The Feederleader company has for a long time produced top quality farm machinery that farmers can trust to do the job day in and day out. But in our never-ending quest to be the best that we can be we decided to ask ourselves 'what do the cows want?'
It is that simple question that has led to the development of the world's first 'Waikato Feeder'. A bale feeder that is scientifically designed to add flavour to feed produced in the Waikato by incorporating the Red, Black and yellow colours that have become synonymous with the Waikato region.
For years it has been assumed that cows are just happy to be fed and are not selective or have any preference in what they eat. We decided to challenge this thinking by conducting a series of field tests whereby a small group of heifers were asked to choose between feed that was served from a standard feeder, and one painted in the colours that represent their natural environment.
"The results were startling, time and time again the cows preferred the feed from the coloured feeder, it really did enhance their meal."
Johan Laudofkrapp - Head scientist, FL labs.
This finding led us to conceive that there was something more to how food was dished up on the farm, we decided to investigate further by conducting a blind taste test to see if the colours had an emotional effect or whether taste itself was a factor.
No. 263 was secured with a head scarf and asked to choose between two windrows of the same feed fed out by different machines, one painted in Waikato colours the other in standard red or a combination of other colours.
"We were just blown away with how emphatically she went for the same one every time, we tried a variety of colours, green, blue, purple etc but for some reason Waikato always came out on top."
Darran lighthead - colour technician FL labs.
The results were conclusive. Cows, like humans have developed a need for an identity, they want to belong to something larger than the herd. The Waikato Feeder is a giant leap not only for farmers, but for all of cowdom.
Johan Laudofkrapp "The results were startling"
Darran Lighthead creating the base coat of the Waikato feeder.
No.263 during blind taste testing.
The final creation after months of testing