Farmer/owner: Louise Kennedy
Farm location: Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland
Farm name: Grougfoot Farm
Herd: 125 Friesian cows
Milking system: Fullwood 16×16 herringbone
Date of installation: December 2016
Installing a new herringbone parlour into an existing farm building has enabled Louise Kennedy to secure the next few years of milking on her family’s farm and proves it is possible to upgrade to modern milking facilities without the need to embark on a major building project.
Louise lives and works at Grougfoot Farm with her parents and decided to install a new Fullwood 16 x 16 highlevel 50 degree herringbone parlour. The parlour was installed by McCaskie Agriculture and was milked-in during December 2016.
“Our previous parlour was a Fullwood 12×12 herringbone installed in 1976 by the previous farm owners and when we moved to the farm in 1994 we were milking 60 Ayrshire cows. The parlour was very labour intensive, had milk jars without meters and towards the end of its life some of the feeders didn’t work at all. My parents and I knew if I was going to continue milking we would need to invest in a new milking system”.
Louise started her research in February 2016. “Our milk contract was favourable and I decided it was the right time for us to invest. I looked into various options, including robotic milking, but decided to install a new herringbone parlour as it suits my situation and how our herdsman, David, and I like to milk”.
And so far everything is going well at Grougfoot. “Our new parlour is going well and saving us time. It is much more ‘people friendly’ and a wider pit gives us more room during milking”, says Louise.
The new parlour has been installed in the same building as the previous parlour. However, the building was modified slightly to allow for a modern, wider parlour pit, giving the cows much more space for a more comfortable milking experience.
In addition, hours have been saved every day. “Our old parlour used to take us 2.5 hours milking twice a day and we have cut that by half. For cleaning, we now have Fullclean which saves an hour per day compared to our previous system”, says Louise.
In addition to a new parlour, Louise and her parents invested in an automatic scraper in the cow housing area, two new feed bins and re-tarmacked the main tracks on the farm. “All of our improvements are saving us so much time for everything we need to do”. As well as the dairy farming, Louise also looks after the family’s beef herd which is spread over three farms for grazing.
Louise continued “Our herd has decreased from 150 down to 125 but we are achieving a higher milk yield than we were before the changes. We are really pleased and are putting this down to better feeding and milking conditions. We are looking to increase the herd back up to 150 again soon”.
The new parlour features per stall identification and feeding system. The identification works by each cow wearing Tiris ear tags which are connected to Fullwood’s Crystal herd management software on the farm. When the cow is in position, the identification data is captured automatically and the correct, pre-calculated amount of feed is released into the feeder for her to eat whilst being milked. Louise said she is using the same amount of feed as she did in the previous parlour and adds “we give 10kg of cake to each high yielding cow per day”.
Louise said “We are very pleased with how everything is going and in hindsight, we should have replaced the parlour ten years ago. I have no regrets as it has improved milking for all of us”.