Before we get to the mechanics of setting up a new milking parlour, let’s look at the reasons why you should set up such parlours.
The primary reason for starting a milking parlour is to get more produce out of your stock. Even with a small milking parlour, you can milk more cows per hour than a regular farm.
Another reason is that the milk quality improves when the stock has a daily routine for milking. Not to mention the better working conditions that the labourers will enjoy.
However, it is significant to keep in mind that the milking parlour is only a part of the whole milking centre. Your milking centre should also have things like a return lanes, utility room, and animal retention area to name a few. And, your milking parlour needs to fit in with all these things.
The following six considerations will help you build a milking parlour that suits all your needs.
Before anything else, consider how much building your milking parlour will cost you. You will need a milking centre building, which will house the milking parlour and office, utility room, and milk house equipment which will include milk storage tanks, refrigeration systems, milking equipment, and manure handling and storage. Compare the cost of all these things with your budget and plan the project accordingly. A small milking parlour will generally have a pipeline milking system without any automation.
The next thing on your list should be the time needed daily for milking. Consider things like average milk-out time, detach and post dip, milker operating efficiency, and equipment set-up and wash time. The average milk-out time is the time required to complete the milking cycle. Detach and post-dip is the time required to complete the tasks after the milking is done such as checking udders and unit removal time. Milker operating efficiency is the maximum efficiency that can be achieved by the operator. Equipment set-up and watch time is the time needed to set up the equipment and then wash it after the milking process is complete.
Barn density, number of cows to milk, average milk-out time, and feeding work per day are some of the other things you also need to take into account. Barn density is the measure of the number of cows you can fit in a barn. Average milk-out time includes the number of people who are actively involved in milking. Feeding work per day requires a separate set of labourers who are not involved in milking.
The depreciation on your building and equipment, repairs that may be needed on a regular and seasonal basis, taxes on the property, and insurance are other factors that will cost you a certain annual income.
You also need to determine how many cows your machine can milk in a day. This depends on your milking routine. Also, teat cleaning requires time that you need to include in this calculation. Ask yourself if the milker can successfully milk all your cows. The capacity of your milker should be based on your stock.
Do you already have a location in mind for your parlour? The ideal location for such a parlour should be around a grazing area. This way your cows can comfortably walk to and from the grazing area every day.
Planning and starting a milking parlour is a task that requires careful consideration of all the associated factors. A good harvest depends on the health of your stock and whether their milking capacities are being utilised to the fullest or not.
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