Milking automation key to dairy operation’s redevelopment

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25 Nov, 2019


Centrus Composite Rotary the first of its generation to be installed in Australia, for AAG Investment Management.

A delicious hamburger “with the lot” is the way Australian farmers are being encouraged to view the features and advantages of the first Centrus Composite Rotary in South-West Victoria.

That’s the advice from Southwest Dairy Services Director Damian Loomans, who is leading installation of the Waikato Milking Systems parlour, for customer AAG Investment Management, at Port Campbell.

Damian said once completed, the 60-bail rotary parlour will be milking about 600 cows on Eastern Creek Dairy, a coastal, rural property overlooking the Southern Ocean. The new dairy development replaces an old double-up milking system, located about 100m away, which was proving to be time-consuming to use and difficult to maintain. Damian said the new Centrus will have several advantages over the Eastern Creek Dairy’s old double-up system. “The Centrus is made from composite material which means it is lightweight but incredibly strong.  It means there’s less wear on components and over time there’s less maintenance needed.”

More advantages will come with the milking automation technology fitted to the Centrus. It’ll reduce milking time and increase efficiency, Damian said. The ECR Plus system will control the electronic cup removers, the BailGate straps for cow retention and the Claw Drop function at the bridge. ECR Plus will also control SmartSPRAY, the automatic teat spray system. 

This level of automation means milking time can be a one-person operation, if needed. “But I think the real advantage is the data generated from the milking automation options, it’ll help the operator make better decisions for the herd,” Damian said.

Electronic Milk Meters will measure the flow rate and volume of each cow, while SmartD-TECT stimulates pre-milking routine and can alert for udder health problems. “It’s all about getting yield results from each cow, production levels, looking at the animals’ health and using data to automatically draft off animals.”

Work on installing the Centrus began in late October and the new dairy development was expected to be completed by the end of 2019 or earlier 2020. AAG Investment Management’s decision to use Waikato Milking Systems came after a trip across the Tasman. “We flew representatives of the company over to New Zealand in 2018,” Damian said.

“We visited the Waikato Milking Systems global head office and factory in Hamilton, and also visited a few dairy farms to see the company’s milking systems working.”

Damian said AAG was impressed with the company, its products and people. “It was really the way which Waikato Milking Systems presented itself, right down to the general manager sitting down with the AAG representatives for about half an hour to get to know them. “I think they were blown away with that and we hadn’t even left to go back to Australia when they said they wanted ‘to build a new dairy farm with you’.” Damian said about two weeks later AAG called to confirm the project.

Damian said Waikato Milking Systems had installed other Centrus Composite Rotary parlours in Australia over the past five years. But he said the one at Port Campbell will be the first of the latest generation of Centrus rotaries to be installed in Australia. “And it is certainly the first Centrus ever to be installed in South West Victoria and will become a show piece for everyone involved.”