Low-cost milking in outdoor Mobistar milking parlour

Low-cost milking in outdoor Mobistar milking parlour

1 August 2018
Low-cost milking in outdoor Mobistar milking parlour

Low-cost milking in outdoor Mobistar milking parlour

At Tage Lausten’s farm in Loegumkloster, one worker milks 430 cows in 5 hours in a used Mobistar milking parlour with 12 clusters. ‘The Mobistar was cheap to buy and works really well in every way’, he says.

Milking many cows does not necessarily require expensive, advanced equipment in order to work well from day to day - as Tage Lausten of Øster Terp near Løgumkloster can confirm. His total of 1,200 Holstein dairy cows live on two farms 5 kilometres apart.

Of these cows, 900 are stalled at the home farm where the Southern Jutland-based dairyman lives with his family, while the remaining 300 are on the other farm. Half the 900 cows at Tage Lausten’s home farm are milked in a traditional 2x16 milking parlour.

Mobistar milking parlour sited outdoors

The other half of these cows are milked in a 12-cluster Mobistar mobile swing-over milking parlour, which he bought used from Milcotec ApS 2½ years ago. The Mobistar parlour is sited outdoors between two of the farm’s large sheds. The 300 cows on the other farm are milked using four milking robots.

‘When I purchased our Mobistar milking parlour 2½ years ago, it replaced six milking robots from 2002, which were getting worn out. The large number of alerts had become a bit of a nuisance, and the cell count was far too high’, recalls Tage Lausten.

‘We could see that the cell count of the cows that were milked with the old robots was as high as 400,000. Now, the cell count here on this farm is about 200,000’, he adds. Tage Lausten’s long-term plan is to bring all his cows together on the farm where he lives.

Meant to be a temporary solution

‘Acquiring the Mobistar mobile parlour 2½ years ago was actually meant to be a temporary solution until we bring all the cows together on the home farm. Then we need to decide whether to set up one big, new milking parlour to milk all our cows in’, explains this big Løgumkloster dairy farmer.

Now, 2½ years on, he is in no hurry to change things. He thinks everything is working splendidly as it is.

‘When you look at what it cost to purchase and install the Mobistar mobile parlour, it actually works really well in every way’, says Tage Lausten. ‘One man milks about 430 cows in it in 5 hours. We milk three times, so the plant is running 15 hours a day. The logistics around the milking parlour are good, so we can make really good use of the capacity’, he says. He goes on:

Technically very simple

‘The Mobistar milking parlour is technically very simple. There are no complaints regarding reliability, and the maintenance costs are manageable.

‘As the milking parlour was cheap to buy and install in relation to its capacity, the overall cost – including depreciation and additional manpower – is very definitely at the low end of the scale, although I don’t have exact figures for it. Another plus is a marked reduction in electricity consumption as compared with the robots’, says Tage Lausten. Altogether, nine of his workers on the two farms with their 1,200 dairy cows are involved in milking, cleaning of resting areas and looking after calving mothers.

Milking in the fresh air

‘When I’m milking cows myself, I prefer milking in the Mobistar parlour. After all, it is outside, with its lean-to roof to keep the rain off, so you’re out in the fresh air while you’re milking’, explains the Southern Jutland-based cattle farmer.

‘The only time problems can arise is if there’s a deep frost. But that problem is easy enough to solve. You can just keep the plant running as long as the frost lasts. Another solution is to draw off water at the points where it might freeze, which is actually quite simple to do’, says Tage Lausten.

The average yield of his 1,200 Holstein cows is currently around 12,000 kg ECM. It has gone up by a couple of thousand kilograms after all parlour-milked cows were switched to three milkings a day instead of two. There are more byproducts in the feed ration.

 

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