“The HBR rotary gives us the ability to see our cows daily. We wanted a barn we could operate as efficiently as possible but still have direct contact with our cows.”
The MacDonald brothers of PondsEdge Farms upgraded their double-8 milking parlor to a 30-stall DeLaval herringbone rotary HBR so they could expand their herd for the future generation while taking good care of their cows.
PondsEdge Farms has maintained its place in Little Pond, PEI, since the 1840s. Originally a small, mixed-use farm, the MacDonald brothers, Kent, Robert and Michael, recently expanded the dairy from 200 milking cows to 375 registered Holsteins while also farming about 1,500 acres.
Citing good industry prospects, a love for dairy farming and the option to keep the farm going for the next generation, the MacDonalds installed a 30-stall DeLaval herringbone rotary HBR in April of 2017. “You have constant vision of the cows being milked,” Michael MacDonald noted of the internal rotary design, adding that it’s also more comfortable for the cows and milkers. The MacDonalds hired only one new employee to help manage the workload. Beside the brothers, they have four full time employees.
Efficiency mixed with top-notch animal care is the recipe for the MacDonald’s success. The family uses DelPro 5.1 farm management software to run all milking, ID, activity and sort gate systems. “We use the sort gate for breeding purposes, preg checks, hoof trimming visits and sick cows. The activity system is catching heats really well, so we’re not missing as many as before,” said Michael.
The new 340-stall freestall barn outfitted with four swinging cow brushes is also keeping their cows calm and comfortable. A mixture of straw, limestone and water is used for bedding and later spread with manure on the fields. The R20 insulation value of the wood-beam barn, together with eight foot skylights and ridge vents, provide a lot of natural light and good air quality.