The milking parlour is at the heart of every dairy farm and it’s a crucial traffic junction that has to be negotiated at least twice a day.
Replacing a milking parlour can have huge benefits, as Michael Booth and his son Michael discovered when they installed a new DeLaval MidiLine milking parlour on their farm in Heath, Co Laois.
The Booths currently milk 150 Holstein Friesian cows and their new parlour has already made a huge difference on their farm.
In 2018, the Booths took the decision to replace the eight-unit swing-over parlour that they’d been using for over 30 years.
“Work efficiency was the key factor we looked at when investing in a new parlour,” explains Michael. “Our old parlour was terrible, the cows were standing too long and it took over three hours to milk in the morning and evening. It was really hard on the people milking too.”
Once the family had decided to make the change, they visited a number of farms to research different parlour brands and set ups.
“We looked at most of the parlour brands on the market. The main thing for us was the service man and how user friendly the machine was.”
The Booths eventually settled on a 20-unit DeLaval MidLine 2100 swing over parlour with a feeding and cooling tank, which was fitted by a local DeLaval dealer.
“We liked the DeLaval machine,” explains Michael. “It has a nice finish to it and it’s easy to use, it was priced competitively, and our local DeLaval dealer E.C Pratt has excellent service.”
Space has also been left for an additional four milking units and other features can be easily upgraded if needed.
The DeLaval MidiLine ML2100 is the ultimate low input, high throughput, batch milking system and one of the most popular DeLaval milking parlours for Irish grassland farmers.
“This is a very practical parlour and cost-effective parlour for farmers,” says Gary Edwards, conventional milking system solution manager for DeLaval in Ireland and the UK.
“With a parlour like this, one operator can easily milk the cows. With a swing-over parlour, it’s all about optimising the use of the clusters and making sure they are all in use, compared to other parlour types like a double up – the MidiLine parlour has a quick return on investment.”
Since investing in the new parlour, it has made a huge difference to operations on the Booth farm. They were able to bring in an additional 30 cows and there are plans to increase the herd to 180 by 2021.
Milking is no longer the time-intensive process that it once was, making a huge difference to their working day. Today, the Booths start milking at 6:45 in the morning and 4:30 in the evening, with Michael noting that they rarely work past six o’clock in the evening anymore.
“The new parlour changed our lifestyle completely,” says Michael. “It now takes just over an hour to milk the cows in the morning and one hour in the evening, all cleaned down. It is so much easier for the cows and a better way of life for us.”
The new building, which houses the parlour, provides more light and has a much better airflow. At the front of the parlour, Michael has installed a roller door which he opens during milking. This helps to encourage the cows in and out of the parlour as they can see outside. Now they can load the parlour side in under two minutes and start attaching the cluster as the first cow is in position. When the whole side has finished milking, the cows exit the parlour in under one minute.
The new drafting system is another time-saving feature that has made life much easier for the Booths.
“We had very little automation before but I love the drafting system,” adds Michael. “It is a great tool - we have three way drafting. It’s wonderful if you want to AI and have sick cows to treat. They can be drafted separately. It has made managing the cows easy and safe for both man and beast.”
The new parlour has completely changed the Booths’ lifestyle for the better, giving them more time to focus on other tasks like animal health and grassland management. They have also seen an increase in yield and a huge reduction in SCC and TBC.
DeLaval is a worldwide leader in milking equipment and solutions for dairy farmers, which are used by millions of dairy farmers around the globe every day.
If you are thinking about investing in a new parlour or upgrading your current parlour, DeLaval have a wide network of dealers throughout Ireland. To find out more about DeLaval products and services, visit the DeLaval website.