Farmer/owner: Mike and Amy Herridge
Farm location: Tissington, Derbyshire
Farm name: Bent Farm
Herd: 300 Pedigree Holsteins
Milking system: Fullwood 50pt Rotary Abreast
Date of installation: June 2016
Milking their 285 cows is a much less time-consuming commitment for Mike and Amy Herridge, thanks to the installation of a 50-point Fullwood rotary parlour. Despite moving to three times a day milking, the daily regime now takes less than half the time it used to take to milk twice a day.
Mike and Amy Herridge are second-generation tenant farmers at Bent Farm near Tissington. Their 300-cow pedigree Holstein herd calves all year round, with 285 cows always in milk. Until June 2014, the herd was milked through a 12:24 herringbone parlour which started life as a 6:12 jar parlour in 1969.
Mike explains, “the old parlour was a major constraint on our working day and was preventing us from spending time on other aspects of farm and herd management. We recognised that we needed to invest in new milking facilities, but realised that even if we extended the existing herringbone parlour, it still wouldn’t be possible to milk more than 100 cows per hour”.
Mike and Amy had two key goals from their new milking facilities: to reduce the time spent in the parlour and to move to three times a day milking.
“Milking three times a day is a huge commitment and makes managing a workforce that bit more challenging, but it is one of the most effective ways of improving milk yields and production efficiency, as well as being a significant benefit to cow health and welfare.”
Designing the new milking facilities started almost three years before the rotary parlour was finally installed and commissioned. The new parlour was installed by engineers from Fullwood dealer, Mark Bayley Ltd.
Grant funding was received from the Rural Development Council in recognition of the parlour’s energy saving items (variable speed pumps and heat recovery system) and features which have a direct benefit on cow welfare (handling system, vet races and footbath).
The first milking in the new parlour took place on June 3rd 2014. By the third milking the entire herd was happily loading onto the milking platform with minimal fuss and it now takes just an hour and three quarters to milk all 285 cows.
“We’ve made a significant financial commitment to our future careers in milk production,” Mike concludes. “It has been more than worth it as we now spend five hours less in the parlour each day, and milk output has already risen by more than 10%. We’re confident that figure will continue to rise which can only be good for the farm’s profitability and longevity.”