DAIRY farmers considering installing a second hand milking parlour
in a bid to save money could actually end up spending the same
or more than the cost of a brand new parlour if they don’t
do cost comparisons fully, a leading parlour manufacturer is warning.
Weigh up the costs of a second hand versus new milking parlour carefully, advises Chris Stevens of Fullwood, otherwise second hand could cost more than you expect.
According to Chris Stevens of Fullwood, although it might be tempting
for producers to consider a second hand parlour at present – given
the number of farmers leaving the industry – a key problem
can be the hidden costs of adapting a pre-owned parlour into a
new location, which can easily stack up.
The shear act of removing an existing parlour is hard to do without
damaging it, he stresses. Also, wear and tear incurred may not
always be obvious in situ. But unless components are re-assembled
in precisely the same way, this can cause problems. Similarly,
newer equipment may not be easily compatible with older parlours.
All these can result in extra adjustments or modifications being
required, he points out, adding significantly to costs.
“By the time a second hand plant has been removed, transported,
re-fitted and then made to work, it can work out at least as expensive
as buying a new plant,” Mr Stevens explains.
“Although it depends on the condition and complexity of the
parlour, a typical example to take out a basic 20/20 herringbone
could be £2,000-£3,000 and perhaps £10,000 to
re-install it. Added to this will be the costs of transport – with
the risk of damage – plus the cost of the parlour itself,
which could be £15,000 for something in good condition.
“This adds up to nearly £30,000 if one includes transport,
packing, and unpacking. The additional costs to put right parts
damaged in removal and transport are difficult to predict and the
first year's maintenance costs can be substantial.” There
are certainly cheaper second hand parlours available, he admits,
but they tend to be old or in poor condition and may rarely be
worth the investment long term, he suggests.
By comparison, Mr Stevens says a brand new parlour of a similar
type might cost from around £35,000 installed, but with this
usually comes warranty cover plus access to the manufacturer's
back-up and technical support.
In addition, with Fullwood offering finance schemes on new parlours
to make purchase easier, he says the decision to buy second hand
can look expensive for what producers might actually get.
“Future upgrades can also be easier with a new parlour. Old
parlours are often more expensive to update, particularly when
out-of-date software is still being used,” he points out.
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