Rotary or herringbone milking parlour? One of the country's largest dairy farmers on which he'd install
'We laughed when someone suggested a rotary parlour - it was definitely outside our budget'
Patrick Hickey farms with his wife Elaine and brother John with two dairy farms in the midlands and three other brothers involved in dairying.
He is one of the speakers at the Teagasc International Agricultural Workforce Conference where labour efficiency and people management will be addressed.
Labour productivity is a critical issue that is currently (and will, into the future) impact on the sustainability of dairy farm structure and the industry as a whole.
It is also an important factor influencing the economic performance of farming enterprises. In seasonal based production systems almost 50pc of the annual workload on farms occurs during the period of calving and breeding.
Pat will detail the operation of a 30-point herringbone parlour on a 100ha farm in Westmeath for almost 10 years and a 40-point rotary parlour on a 169ha farm at Fortview, Roscommon for four and a half years.
The partnership purchased Ardnacranny Farm in Westmeath in 2005 and he moved from Kilkenny with 220 heifers in January 2006 and commenced milking in a 10-unit double-up parlour. They spent about €5,000 getting it into working order until we could get a new parlour built.
However, as the existing yard was at one end of the farm, they decided to move to a centrally located Greenfield site for the new parlour on the 100ha milking platform.
"We were planning on carrying 300 cows, so we put in planning for a 30-unit herringbone parlour. As we had high borrowings due to purchasing the farm, we put in a very basic 30-unit De Laval swing over with duo-vac to allow it to be operated by one person when required, which happens to be most of the time.