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Benefits of having a relief milker this summer

Benefits of having a relief milker this summer

It is common for dairy farmers to employ someone to just complete a number of milkings each week. In this article, Teagasc Dairy Specialist Martina Gormley outlines the benefits this can bring.

Benefits can be seen from the average herd size and above. For the average herd size operator, who requires part-time help, relief milkings by and large are working well. Table 1 below looks at what time can be freed up from a number of relief milkings. For example, for around €10,000 of wages, you could get in around 200 milkings if at eighth rows or below.

Table 1: Example of part-time help. Number of relief milkings, wages and total time freed up

Total wages€5,000€10,000€15,000€20,000
Number of milkings 100 200 300 400
Percentage of milking 15 30 45 62
Hours saved 200 400 600 800
Milkings per 46 weeks 2 4 6.5 8.7
Total time freed up to take time off or do other work 1 day/week 2 days/week 3 days/week 4.5 days/week

The four milkings per week or 200 per year for around €10,000 may or may not seem like good value. It may seem expensive to some when divided by the length of time it takes to milk the cows. However, there is potentially two days that the farmer could take time off and/or get other big tasks done, particularly in the summer months.

When taking time off the challenge can be that the relief milker may not want to or have time to check replacement heifers. For some, there is family members who can do herding of young stock or a local farmer/neighbour might also be an option.

Another key benefit is that you have someone who knows your farm and parlour. In the event that you are sick etc., at least there is one person that can be called upon. Where to find milkers is commonly asked. Farmers find that students, drystock farmers and neighbours can work well for part-time work on dairy farms.

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