Farmer/owner: Chris Barton
Farm location: Ballyclare, Co Antrim
Farm name: Park Farm
Herd: Under 100 Holstein Friesians
Milking system: Fullwood 8×2 QS
Date of installation: Decemeber 2015
Chris is the fourth generation of the Barton family to milk at Park Farm and co-manages the family business with his father, David. When they took ownership of the business eight years ago, they decided on a long term plan to improve herd management, increase efficiency and milk production.
Their previous parlour was a 35 year old 8 stall abreast which had been updated several times. Milking was taking up to 5.5 hours per day and the working conditions for the cows and the operators needed to improve.
A new barn with cubicles was constructed in 2011 and Chris and David walked the cows twice per day from the new barn to the old parlour until the new milking system was chosen and installed by JS Close Ltd.
The Fullwood 8×2 QS parallel milking system, complete with low level stainless steel cabinets and feeding troughs, was first milked in 14th December 2015. Housed inside an attractive new setup with segregation areas and a viewing platform above the parlour, Chris and David are very pleased with the end result.
Chris states “when inside the parlour, the position of the cow is fantastic for the operator, allowing the clusters to be attached much more quickly”. He continues “we have halved our milking time. It now takes 1 hour 20 minutes each morning and only an hour in the afternoon”.
Chris has seen an increase in yield and an improvement in cow health since milking in the new parlour, stating “we have gained a litre of milk per day and we believe this is due to improved cow comfort and less standing time waiting to be milked”.
Thinking long term, Chris and David purchased a larger parlour than they currently require to enable them to increase their herd in the future without the need for a parlour extension.
The Barton’s conclude “the new parlour was the last piece of the jigsaw and it is fantastic. We cannot speak highly enough of it. We are thrilled!”