Niall Maloney milks 130 cows in the Borris region, Co Carlow. Prior to installing his current parlour, Niall was milking in what he described as “a very basic, outdated eight-unit parlour”. Milking at peak was taking up to 2.5 hours per milking, with 120 cows passing through the parlour, a total of 15 runs each milking. The decision was therefore made to do a major upgrade on milking facilities, with the use of TAMS aid.
The new parlour is in close proximity to the old one, but the addition of a new collecting yard and handling facilities meant it required a good deal of space around it. A 12-bay tank was fitted, with a 16ft 6in slat installed over it to act as a collecting yard and to hold parlour washings.
Holding the cows on slats has significantly reduced wash up time and the volume of dirty water produced for the Maloneys. At the minute, there is no backing gate installed but Niall said he would consider this in the future. There is also a 25ft tank with a 12ft 6in slat joined on to this, with both tanks 8ft deep. This gives a tank capacity of circa 713m³, or 156,838 gallons.
The availability of a local service technician was the major swinging point towards choosing a Boumatic Gascoigne parlour, stated Niall.
A 20-unit parlour was installed in a new shed, with the pit length extended to facilitate 24 units if required in the future. Currently milking 130 cows through the parlour, Niall said they had no need for extra units in the near future but the option to extend was always there should they expand cow numbers.
Going from a very basic parlour, Niall went for a high spec in the new parlour, including:
Niall lists the tombstone feeders as one of his favourite features in the new parlour: “Cows are perfectly presented for milking, with the cows at a 90° angle to you standing in the pit.” He said there is no impact on time cows spend entering or exiting the parlour and cows adapted quickly to the feeders. Batch feeders were installed alongside these, serviced by an existing 5t meal bin.
The one thing Niall did not spec on the parlour was a dump line as he felt that it was not necessary due to his management practices surrounding freshly calved cows.
Colostrum cows are batched together and milked at the end of milking, where the pipe is removed from the bulk tank and placed in a quad pulled milk trolley before being fed to calves. There are three drop down hoses fitted each side for preparing cows.
An Air Star dry variable vacuum pump is used, with Boumatic Gascoigne claiming the pump is highly efficient in comparison to oil-driven pumps.
Along with the soiled water tank and the parlour, a drafting/handling facility was constructed to one side of the parlour in the same roof area.
The project was significant in size in that it incorporated a large dirty water collection tank, a high-spec parlour and a handling unit.
The 20-unit parlour unit, feeders, autowash and all other accessories came to a total of €96,000.
Niall availed of a 40% TAMS aid on the parlour, receiving a full grant of €32,000, resulting in a net cost of €64,000, or €3,200 per unit.
Savings were made on the project by using the existing meal bin, as well as the 10,000l bulk tank that was in the previous parlour.
Overall, Niall is extremely happy with the project, with milking time having been significantly reduced from 2.5 hours down to 1 hour.
A backing gate, feed-to-yield and a dump line are all additional extras that may be installed in the future, but as yet Niall is happy with his current spec.