2016-10-12  facebooktwitterrss

New 70 Point Rotary Parlour Installed in Only 7 Days

Welsh dairy farmer, Seimon Thomas was amazed that it took the Dairymaster team of fitters led by dairy engineer Patrick Dineen from Causeway, Co. Kerry only five days to install his stainless steel state-of-the-art 70 point Swiftflo Rotary parlour and a 31,000 litre SwiftCool milk tank!

At Drysgolgoch, Llwyndrain, in north Pembrokeshire, Seimon and Eleanor Thomas have invested heavily in new infrastructure on their 700-acre dairy farm.

They are native Welsh speakers and employ four full time and two-part time staff. Liquid milk is supplied to Freshways in London on a contract.

dairy farmer and Shorthorn pedigree breeder Seimon Thomas, with his wife Eleanor and son Sion

dairy farmer and Shorthorn pedigree breeder Seimon Thomas, with his wife Eleanor and son Sion

The new hi tech parlour was installed in the summer of 2015 alongside a purpose-built calf rearing shed capable of housing around 200 calves at a time.

Colin Hancock Milking Machines Ltd is the Dairymaster dealer that looks after this parlour while Ted McGrath from Tipperary is the local Dairymaster Area Sales Manager.

The 730-head pedigree Dairy Shorthorn herd is split into two blocks, with 400 calving in the spring and the rest in the autumn.

The cows average an impressive 6,000 litres a year at 3.45% protein and 4.5% butterfat on a forage-based diet, with concentrates in the parlour.

Seimon is a well-known judge with the Dairy Shorthorn Society who have 373 members in Britain.

The family sell pedigree Shorthorn stock all over Britain and Ireland. Seimon says “it has taken us 20 years to expand to 700 cows.”

At the Great Yorkshire Show in 2016 a Dairy Shorthorn cow Churchroyd Peggy 19 took the inter-breed supreme after taking the breed championship at the show for the third time in a row.

It was also breed and inter-breed champion at Royal Cheshire for the third time running.

All calves are reared on the farm, with the heifers kept for breeding and the bulls sold at market or privately at about three weeks old.

His wife Eleanor is in charge of all the calf rearing and does a first class job.

All colostrum is collected and calves are bottle fed four to five litres within half an hour after birth.

They are then transferred to individual pens, where they are given two further feeds of first milk colostrum, before moving on to second or third milking colostrum, mixed with milk from the herd.

“The calves stay in single pens until they are strong drinkers and we know they are fit enough to go into a group,” says Eleanor.

The calves are moved into groups of 10 or 12 of similar age and fed three litres of milk twice a day for three weeks.

The second feed is then reduced over a week and for the next five weeks they are fed five or six litres of milk once a day.

Calves are weaned at nine to ten weeks, once they have doubled their birthweight and are eating about 1.5kg of meals.

Heifers enter the milking herd at two years old.

Seimon and Eleanor believe giving calves and heifers a good start in life with proper care and feeding will help manage and grow the farm business.

Before the Dairymaster rotary was installed they had a 12-unit double up parlour.

Seimon says “when we had a hundred cows it was fine but now we've grown up to over 700 cows it was taking far too long to milk the herd”.

“We went to the Dairymaster global headquarters in Ireland where they make over 90% of the products themselves.

They offered a very superior package with everything involved. Having stainless steel means that it will last forever.”

According to Seimon “the other competitors would take two or three months to install the parlour which would mean that we would have to be there far more time.

With Dairymaster it was ideal for us really and by the end of the week we had all the rotary installed.”

He went on to say that “at the start of milking everybody was excited about what was going to happen.

After only two milking’s all the cows were coming on fine. It’s unbelievable how the cows have adapted to the rotary from a herring bone.

Even better we have halved the milking time.”

Seimon said “previously we had one or two cows that were fidgety in the old parlour and now they just seem so settled in a rotary parlour.

I think it's the fact that they are on the move and they have their individual stalls which makes them more relaxed during milking time.”

The hi tech milking equipment includes the Award Winning Swiftflo Commander which has been compared to being like and IPad for cows which is the new brain of the milking parlour controlling everything to do with milking, feeding and animal health.

It offers a new level of intelligence that takes command of each milking unit within the parlour. Also installed are Automatic Cluster Removers, ClusterCleanse and On Platform Auto Teat Spraying and much more.

They have also incorporated the MooMonitor+ health and fertility monitoring system into the parlour as well which works very well with the drafting crate - very useful for AI services.

Dairymaster parlour

Dairymasters MooMonitor+ App has been awarded the top honour for Innovation at this year’s UK Dairy Day.

Previous awards for the MooMonitor include the Farm Business Cream Awards in the UK, the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, the Alföldi Állattenyésztési Napok show in Hungary and the National Ploughing Championships in Ireland.

Seimon went on to say that “with the MooMonitor+ App all the bulling cows are drafted automatically for us.

After installing the MooMonitor+ system, the value for money is incredible.

We’ve been using it for a year now and all the cows are being picked up. It also picks up cows that aren't very well, so that is valuable too.”

They have enough capacity for future expansion with a 31,000 litre Dairymaster milk tank.

The compressors are running for a very short time, only a couple of hours in the middle of the night.

The milk in the tank is nice and cool at 3.5ºC by the end of milking?.

The quality of life for the Thomas family and their staff is much easier. Cows are lying down more hours in the day then they are standing in the collecting yard.

Seimon rightly says that “these days you need to make farming more attractive for young people.”


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