Double Up Milking Parlours: Everything You Need To Know

Milking parlours play a vital role in modern dairy farming, providing a controlled and efficient environment for milking cows. Among the various types of milking parlours available, double up milking parlours have gained popularity due to their numerous advantages.

In this blog, we will explore the concept of double up milking parlours, their benefits, components, factors to consider when installing one, common challenges, and more.

What is a Milking Parlour?

A milking parlour is a specialised area on a dairy farm where cows are brought for milking. It provides a controlled and comfortable environment for both the cows and the milking operators. Traditional milking parlours typically allow one cow to be milked at a time, requiring multiple sessions to milk the entire herd.

The Advantages of Double Up Milking Parlours

Double up milking parlours offer numerous advantages, especially when it comes to maximising performance within a limited space. Here are some key features and benefits of double up parlours:

  1. Optimal Space Utilisation: Double up milking parlours are designed to create maximum output within a minimum space. With one milking unit per cow, the units are strategically positioned on either side of the milking pit. This compact arrangement allows for shorter pit lengths, enabling fast loading and unloading of cows and reducing walking distances for operators.
  2. Cluster Support for Comfortable Milking: The milking units in double up parlours are equipped with cluster support, ensuring comfortable and efficient milking for the cows. This feature enhances cow welfare and helps maintain optimal teat health.
  3. Durable Heavy-Duty Construction: Double up parlours are built to withstand the demanding nature of dairy farming. They feature durable and robust construction, ensuring long-lasting performance even in high-volume milking operations.
  4. Stainless Steel Cabinet Option: Some double up parlours offer the option of stainless steel cabinets. This provides additional durability and hygiene, as stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and easy to clean, promoting optimal milk quality.
  5. Ability to Add Extra Features Easily: Double up milking parlours offer the flexibility to incorporate additional features and technologies. This adaptability allows farmers to customise the parlour according to their specific needs and easily integrate new milking technologies or automation systems.
  6. Space-Restricted Installations: Double up parlours are an ideal solution for farms with limited space. Their design allows for the installation of more milking units, even in constrained areas. This helps maximise milking capacity without compromising on cow comfort or operator convenience.
  7. Less Operator Walking: With the efficient layout of double up parlours, there is less need for operators to walk long distances during the milking process. This not only saves time and reduces operator fatigue but also contributes to improved workflow and productivity.

Components of Double Up Milking Parlours

To understand the functionality of double up milking parlours, it is essential to familiarise ourselves with their core components. Let’s explore the key elements that make up these advanced milking systems:

Milking Units

The milking units are the central devices responsible for extracting milk from the cows’ udders. These units consist of a cluster of teat cups, pulsation system, and milk collection system. High-quality milking units ensure gentle and efficient milking, maintaining optimal teat health and milk quality.

Automated Milk Collection System

Double up milking parlours often feature an automated milk collection system, eliminating the need for manual handling of milk cans or buckets. The system automatically diverts the milk from each cow to a central milk storage tank, ensuring proper milk separation and preservation. Automated milk collection enhances milking efficiency and reduces the risk of milk contamination.

Cow Identification and Data Management

Modern double up milking parlours can integrate advanced cow identification and data management systems. Each cow is uniquely identified using technologies like RFID tags or electronic collars. This allows for individual cow monitoring, recording milk yields, tracking health parameters, and managing overall herd performance. Data-driven insights enable farmers to make informed decisions and optimise their milking operations.

Parlour Design and Layout

The design and layout of a double up milking parlour play a crucial role in ensuring smooth cow flow, operator comfort, and efficient milking. Factors such as cow entry and exit points, flooring, cow positioning, and operator accessibility are carefully considered during the design phase. A well-designed parlour minimises stress on both cows and operators and maximises milking throughput.

Recommended Double Up Milking Parlour Design

At Electromech Agri, we are a leading milking parlour specialist in the UK and Ireland – with farmers across the globe trusting our expertise to help make their farms succeed. One of our customised designs for a Double Up Milking Parlour is the EMA 90XWay.

The EMA 90XWay is a 90° stall parlour with sequential gates and feeding that comes standard with Stainless Steel troughs; the pivotal characteristic of this parlour is it’s 360° rotating exit reel with unique feeding trough design that prevents any feed dropping whilst the reel is in rotation. In Parlour feeding when linked to Feed to yield offers the opportunity to feed to the individual needs of the cow’s milk production, stage of gestation and body condition score.

The 90Xway is incredibly robust yet easy & fast to install with very low maintenance. This parlour has a cow-friendly entrance and exit, and also has a 10-guage stainless steel splash panel with extra large gutter and a pivoting entrance gate.

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double up milking parlour

Factors to Consider when Installing a Double Up Milking Parlour

Before investing in a double up milking parlour, several factors need to be taken into account. Here are some key considerations:

Farm Size and Herd Management

The size of the farm and the number of cows in the herd determine the scale of the milking parlour required. It is crucial to evaluate the milking capacity needed to cater to the existing herd size and any future expansion plans. Understanding the specific requirements of the herd is essential for designing a suitable double up milking parlour.

Budget and Financial Considerations

Installing a double up milking parlour involves significant upfront costs. It is crucial to assess the financial feasibility and long-term return on investment (ROI) before making a decision. Factors such as construction costs, equipment expenses, and potential operational savings should be carefully evaluated.

Future Expansion Plans

When installing a double up milking parlour, it is advisable to consider future expansion plans. Having a scalable parlour design allows for easy integration of additional milking units if the herd size increases. Planning for growth ensures that the milking system remains efficient and cost-effective in the long run.

Training and Familiarisation

Transitioning from a traditional milking parlour to a double up milking parlour requires training and familiarisation for both cows and operators. It is essential to provide proper training to milking staff to ensure they understand the new equipment, protocols, and cow handling techniques. Gradual familiarisation with the new parlour helps cows adapt to the changes without stress.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Implementing a double up milking parlour may come with its fair share of challenges. Let’s explore some common challenges and their potential solutions:

Transitioning from Traditional Parlours

Transitioning from traditional parlours to double up milking parlours may require adjustments in farm management practices and operator routines. Providing proper training and support to the milking staff during this transition can help them adapt to the new system effectively. Gradually introducing cows to the double up parlour and ensuring a positive milking experience can minimise any potential stress or resistance.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

As with any milking system, regular maintenance is crucial for the smooth operation of double up milking parlours. Farm owners should establish a maintenance schedule, including routine equipment checks, cleaning, and timely replacement of worn-out parts. Additionally, having access to a reliable technical support team or service provider can help address any troubleshooting or technical issues promptly.

Hygiene and Milk Quality

Maintaining high levels of hygiene and milk quality is of utmost importance in milking parlours. Regular cleaning and sanitisation of milking units, proper teat preparation, and adherence to milking hygiene protocols are essential. Implementing a robust milk quality control program, including regular milk testing and analysis, ensures the production of safe and high-quality milk.

In conclusion, Double up milking parlours have revolutionised the dairy industry by enhancing milking efficiency, saving time and labor, and prioritising cow comfort and welfare. These systems, equipped with modern milking units, automated milk collection, and data management capabilities, offer numerous benefits to dairy farmers.

By carefully considering factors such as farm size, budget, and future expansion plans, farmers can make informed decisions when installing a double up milking parlour. While challenges may arise during the transition, proper training, maintenance, and hygiene practices can ensure successful implementation.

FAQs

Can double up milking parlours be customised to fit different farm sizes?

Yes, double up milking parlours can be designed and customised to accommodate various farm sizes and herd capacities.

How long does it take to train cows to adapt to a double up milking parlour? 

The training period for cows to adapt to a double up milking parlour varies but typically ranges from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the cows’ temperament and familiarity with the milking process.

What are the maintenance requirements for double up milking parlours? 

Regular maintenance, including cleaning, equipment checks, and replacement of worn-out parts, is essential for the smooth operation of double up milking parlours. A maintenance schedule should be established and followed diligently.

Are double up milking parlours suitable for small-scale dairy farms?

Double up milking parlours can be beneficial for small-scale dairy farms as well. The increased milking efficiency and labor savings can provide significant advantages, even with a smaller herd size.

How does the cost of installing a double up milking parlour compare to traditional parlours? 

The cost of installing a double up milking parlour is generally higher than that of traditional parlours. However, the long-term benefits, such as increased productivity and reduced labor costs, often outweigh the initial investment.

This post is part of our learning centre. Content designed for new farmers or those looking to learn more about milking parlours and the industry. If this something you’re interested, check our Learning Centre!