Upgrades: SmartSPRAY, BailGate straps, BailMate, ECR Plus, Rubber mats fitted to original deck, Waikato 320 Claw, SmartDRIVE, SmartPULS
"Waikato Milking Systems was utilised because we knew the products were robust and reliable"
A Waikato farm has successfully modernised its rotary dairy parlour bringing it into the 21st Century.
The farm’s dairy shed had a tired 40-bail steel-platform rotary which was the recipient of a refit from Waikato Milking Systems and its dealer, Qubik, during the winter of 2019.
It’s had a plant and technology upgrade, aimed at improving efficiency, usability and reliability.
Recurring problems with cup removers and pulsators at the 200-hectare dairy on Totman Rd near Hinuera, meant something had to change, the farm’s business manager Aaron Olesen said.
“It wasn’t uncommon to have two or three bails out of action with problems so it was a real let down,” he said.
In the end, the cup removers had to be disconnected to prevent continuing problems and planning for the future was required to improve efficiency.
The property is operated through a 50/50 sharemilking arrangement and with the owner’s support, it had an extensive improvement programme to now support 700 milking cows.
Aaron said the dairy had good yards and feed pad so rather than a complete rebuild, the options to refit the existing facilities were explored.
With guidance from Waikato Milking Systems and Qubik, a plan was made to replace the existing plant with new technology, introducing modern equipment to breathe new life into the old dairy shed.
Aaron and the farm owner had previous experience with Waikato Milking Systems. They were familiar with the high quality of the company’s equipment and technology, and its ability to provide support as necessary.
Aaron was looking for a solution which delivered reliability and efficiency for the farm’s current milking conditions while also providing the ability to upgrade in the future.
“Waikato Milking Systems was utilised because we knew the products were robust and reliable,” Aaron said.
“We chose a system that was upgradeable in the future. We can add more automation and technology when we’re ready or when the budget allows.”
Work on refitting the parlour began in June 2019 and was completed in July 2019.
The project involved removing the existing bails from the deck and fitting new bails. From there, the new plant and technology components were added.
Rubber mats were fitted on the stainless steel platform, to improve cow comfort, which has made a big difference at milking time.
The SmartSPRAY teat spray system ensures correct spray placement automatically and consistently at each milking, eliminating the need for manual spraying, making milking a one-person operation.
The ECR Plus - automatic cup removers - gave Aaron peace of mind that the cows’ teats wouldn’t be damaged when the animals finished milking.
“The ECR settings are easy to use and fully adjustable. You can watch how the cows are behaving in the parlour and fine tune your ECR and BailGate settings to perfectly suit the situation.”
Aaron said the cows took two or three milkings to get used to the new parlour.”
“I think the rubber mats on the deck improved the transition time and halved training time for heifers. Stepping on to the mats was comfortable and reduced noise so they settled more quickly.
“Previously, we almost had to lift the cows onto the old platform because they didn’t like standing on the steel deck.”
Prior to the upgrade it was taking 20 to 30 minutes to wash the milk tank manually, now it’s as simple as pushing a button and checking on it.
Aaron said milking in the old parlour required three people but now the cows are trained, that’s been cut back to two.
“We can now operate the parlour with two people comfortably, one person in the shed and the other bringing in the herd.
“We still employ the same number of people but there’s more workload flexibility now as we don’t have everyone tied to the shed. Staff are a lot happier because they’re getting more variety of work.”