Christine and Peter Lansdaal enjoyed having a ‘United Nations’ of visitors during the installation of their DeLaval milking hardware and IT systems.
Building a brand new dairy is an exciting project for its owners – but it’s not often their enthusiasm and interest is shared by experts from around the world.
However, that’s exactly the case for the dairy built by Peter and Christine Lansdaal on their Waharoa farm.
“When the milking plant was being installed we had what felt like a ‘United Nations’ of visitors coming to check on progress and be part of the installation,” says Christine.
That’s because the combination of the DeLaval milking hardware and IT systems that operate the 54-bail rotary are a world-first.
There is significant interest in this prototype dairy which is designed specifically for an all-grass farming system, says DeLaval business development manager, conventional milking systems, Luke McKee.
When Christine and Peter approached DeLaval to provide the rotary platform and milking system for their new dairy, Luke says the company saw an opportunity to upgrade the system to incorporate new technologies which DeLaval wanted to trial in New Zealand.
The need for a new dairy arose from the couple’s purchase of an adjoining property and increasing their herd to 620 cows, which are now milked in two hours by just one person, thanks to the DeLaval technology.
From the platform control centre at the cups-on position, contract milker Dave Martin can operate the entire milking process through the use of a touchscreen console displaying information automatically gathered as the system reads the EID ear tags of each cow entering the platform.
“Among its many functions, the system will adjust the speed of the platform if a cow who takes a little longer to milk than normal comes on,” says Luke. “There is also a speaker, which will alert the milker if for example a cow being treated with antibiotics enters the platform and should not be milked.”
DeLaval Oceania sales and marketing executive Sharon Yeeles demonstrates how the consoles on the platform open to reveal the DeLaval automatic cup-washing system.
The programme also allows Dave to automatically draft cows out of the herd for attention after milking.
The concrete platform is fitted with a DeLaval central swivel which carries the milk, delivers vacuum, electricity and air to the milking plant, and captures data from it.
It also has an automatic teat spray system which ensures each teat receives a carefully directed spray at the end of milking. “The unit is designed to spread the cow’s legs to ensure she stands in the optimal position for milking, and for teat spray application,” says Luke.
The DeLaval milking clusters are designed with cow comfort and udder health in mind. Each is attached to its own console which not only houses the sophisticated technology gathering milk and cow information, but also opens to reveal the DeLaval automatic cup-washing system.
All the data the system gathers during each milking is also accessible from the computer in the dairy’s office linked to the DeLaval DelPro integrated dairy management system, which provides Peter with detailed information about every aspect of milk production and animal health.
In the Lansdaal dairy, DeLaval has installed milk quality systems which exceed those currently required by the dairy industry and can deliver, to the vat, milk cooled to four degrees Celsius by a sophisticated heat exchange system. Water heated by the cooling process can be returned to the dairy’s hot water system at 65 degrees Celsius, where it needs minimal electricity to bring it up to the required wash temperatures.
“The technology in this dairy provides savings in electricity and labour, brings benefits for animal health, gathers data for optimal herd management and maximises milk harvesting.
“It is another example of DeLaval’s commitment to provide solutions which benefit the whole farming system,” says Luke.
The dairy was commissioned just before Peter and Christine’s herd was dried off, so only half of their Jersey cows were milked using the new system.
“We have already got a lot of information from the DelPro system but that will build once the entire herd is being milked,” says Peter, who has been bringing himself up to speed with the computer systems and the data now available. DeLaval’s IT staff have assisted Peter and are on-call to answer queries if required.
The technology has the ability to capture more information than Peter currently believes he’ll need. But Luke is confident that once Peter becomes familiar with the programme and the data it captures, he will find it invaluable in assisting decision-making and planning for the day-to-day running of the farm.
Christine and Peter, who are pleased with their new dairy, are looking forward to milking their entire herd through it. Their decision to choose DeLaval includes the high quality of the company’s products, service and data collection, the energy efficiencies of the plant and that the dairy can be operated by one person.
They’ve also enjoyed the ongoing international attention and the people they’ve met during the construction and commissioning of this “world first at Waharoa DeLaval dairy”.