Having spent more than 30 years milking in the same dairy, believed to be one of the first herringbone dairies on the Fleurieu, Myponga dairyfarmer Geoff Hutchinson is thrilled to have a brand new upgrade with “all the bells and whistles”.
The 200-cow Windy Vale Holstein herd, owned by Geoff and his wife Louise, has gone from being milked in a nine-a-side herringbone to a new DeLaval P2100 Parallel Parlour 15-a-side herringbone, with the capacity to expand to 18.
Mr Hutchinson said the bigger dairy meant he could expand the herd to eventually milk up to 240 cows, with the ability to push the higher producing cows.
He said a major positive of the new dairy was the ability to adjust feed that was trickle-fed to the cows.
Specific grain rations are set to cows according to their time in lactation and current production and as each cow puts its head in the bales, its eartag – containing data to identify how much grain is fed – is scanned.
“Anything giving over 20 litres a day gets nine kilograms of grain and then it’s averaged down for the cows giving less or getting closer to drying off,” he said.
“But one of the features for me is it doesn’t drop (the grain) in one big hit, it feeds it out about 1kg a minute.”
Mr Hutchinson said the constant trickle of feed meant the cows were as settled as he had seen them because they were making less mess while in the dairy.
“They just sit there and chow down on grain and are very happy,” he said.
Also helping to create a cleaner dairy during milking time is a gutter that runs behind the cows to collect manure, which is cleaned out by an auto flush system.
Milking time has been halved due to a rapid exit system and auto drafting through with computer identification.
“It would take four hours milking in the old dairy, whereas now you get the first cups on by three so the cows are back out in the paddock by five,” Mr Hutchinson said.
As part-owner of Fleurieu Milk with the factory walking distance from the new dairy, Mr Hutchinson said there was a chance they would look into milking three times a day to cater for tours of school groups and tourists.