Low-cost milking parlor alternatives is topic of next technology webinar

Published on 26 May 2010

Implementing low-cost milking parlor alternatives will be the topic of the next “Technology Tuesdays” webinar series offered by Penn State Dairy Alliance. The free online program will be held June 8 from 8:30 to 10 a.m., EDT. The live webinar session will feature two presentations that explore parlor alternatives and the economics of harvesting milk.

Dan McFarland, agricultural engineer with Penn State Extension, will present “Low-Cost Milking Parlor Alternatives.” Milking parlors can make more effective use of labor and improveoperator comfort. Simple, relatively low-cost milking parlors may allow small- to medium-size dairies to more easily expand and/or transition from a tiestall to a freestall and parlor system within a tight budget. In addition to milking parlor types and arrangements, McFarland will also discuss design considerations, parlor performance and limitations.

Brad Hilty, information management specialist with Penn State Dairy Alliance, will present “Evaluating Parlor Economics Using Milk Harvest Costs.” The cost of owning and operating a milking parlor is a considerable expense on all dairy farms. Capital investment impacts ownership costs, while labor is a primary determinant of operating costs. Using milk harvest cost to evaluate parlor economics can help determine if a milking system alternative will positively or negatively impact dairy farm profitability. Hilty will review data collected on the milk harvest costs of different milking systems.

Technology Tuesdays will be offered this summer by Penn State Dairy Alliance, a Cooperative Extension initiative. The webinar series is designed for dairy producers, dairy managers, and agribusiness professionals. “In the next five to 10 years, many of our Pennsylvania dairies will be faced with the challenge of either modernizing or expanding their business model. Existing and emerging technologies will play a big role in that process and every dairy producer must think about the risks and benefits that technology adoption will have for his or her business,” explains Hilty. “Whether a producer is considering adding a biogas digester, a robotic milking system, mechanical ventilation, or heat abatement system, he or she must understand the financial, technical and operational risks that will be encountered,” notes Hilty.

Although there is no fee to participate in this program, advance registration is required. To register, call the Dairy Alliance office at (888) 373-7232 or e-mail . Participants must have a high-speed Internet connection and speakers on their computer in order to see and hear the presentation. More information is available at

—From Penn State Dairy Alliance news release



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