Stuart and Sarah Crosthwaite are fifth generation dairy farmers on 1500 acres at Kergunyah South in Victoria. The farm had a 16 aside herringbone dairy and Sarah recalls it took around four hours twice a day to milk the then herd of 310 cows, “from the time they left the paddock to when they were back after milking.
“The old 16 aside dairy was over 100 years old; we’d renovated it as much as we could to the point where we couldn’t do anything more with it. It was taking four hours to milk 310 cows and we struggled to keep staff. Time management was also an issue; we had a young family and Stuart was spending all day in the dairy.
“We spent 18 months researching and looking at a lot of different dairies. When you get away from the people who are trying to sell them to you, and talk to the farmers who are working in them, you find out the pros and cons and it was pretty hard to get anyone who said anything negative about Waikato. We also wanted someone who could offer reliable service support and Waikato have a great back-up team with Nichol Dairy Services and Welding.”
The new 54 bail rotary with Electronic Cup Removers, Smart D-TECT (mastitis alerts), SmartSPRAY (automatic teat spray system) and SmartWASH (automated wash system) was completed in 2012.
“All components for the dairy turned up in a shipping container and within a month it was a moving platform. Waikato sent two guys over from New Zealand to oversee the build and commissioning of the system; they were fantastic.
“Our quality of life is so much better. When you tell people you’re a dairy farmer they often roll their eyes and say it must be tough. We have a beautiful dairy which we enjoy working in. It takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to milk 420 cows. We’re able to attract and keep staff and have people asking if we have a job going. We never had that before. We’ve got a safe environment for our kids with a staff room and they can run around on the top deck.
“We couldn’t be happier.”
|Herd Size||430 Cows|
|Dairy Type||Orbit Concrete Rotary|
|Plant Size||54 bails|