David and Andrew Green
The installation of a new parlour has had such a positive impact on the herd and staff at Hulse Heath Farm near Northwich, that David Greenís only regret is that he didnít modernise his tenanted dairy farmís milking facilities years ago.
David Green farms with his brother, Andrew, at Lach Dennis near Northwich in Cheshire. Together they run a 240 cow dairy herd plus 80 followers on 500 acres of tenanted land.
Until June 2015 the herd was milked through a 14:14 jar parlour that was bought second hand and installed in a traditional barn which has now been converted to straw yard accommodation for calvers, with the farm’s milking infrastructure replaced by a modern 14:28 swing-over facility located in a new, purpose-built shed.
"The outgoing parlour was already 15 years old when we installed it back in the early 1980s," David describes, "milking 200 cows twice a day through such an outdated parlour was almost killing us. We were spending more than 16 man hours per day on milking alone".
"We took our time to select the right parlour and to get the design and layout of the new parlour building just right," David describes. In the end, the Greens constructed a new shed that houses a Fullwood Streamline 24:48 swing-over parlour, cow handling races, farm office, bulk tank, cooling equipment and dairy ancillaries.
The new parlour keeps two operators at their maximum work rate and allows each milking to be completed within two hours including washing down. As well as saving time and reducing energy consumption, the parlour has also changed the way each cow is managed.
"The new parlour and pedometers generate such a huge amount of data that we’ve only scratched the surface of its capability," David says. "There’s a lot for us to learn about how we can use the data to improve performance, but we’ve already seen a huge increase in production."
That improvement equates to a 30% increase in productivity, with average daily cow yields rising from 22 litres per day through the old parlour to 29 litres per day through the new facility.
"We’re using the same amount of feed, but, thanks to the parlour’s Crystal herd management software, we are now able to target feed more effectively so that the high yielders receive a bigger ration, while stale cows receive less," David continues.
"I wish we’d made the investment years ago," David remarks. "The daily routine is much less frantic and therefore more enjoyable for everyone involved. We’ve even got to the point where we’ve started to think about increasing cow numbers – something we couldn’t have even contemplated this time last year.
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