Farmer/owner: James and Vincent Murphy
Farm location: Co Cork, Ireland
Farm name: Glenville
Herd: 85 cows
Milking system: Fullwood 14:28 herringbone
Date of installation: September 2013
James Murphy and his son, Vincent, milk 85 cows at their farm in County Cork. Having one of the highest protein herds in Ireland, they revamped their farm’s milking facilities with the installation of a 14:28 Fullwood Streamline herringbone parlour.
Their latest parlour is located within a dairy building built in 2013 to replace the farm’s out-dated milking facilities. “We were milking the herd through a parlour which was originally built more than 40 years ago,” James explains. “We had to replace it because it was taking too long to milk the growing herd and because it was uncomfortable to work in.”
Conditions in the old parlour were so cramped that Vincent couldn’t have worked in it for the long-term as it was giving him constant back pain. “Each time I milked I’d leave the parlour with a bad back because I was constantly bending to attach the clusters,” he explains. “I couldn’t physically work in there on a short-term basis, let alone imagine spending the rest of my career in there.”
The Murphys moved away from Holstein Friesians in favour of the dual-purpose Rotbunt breed in the 1990s. “Back then, quota restricted the amount of milk and butterfat we could produce, but there was no limit on protein production,” James outlines. “We therefore saw an opportunity to make more money by producing more milk solids and started to move to the Rotbunt breed”.
The new parlour was installed by Wm McNamara Milking Machines and is equipped with automatic cluster removers (ACRs). Each cow is fitted with an electronic ear tag which works in conjunction with Fullwood’s AugerMaster in-parlour feeders and the ear tags also work with an automatic segregation gate used to draft cows into a veterinary/AI race as they leave the parlour.
The parlour is also equipped with Fullwood’s variable rate vacuum pump, which, as well as being cheaper to run, is also quieter. “The whole design and ergonomics of the new parlour were important to us from the very outset,” James describes. “We’ll be in the parlour twice a day for the next 25 years so we wanted the most robust and reliable milking machine we could get, but also wanted a parlour which would work for us.”
James’ choice of parlour was a result of research – carried out at home and abroad – to compare the quality of engineering, reliability, serviceability and value for money of several different makes. He was particularly keen to understand which brand of milking machine had the best track record for maintaining low somatic cell and total bacterial counts, and found that Fullwood ticked all the relevant boxes.
“Taking the time to find the right parlour was time well spent,” James says. “The parlour was professionally installed and has worked faultlessly since day one. James went a step further in order to enhance the parlour’s design by adding galvanised panelling to the rump rail to prevent muck from falling into the parlour pit. “The parlour is our workplace so we want to keep it as clean and pleasant to work in as possible. It’s also a food production facility so it makes sense to keep the clusters and pipework as clean as we can.”