Farmer Focus: New dairy parlour cuts milking time in half

It has been a great month. We have now moved all the milking cows down to the new cubicles and they have settled into the new system amazingly quickly.

So far, we have reduced our milking time in the old parlour from four-and-a-half hours to just two, which is making milking much more enjoyable for everyone.

We are still doing work in the last set of cubicles, and the hospital pen will be completed in the next couple of weeks, followed by the concrete at the front of the new parlour building.

See also: Which milking parlour is best for your dairy?

The cows are performing well considering the big changes they have had. Their average yield is just over 30 litres/day.

As expected, we are working through any teething problems daily and learning how best to use the parlour and the information available.

Our new Hoofcount automatic foot-bath is finally up and running. It took a little longer to become operational than we had hoped, because of a delay getting the air line.

Pre-tupping routine

The sheep have been in for their scab treatment, as well as the general pre-tupping routine. We do a precautionary scab treatment annually.

The sheep have gone back to the fell in good condition for tupping. The tupping gather is any day now and the tups are due to go out on 15 November. 

We have weighed and split the lambs into weight brackets, so we don’t have to weigh the smaller end every time we want to draw fat lambs for sending to the abattoir.

Our lambs are ahead of last year, with more lambs over 35kg at the same time as last year.

Grass growth has slowed drastically, and we have introduced hard feed to the 35kg+ lambs to try to finish them and get them away by the end of November.

We will add more lambs to this group in the middle of November, when we weigh the smaller lambs again.

The grass has slowed, because the fourth-cut aftermaths didn’t get any fertiliser or slurry and the weather has been wet and getting colder.

Patrick Morris-Eyton is a Farmer Focus writer from Cumbria. Read his biography.