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Milking Parlour Location


As we move in to the quiet time of the year you may be planning on updating or constructing a new milking parlour. A milking parlour is a significant investment on any farm and takes careful consideration. Teagasc dairy specialist Patrick Gowing gives advice on planning the location of your parlour.

Getting other peoples opinion and visiting other parlours is always very useful when looking at a new parlour. It is always important to make sure the proposed milking parlour location follows as many of the guidelines as possible. These guidelines when followed make it easier to plan the location of your parlour and future proof it for the next generation.

The main guidelines to follow are:

The rule of Three

There are 3 main movements on any dairy farm:

  • The milk lorry
  • tractor movements in the yard
  • cows moving to and from grass to the parlour.

In a well-designed parlour location none of the 3 movements should cross over each other. By doing this another of activities can happen around the farm at the same time while not interfering with each other. For example a farmer could be bringing cows into milk, the milk lorry be collecting milk and another person feeding out silage as a buffer in the sheds all at the same time.

Expansion lines

Good design should allow for future development. While you may have no intention of increasing your herd size it is always advisable to allow for the “what if” scenario. Make sure nothing is constructed behind the parlour to allow for the holding yard to develop. A similar plan should be put in place for cubicle sheds as to not box yourself in.

Three turns and in

To improve cow flow from grass it is important to minimize the amount of times the herd has to turn on the way into the parlour. In a Greenfield scenario we try to design the parlour and road network where the cow never has to turn more than 3 times and this includes cows turning onto the road network from the field. This will speed up the movement of cows into the parlour.

Cross compliance

Minimize the amount ot time cows walk on open yards. If you can associate your cubicle shed with your milking parlour it will mean the cows when in the yard are moving on controlled concrete.

The above guidelines are shown in the lets talk dairy webinar where Stuart Childs and Patrick Gowing explore parlour location and what to look out for