In 2016 the Evans family of Llwyn Goronwy farm, near Llanrwst, North Wales was looking to install a new milking parlor. 3rd generation farmers and brothers Elgan and Gareth Evans wanted to reduce the time it took for them to milk their herd, with the desire to do so with only one-person.
Their spring block calving system, milking about 300 Jersey Cross grazing cows was taking 4 hours to milk, twice a day and required two people. Getting the cows back out to grass as fast as possible after milking is vital to them.
But most of all, we were impressed how happy and content the cows and operators were.” - Elgan Evans, Dairy Farmer, North Wales (UK)
“We initially were looking at putting in a 30:60 herringbone parlor, because we thought that a rotary was going to be out of our price range” said Elgan “But after looking at various makes and getting some ideas on design and receiving a few quotes, it became apparent to us that this was definitely the way to go, as you could easily and quickly milk a large number of cows. But most of all, we were impressed by how happy and content the cows and operators were.”
With an existing shed that could be utilized, it also meant that they did not have to erect a new dairy. They could simply optimize their existing shed, as it was enough to accommodate a 40-point rotary. “We can use the existing collecting yard as well, and that will be extended once the old parlor has come out.” He said planning for the future.
After looking at a few different manufacturers they decided to go for a GEA iFLOW 40-point rotary, because of the strength of the double beam system. The fact that the iFLOW uses nylon rollers and stainless-steel troughs meant that maintenance and running costs would be kept to a minimum. In addition, they selected higher automation options including iCR cluster removers, with cow retention straps, keeping cows on the platform for another rotation if they haven’t finished milking, or have kicked the cups off. The iPUD’S on platform teat sprayer and leg spreader, a variable speed milk pump to pump the milk slowly and gently through the plate cooler, and the cluster drop-down feature meaning that the clusters drop to go under the bridge preventing the cows from tangling with the rubber tubing when they are coming on or backing off the platform.
Goal: Having one person to manage the milking process
One of their most important considerations when going for an automated solution was to meet their goal of having only one person do the milking. “We plan to have two people when the cows are freshly calved, also when we are doing the artificial inseminations and segregating for pregnancy diagnosis. But the rest of the time we want one person to manage the milking process”. Elgan explains.
With the first milking in April 2017 the cows went through even easier than expected and from the first unit going on, until the last it only took two and a half hours. “Now we only take about one hour and twenty minutes to milk all 300 cows, and with just one person. We are very pleased that we opted for a rotary parlor as it has made life a lot easier. We have much more time in the day to get all the other jobs done.” A delighted Elgan said.
Evans family of Llwyn Goronwy farm are happy with their new parlor and as a sure sign of a good decision, they have reported that their cows are enjoying their new milking environment. “As we do not have any kickers anymore, and rarely do they have any cows dunging in the parlor.” Reported Elgan.