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Fully automated rotary parlor a first for North America

Progressive Dairyman Editor Karen Lee Published on 31 December 2014
Automated rotary parlor

Booth: DS61-64, DS75-78.GEA Farm Technologies

GEA Farm Technologies is bringing an automatic milking solution for large dairy producers to the North American marketplace.

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The DairyProQ will be officially launched at the 2015 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, in February.

“With the success that the box-style robotic milking modules have on more traditional dairies, GEA Farm Technologies knew that larger producers also wanted a way to address labor concerns and bring consistency into their milking process,” says Chris Genal, the company’s U.S. national sales manager for milking and cooling products.

“DairyProQ provides the ultimate in milking technology automation because the entire milking process is fully automated on a per-stall basis on a rotary platform. This means larger-scale dairies can have a viable robotic milking operation that brings them the high cow throughput of the rotary parlor combined with the automation technology to make the milking process in the parlor more consistent with much less labor,” he adds.

This new rotary parlor features individual, fully automatic, robotic milking stall modules. Each module is equipped with a robotic arm, which is capable of prepping, milking and post-dipping in one single attachment.

Teat prep (including pre-dipping), fore-stripping, stimulation, milk harvest and post-dipping are done in-liner. When finished, the unit is automatically removed and backflushed between milkings to sanitize the clusters between cows. Problem cows or special-needs cows can be milked on a semi-automatic (or manual) basis if required.

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With a robotic arm in each stall, the parlor is able to keep moving. It does not need to stop and start based on the speed cows are entering the parlor. The design also allows for an operator to attend to a cow at any point on the platform, as there is no security or attachment zone to restrict them.

milking machine

Similar to other automatic milking systems, producers who utilize this product will benefit from the consistency of the milking process. The equipment is also able to check for milk color and conductivity to monitor and help improve udder health.

“Automated milking helps to relieve many labor issues facing today’s dairies and allows dairies to put the labor force they do have to work managing and taking better care of their cows for better overall herd performance versus simply being tied to milking schedules,” Genal says.

This automatic rotary parlor may be the answer for dairy farms in those areas of the country where labor rates have skyrocketed or where labor is hard to find. It will allow a dairy to run an 80-stall rotary parlor milking 350 cows or more per hour with only one person in the parlor, compared to three or four people for a conventional rotary system.

A long-awaited product in the U.S., this particular concept was introduced in Europe in 2012. It was in development for many years with a substantial amount of research and development dollars behind it.

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“When it comes to automation, GEA Farm Technologies wants there to be no compromises for the dairy,” Genal says. “That is why we are proud to bring DairyProQ to the market – because it truly offers a solution for today’s commercial operation; they can reach the cow throughput numbers they need to achieve on their dairy, and in many cases, increase their herd size without adding any additional labor.” PD

PHOTOS
DairyProQ will officially be launched for the North American market at the 2015 World Ag Expo. Photo courtesy of GEA Farm Technologies.

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