Author(s): Jennifer Somervell
Like many 'rehab farmers', Grandpa had put the explosives skills he used at Gallipolli to good use on the farm, blowing out tree stumps and removing unwanted rocks. Blowing up the cowshed was the same idea - just on a bigger scale! Dad was a farmer who liked trying out new ideas. In the 1970s he read about a new turnstyle rotary milking shed and it caught his interest. At that time milking sheds were either back-breaking, traditional walk-through sheds, which were being phased out (what Dad had), or the upgraded herringbone, where milkers stood in a rectangular pit and worked the cows on either side. The rotary shed moved the cows round on a rotating turn-style while they were being milked and then they backed off. The Dairy Board finally gave the rotary cowshed full approval in the early seventies and farmers started to build them. Dad had a look at the prototype in operation and decided to build the first rotary shed in Hawkes Bay. But to put in the new cowshed the old shed with its thick concrete floor, walls and foundations had to be removed...!