Upgrading a milking parlour on a budget?


The thing I liked about it was that this wasn’t just a straight-forward new installation. We were adapting what we had, working in an existing building and it wasn’t a problem. It was easy to work with them. We’re milking about 270 cows at the moment. About 25% of that is autumn and the rest is
spring caving. We have a small liquid quota as well. The cow we look for is 1,300-1,400 gallons and good fats and proteins. We’ve been working on the constituents, keeping them up. This parlour here originally started out as an 8 unit and got extended out to 17 units. It had jars and was not a comfortable parlour to work in. The pit was too shallow, jars were in the way and it needed updating so… This year we decided to ‘take the bull by the horns’ and upgrade this parlour. About 10 years ago we expanded a bit and we built another parlour, a summer parlour away from the yard here. We don’t have winter accommodation at that parlour so this here, where we are now is the winter parlour, winter accommodation home-yard. Really what we wanted to do was make it more efficient, speed up the parlour and make it more comfortable. The other thing was for operator comfort. Guys weren’t happy in it, they were uncomfortable in it. We had a couple of different options, maybe take out the jars and go with what we had… but ‘in the heal of the hunt’ the simplest thing was to just rip everything out and start from scratch but, not go mad… We wanted to put in a very simple, straight forward parlour. In some instances we would have used second hand material, where possible. So the budget wasn’t too big and it’s not
high-tech. We’d like to put in Feed to Yield, Auto Cluster Removal… all that kind of thing. At some time in the future, any time in the
future, if we wish to we can do that. We’ve left room to do all that but that’s
not what was needed here. We just wanted to revamp, refurbish and come out with a more comfortable, better parlour to work in. The cows settled in very well. The other parlour is a sequential bailing
parlour. With this parlour here I was a little worried about whether the cows would actually come in and stand in… They’re very comfortable. They’re happy to come in. It works well. Working height is good. Anyone milking in the parlour is very pleased with it.
They’re happy. It’s easy to wash down.
It’s much cleaner than previously. Generally we’re very happy to work with it. The other change that we’ve made on this parlour is that we’ve put in a variable speed vacuum pump. The power consumption is definitely way down. We’re using roughly 12.5-13.5 amps. That’s what the motor is drawing. The previous model, it was 2 vacuum pumps drawing 18 amps each. I’d expect that to be a big saving somewhere in the region of 10-15%. Local service would be a big thing. Some of the other manufacturers don’t have a presence in the area and service is a big thing. They were very approachable, were able to do it and there was only a short window to do it in and we said ‘Let’s go for it!’ and we did and they delivered on time.

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