21 September 2001



A cheap and reliable drafting system to select cows for AI, foot trimming and vet treatment is an essential time saving parlour feature, particularly when it can be operated by a single milker.

Drafting systems can be based on ropes, pulleys and levers, says Pembroke-based producer Anthony Bushell. "They are simple, reliable and easy to operate from the pit and will typically cost between £30 and £100, considerably less than some automatic systems available." One rope-based system was included in Mr Bushells new 20 x 40 swing-over parlour.

"The parlour was designed to be operated by a single milker, including the separation of animals."

A drafting system operated from the pit prevents disruptions to cow flow when separating cows into a holding area. Otherwise, you have to get out of the pit, stop the cows, separate and then close the gate, he adds.

Without the system, milking times are longer, costs are higher and cows endure more stress. Mr Bushells drafting system also reduces milker stress as the milker doesnt have to break routine and leave the pit to separate cows.

Have you a tip that could save time or money to share with fellow dairy, sheep, beef or pig producers?

If so, write a brief description and send it to Livestock Tips at farmers weekly, Quadrant House, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS, and you could receive £50, if it is printed in this column between now and December.

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