“We’re milking 100 cows in an hour, and before we were milking 60 cows in an hour and 20 minutes; so the parlour has been a big time saver for us.”
Dale Martin and his son, Ian, were looking for a way to keep their farm profitable and ready for the next generation. In the process, they were able to improve both cow comfort and efficiency in their 120-cow herd.
Starting out milking in tie-stalls,Margrove Farms of Elmira, Ontario, has been in the Martin family for a century. Dale and Ian make up the third and fourth generations and recently completed a big transition into a compost pack barn with a DeLaval Parlour milking system HB50 with MidiLine™ ML3100 automation.
The double-12 parlour provides plenty of room to milk the herd at its current size, but also has room to add more cows, and being in a pack barn gives the flexibility for growth. “The main reason to go to a parlour is it allows us to expand the herd,” Dale says. “It’s far more efficient labor-wise, and the barn was old and tired – it was time to move into a new facility.”
In their new facility, the Martins use DelPro™ farm manager and the DeLaval activity meter system. Dale says these solutions help with timely detection of heats and sick cows, improving food safety. “It’s another set of eyes on our farm to detect the sick cows. It’s an extra measure we can take to make sure those treated cows are not getting milked into the line and contaminating the milk,” Dale says.
Having achieved their common goals in cow comfort, efficiency and profitability, Dale and Ian are confident that these updates will make for a smooth transition and keep the farm in the family for the next century.
“We can quickly milk our cows, and they can get back to eating and resting,” Ian says. “With our swing parlour here, the cows are very calm while they’re being milked, and very relaxed, which allows them to have good milk let-down and low stress in the parlour.”