Farmer/owner: Brian and Brian Weatherup (Father and son)
Farm location: Crossgates, Cowdenbeath, Fife
Farm name: Parkend Farm
Herd: 160 Holstein Friesian cows
Milking system: Four Fullwood M²erlin robots
Date of installation: March 2017
The Weatherup family have recently replaced their 14 year old Fullwood parlour with four Fullwood M²erlin robots and their start to robotic milking proved so successful, they confidently sold, dismantled and sent their Fullwood 30×30 herringbone parlour to a farmer in Ireland within 10 days.
The M²erlin robots are the third Fullwood milking system to have been installed at Parkend Farm and Brian and his son have only ever used Fullwood milking equipment.
The family moved from Northern Ireland to West Lothian in 1972 before moving to Parkend Farm in Fife in 1990. There was a Fullwood 12×12 herringbone parlour which had been installed in 1955 and was noted to be ‘the first milking parlour north of the Forth road bridge’. The parlour hadn’t been used for 13 years but Brian was able to update it to start milking. This parlour was upgraded again in 1990 but replaced in 2004 by a 30×30 herringbone parlour installed by McCaskie Agriculture.
The Weatherup family started to research options to remove the issue of not being able to employ relief milking staff. Brian said “one of our main reasons for changing to robotic milking was the shortage of available relief milkers when we required them. As it’s only the two of us, having the cows being milked robotically allows us to be more flexible, especially at the weekends”.
He added “We visited the Fullwood factory in 2016 and seeing M²erlins being made and on farm definitely helped us in making our decision”.
All four M²erlin robots have been installed into an existing building modified to include a meeting room above two of the robots and a viewing area looking out over the robots and cubicles.
The M²erlin robots were installed by McCaskie Agriculture and both Brian’s say “they are definitely our favourite choice of dealer and we didn’t hesitate in choosing them for our conversion to robotic milking”.
“The robots have had a great performance so far and we’ve had a 10% increase in yields in the first three weeks of milking. We are chuffed to bits as each cow is now averaging 37 litres and 3.5 milkings a day”.
“As well as the yield increase, the robots are already helping with our work life balance and this will only improve. We have gained 5 hours between the two of us each day, so this enables us to spend more time on cow health and nutrition. The milking is much easier to manage.”
“Overall, it’s so far so good and we are all very pleased with them!”