Based in Longford, Ireland, Mike and his son Michael manage the farm together, milking 200 pedigree Holstein cows twice daily. “Labour is one of the biggest constraints in farming today” notes Mike. “We felt that by putting in a rotary system, we would leapfrog all of the labour issues quite quickly.
“Are we classically of the size that would have a rotary parlour? No, we’re small. But, for us, labour efficiency outweighs capital cost and we have absolutely no regrets about going this route.” Michael worked in New Zealand prior to joining the family business back in Ireland. He came to appreciate the faster throughput, labour efficiency and better control over the cows that came with a rotary milking platform.
Mike and Michael agreed they wanted a system that was simple to operate, robust, reliable and had a proven track record. GEA’s iFLOW Rotary Parlour (New Zealand designed and manufactured) ticked those boxes. It also came with good recommendations from other local farmers, says Mike. The Magans also recognised GEA to have an international reputation for excellence.
In 2018, they installed a 40-bail GEA iFLOW with automated cow restraints, iCR intelligent cluster removers and iPUD automatic teat spray applicators. They also installed a GEA milk tank and the AutoSelect 5000 3-way drafting gate. “Since we’ve been operating with the iFLOW, we don’t do things differently, we simply work more efficiently. All the things we did in a more laboursome way in the past are streamlined” observes Mike.
Where the cows were standing on concrete for 7-8 hours of the day, they’re now there for only 2 hours. And, where they were milking 50 cows an hour, they now have the capacity to milk 200 cows in the same timeframe.
Mike and Michael have also realised unforeseen efficiencies with the iFLOW rotary; it provides great opportunities for doing other things like tail painting and insemination. Plus, the cows need no encouragement to enter the rotary, they simply walk on (are locked in automatically) and reverse off when released.
Another bonus is improved water efficiency. Water comes from a well to cool the milk. The same water is collected and used to hose down the plant, collected again and used to flood wash the yard.
“We’re very happy we chose GEA” concludes Mike. “They are a good company to work with and the system has given us the better quality of life we were after.