best sand possible for the cows but also a system that’s efficient.”
McLanahan also offered Moxey Farms six stacking belt conveyor systems that allow them to stockpile their sand once it has been cleaned and dewatered.
“Cows that are bedded on sand actually live a healthier life, and to do that, they need to have clean sand,” said Brent Gooley, a Mechanical Engineer at McLanahan. “That’s where McLanahan wants to strive with its customers, to really provide an opportunity to use recycled sand that is as clean as the stuff they can get brand new.”
Using the McLanahan Sand-Manure Separation System, Moxey Farms is able to put a cleaner sand product back into their stalls.
“Less organic product in the sand actually allows the cows to have less potential for a pathogen uptake into their biological system, which then means better herd health overall,” stated Gooley.
Moxey Farms was happy with the way the McLanahan system was able to fit into their operation as well as their model of sustainability.
“McLanahan’s been in the game for a long time,” said Moxey. “They understand how to handle materials in multiple industries, so I think for us and others, the reliability around the robustness of the equipment, and there’s certainly been a willingness to understand what our needs are and to work with us to come up with some equipment that can complement our system.”