Farmer/owner: Ken Craig
Farm location: Ballyclare, Co Antrim
Farm name: On Collin Road
Herd: 70 Montbeliarde, Fleckvieh and Holstein Friesian
Milking system: Fullwood 8:16 HB50
Date of installation: April 2016
Ken with his wife Margaret and their son Stefan started to milk in their new parlour on 8th April 2016 after it was installed by Fullwood dealer, John A Mackey Dairy Services.
Ken first milked on his parent’s farm in Northern Ireland before he moved to Scotland. He then purchased a farm near Ballyclare twenty years ago and he returned from Scotland with his wife and son.
When Ken and his family moved into the farm, Ken ran a successful beef farming business. After 30 years of moving away from dairy farming, he decided he wanted to return to milking.
When Ken’s decision was made, he started to research suitable milking systems for the size of dairy herd he wanted to have. He built a new farm building to house the milking parlour. This was built next to an existing building used to house beef cattle which has now been converted into cubicles for the dairy cows.
Ken said “one of the main reasons I chose a Fullwood parlour was because it would be manufactured in Britain and therefore any parts I require will likely be easier to get than importing from another country”.
Ken continued “the price of the parlour was competitive with other milking systems manufacturers and I prefer the shape of the stalling in the Fullwood HB50 parlour, compared to other parlour types, as it ensures the cows stand in a better position for us to attach the milking clusters to them”.
Ken purchased his dairy cows from a herd which was averaging around 7,000 litres of milk per cow per year. As the family have only been milking since April this year, they do not yet have a comparable figure. However, they are aiming to increase the former annual yield to 8,000 or even 9,000 litres in the near future.
The family continue to rear pedigree angus beef alongside their dairy business.