'A good set-up will also deliver on quality of life' - Tipp dairy farmer on his €1,000/cow parlour
It takes about 80 minutes to complete each milking on Joe Hennessy's farm with a new 16-unit Dairymaster Swingover Parlour for the 116 cow herd which he describes as "efficient and labour saving".
Joe has more than doubled his herd in the past seven years and with a young family and his wife in off-farm employment, he has no immediate plans for further expansion.
"I believe that there has to be some quality of life to the job and I'm finding that a good set up is a great help," he said of his decision to go for a green field development.
The outlay has been just shy of €1,000/cow, after the grant assistance, including the automatic cluster removers, in-parlour electronic feeding system, teat sprayer unit and air operated entrance and exit gates.
He drew the line at the more sophisticated add-ons, which he felt would not deliver enough to justify the additional outlay.
"It is very hard to get good reliable labour and I am extremely fortunate that I have an excellent young woman that is really dependable to take over when I take a day off, get a holiday break, or when the work load is heavy in the spring time," he said.
"This unit is just perfect for what I expected from it. It is operating well. I am aiming at getting the milking time back to an hour but it is not running more than 20 minutes over."
Teagasc specialist advisor, Tom Ryan told farmers attending the event on Joe's farm that "the more (add-ons) you have the higher the cost of maintenance, but most people can't manage without feeders and an auger system.