The Irish milking parlour milking thousands of cows in the desert

The 100-unit custom built Dairymaster milking parlour
The 100-unit custom built Dairymaster milking parlour
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Kildareman John Dore looked to the real kingdom of Kerry to build and design Baladna’s rotary milking parlour in the kingdom of Qatar.

He's the Irishman helping Qatar import 10,000 cows into the Gulf state so it can be produce enough dairy to counter the embargo other Middle Eastern countries have put on it.

Baladna notified Kerry company Dairymaster in June that it wanted a rotary parlour ready for July.

Dairymaster got to work on the job and the parlour was shipped over in four separate containers from Shannon and the Netherlands.

“It was flown over in containers by air freight which is quite unusual,” says International Business Manager Fergus O’Meara. “It was a special plane. Some was shipped from the Netherlands as they wanted it quicker.”

The parlour has 100 units and is designed for 24-hour milking. It means the number of cows per worker is 75 compared to 45 in neighbouring Middle Eastern countries.

John Dore leading the way on an open day at the Baladna Farm
John Dore leading the way on an open day at the Baladna Farm

“It has automatic teat spraying and cross air conditioning. It is built for milking around the clock. It is expensive but has to work in 50° heat,” added Mr O’Meara.

“A team from Kerry worked with the Qatari team to put the machine together as they were in such a hurry to get it running and obviously from the point of view of the heat their guys out there would know the best way to work in that,” he said.

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Baladna currently produces 25 tonnes of milk per day but the parlour will help John reach Baldana’s target of being able to produce 100 tonnes of milk by mid-December.

The retail price of Baladna milk is 9.50 Qatari Riyal per litre which is the equivalent of 23c per litre. This is compared to the retail price of 18 Qatari Riyal for imported milk from the UK.

John explained that the cows are kept in state-of-the-art sheds which are cooled to 25°.

They’re fed a total mixed ration — 42pc forage and alfafa is imported from southern and northern hemispheres.

“The world is your oyster over here as money is not an issue, so we import the best.”

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