Farmer/owner: Mike & Eve Quinn
Farm location: Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Ireland
Farm name: Ballinwear
Herd: 70 Holstein Friesians
Milking system: Fullwood HB50 14:28
Date of installation: April 2014
Mike Quinn and his father, Tony, have historically milked their herd of 35 Holstein Friesians through a 5:10 herringbone parlour which was installed in the 1970s. But the old parlour, which was labour intensive and inefficient, had been outgrown by the herd, which has doubled in numbers. With each milking regularly taking more than two hours, and with his father needing to step away from milking duties, Mike has therefore invested in a 14:28 Fullwood HB50 parlour to reduce the amount of time spent in the parlour and to enable him to manage the herd single-handed.
The new 50 degree herringbone parlour at Ballinwear has been installed in a purpose built shed which also houses an 8,000 litre Fullwood Packo DX tank with iControl. The 70ft by 30ft building also contains a segregation pen and cow handling races for routine fertility and veterinary work.
The parlour was installed by Eddie Quinn and is fitted with automatic cluster removers (ACRs) which are operated by Fullwood’s Flowmatic Plus milking controllers. The new parlour also features Fullwood’s AugerMaster in-parlour feeders which can be used either individually per cow or to provide a batch-fed ration. It also provides future-proofing for automatically feeding to yield or speeding up batch loading through sequential feeding.
“The old parlour was very inefficient for the number of cows we are currently milking,” Mike explains. “We’ve bought a lot of heifers over the last two years, taking the herd to 70 cows. As a result we were carrying up to 20 buckets of meal into the parlour every day. That’s a lot of hard work and a lot of wasted time. The new parlour will make it quicker to milk the larger herd and will make it easier for me to manage the entire herd alone.”
Mike anticipates that he should be able to milk the herd’s 70 cows in under an hour and has plans to increase cow numbers to 80, using Norwegian Red genetics to improve milk solids and prevent cows getting too extreme in size.
“If we could rent more land we’d go up to 100 cows,” Mike explains. “The parlour could easily cope with that number of cows with one person milking. As it stands, we’ve only got enough land for 80 cows.”
Like many Irish farms, the Quinn’s land is fragmented with the farm’s total of 120 acres spread across three blocks of land. “We’ll feed the cows by zero-grazing the grass from our outlying land. It’s the simplest and cheapest way for us to produce milk and should work well.”
Mike is also confident that the new system will improve herd health and milk quality. “The new parlour has been installed professionally and is fitted with two-by-two pulsators which draw milk down from teats in pairs rather than all four at once,” he explains. “That gives a much softer milking action which prevents soft tissue damage to the teats. The cows will benefit and we should see an improvement in milk quality.
“I’m looking forward to starting the new parlour up for the first time and to many years of reliable, trouble-free milking.”