Farm Ireland

Monday 23 October 2017

'Big surge in milking equipment demand this summer' say suppliers

Dairymaster's 'MooMonitor' app can alert farmers when animals are coming in-calf or battling the early stages of disease
Dairymaster's 'MooMonitor' app can alert farmers when animals are coming in-calf or battling the early stages of disease
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

Milking machine suppliers are reporting big surges in demand this summer against crippling labour shortages in the dairy sector.

Some leading national dairy equipment firms are experienced a 20-25pc increase in orders, compared to the same time last year.

Another major international player also recounted a "significant rise" in the number of new entrants coming into the sector.

Richard Kingston of Gascoigne Melotte, based in Athy, Co Kildare, claimed that orders are up 25pc.

He says the business boost is down to dairy expansion and poor price for beef and grain.

"Dairy is the only sector that is really making a decent return on investment.

"The demand is all over the country, it's not limited. Although the majority of our work is in the traditional dairy areas, the golden vale, Munster, there are people in the west of Ireland expanding too," he said.

Mr Kingston said average 20-unit parlours are big sellers at the moment. He also pointed out that new feeding systems trends have also emerged.

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"There seems to be a bigger trend towards feeding in the parlour driven by farmers with grant approval.

"Guys are putting in the batch feeding systems which are cheaper so most installations now are bought with some form of feeding," he said, adding that farmers are more interested in units with less technology.

"Labour shortages are becoming an issue for the big family-run operations who are milking 500 cows. They just want to get the cows milked as quick as possible and make sure that the machine is efficient," he said.

David Pearson of Pearson Ireland, also in Athy, Co Kildare, reported "a good increase" with milking parlours and herd management systems with at least a 20pc lift in domestic market this year.

"A lot of large scale dairy farmers are expanding and investing in rotary parlours and small farms are upgrading equipment.

"The main areas for new entrants coming into the dairy sector seem to be transitioning from sucker farms," he said.

In the parlour, Mr Pearson noted a hike in demand for automation, auto feeding, drafting systems and crowd gates, all aimed at facilitating cow flow.

"Systems for managing herd activity and health monitoring have also become very popular purely as a management tool to increase submission, conception rates and monitor animal health with minimal labour," he said.

David Evans, DeLaval capital sales and country manager for the UK and Ireland said the dairy and farm machinery company is seeing continued strong demand in Ireland across all geographic areas.

"We are also seeing a significant number of new entrants coming into the sector," he said.

A Dairymaster spokesman said farmers are "looking to technology now more than ever" and highlighted strong demand for their MooMonitor+ system, Swiftflo Commander and SwiftCool Milk Cooling Tanks.

"The MooMonitor+ system is the ultimate management tool that gives a farmer accurate information at their fingertips. It can potentially save a farmer with a 100-cow herd up to €18,000 in a year," he said.

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