Public concern about housing cows in sheds should not include animal welfare issues, says a South Otago farmer who has built two sheds to winter 400 dairy cows.

Stephen Korteweg estimates up to 10 sheds have been built in South Otago in recent years as farmers get cows off paddocks over winter.

While not comparing his farming system with those proposed for the Omarama basin, Mr Korteweg said he had visited dairy farms in the United States and Europe where cows were housed most of the year, and the cows were happy, content and relaxed.

"Animal welfare was not an issue. The cows are looked after, they are well fed and looked content. It is people's perception and emotion rather than the fact," he said.

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