In 2014 a farmer in one of Australia’s premier dairying areas was looking for a way to increase his herd size without putting too much stress on his pastures and infrastructure. He looked to the New Zealand dairy industry for a solution and discovered Redpath Clear Roofed, Deep Litter Standoff shelters. In 2014 the farmer, Simon Rea, and his veterinarian, David Colson, went to New Zealand on a fact finding mission to further investigate the Redpath shelters and to see whether they would help Simon achieve his desired stocking rate.
Simon and David saw many Redpath shelters in operation and were impressed by the versatility of the shelters as well as the many options available. They both came away convinced that the shelters could be customised for use on Australian dairy farms and that a customised Redpath shelter was the ideal solution for Simon’s farm.
At the time, Redpath Australia was focusing on smaller horticultural shelters and was not able to offer any dairy experience or technical advice around their product. David and Simon saw a need in the Australian Dairy industry for structures similar to those they viewed in New Zealand and the one Simon was planning to build on his own dairy farm. Simon and David formed Dairy Shelters Australia and worked with Redpath Australia to customise a Redpath shelter for Simon’s own dairy farm (completed June 2015) and are now in a position to advise, customise and supply Redpath Shelters for other Australian farmers.
Simon Rea was born and raised on a dairy farm in the Naringal/Panmure area of South West Victoria. After completing school he spent a couple of years in Melbourne and England, before returning to the family farm to follow his passion for dairy farming. In the twenty years since he has progressed from farm worker, to share farmer, to farm owner.
Simon and his wife, Pep, purchased the farm in 2010. Since then it has undergone significant expansion and improvement. The farm’s milking cow numbers have grown from 320 to 480, and are projected to reach 550 by autumn 2016. Capital improvements have included the installation of a road underpass for the herd, a new 50-unit rotary dairy and, more recently, a clear roofed, deep litter dairy shelter. The new shelter will allow Simon & Pep to better manage the farm during extreme weather events – particularly wet weather – and enable them to push their cow numbers to well above the pre-shelter number of 420. The cow shelter brings a variety of other benefits to the farm, including lifestyle benefits.
Simon and Pep live on the farm with their three primary school aged children, Stephanie, Georgia and Lachlan, and their two cheeky curly-haired retriever dogs, Monty and Baxter.
BVSc, MANZCVS (Ruminant Nutrition), MVS (Dairy Medicine and Management)
David graduated from Melbourne University in 1988 and has since worked in the dairy industry in South West Victoria. He has been actively involved in many and varied industry, scientific and education programs. Throughout 2013-14 he acted as project leader of the Dairy Australia National Lameness Project. During his career David has held honorary positions within the AVA Western District Branch and Melbourne University Academic Associates Program. He also sat on the WestVic Dairy Board (DA – RDP) for approximately 2 years.
David and his wife Sue-Ellen live in Victoria’s South West with their three school aged children, Zoe, Mitchell and Adam. David is passionate about the future of the Australian Dairy Industry and is continuously searching for solutions that will assist farmers to improve their dairy enterprises along with their work-life balance.