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Making your milking process more labour and energy efficient

On the third and final day from the Moorepark Open Day, this week’s Dairy Edge speaks to John Upton, Ryan Prendergast and Fergal Buckley from Teagasc to discuss the milking and energy use efficiency of herringbone and rotary parlours.

John firstly explains that rotary parlours are becoming common place on large scale dairy farms with in excess of 300 cows to complete the milking procedure in a timely manner.

Ryan outlines the milking efficiency achieved during the autumn with on average 105 cows milked per hour in a herringbone parlour (range 52-200), with an average of 10 rows of cows and completed by 1.5 labour units. Conversely, in the rotary parlour, 155 cows were milked per hour (range 78-189), with an average of 8 rotations and completed by 1 labour unit.

John concludes that good cow flow, facilities with no more than 8 rows/rotations and work organisation are factors that contributed to efficient milking practices.

Meanwhile, Fergal quantifies the cost of electricity per 1,000 litres of milk produced at €6.69 for herringbone parlours and €7.00 for rotary parlours.

When comparing the two milking systems, Fergal expects that higher costs incurred in the rotary milking systems is down to larger equipment and a greater level of technology and automation. Fergal explains that the cost is higher than that previously reported by John Upton and expects, when he measures the full lactation, that this will reduce.

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast go to the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thedairyedge