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GEA Farm Technologies - The right choice.

Issue 13 October 2010

GEA Farm Technologies / Contents

GEA Farm Technologies sponsor conference Welcome to the 13th edition of “HerdAbout?”. The last few years have seen the development of our business into a more complete supplier to the dairy farming industry, and we have tried to include a glimpse of the areas in which we are now involved. At GEA Farm Technologies, we, together with you our customers and our dealer partners are committed to delivering consistently high quality milk produced in keeping with the latest requirements in animal welfare, environment, and labour productivity. We were therefore proud to support this year’s Dairy UK Industry Conference “Meeting the Challenges” at the NEC in Birmingham on 6th September. Our conference programme included “Developing a Milk Quality Toolkit” presented by eminent researcher and veterinaries Dr. Andrew Bradley and Roger Blowey (below).

Never before have British dairy farmers had access to so many new practical tools in controlling mastitis in dairy herds. GEA Farm Technologies plays a market leading role in both their development and market adoption. Our award winning IQ Clusters and Sureflush – automated backflush are proven methods of arresting quarter to quarter and cow to cow mastitis cross infections respectively, and are 1 | GEA Farm Technologies

now present and working successfully on dairy farms across the UK. Our hygiene consultants are amongst the earliest to be trained in the on farm delivery of the DairyCo Mastitis Control Plan which we fully endorse as a significant and important method in analysing specific farm data with customized and proven solutions. This holistic approach replaces earlier hit-and-miss methods associated with partial data gathering and recommendation. The computer based ability to monitor and review new mastitis infections using graphic tools now means the control actions can be measured for success and developed and refined as necessary. For more information please visit Furthermore GEA Farm Technologies will bring revolutionary new techniques to market in the coming year including Liner Surface Scoring. These solutions, which are collectively unique to the UK dairy industry, provide farmers with an effective means of improving mastitis control, herd health and milk quality and, as the industry moves toward liberalised market conditions, a competitive advantage in milk production that does not exist elsewhere. We hope you enjoy this edition of “HerdAbout?” - any feedback is always welcome. Thank you for helping GEA Farm Technologies remain the UK’s leading dairy supplier, and we look forward to seeing you on farm very soon. In the meantime, best wishes and regards, Paul Gerrard, Managing Director, GEA Farm Technologies (UK) Ltd

Inside this issue: GEA Farm Technologies sponsor the 2010 Dairy UK Conference Page 1 One parlour or two? Weighing up the options on parlour choice Page 2 IQ - Have you got it? The IQ milking cluster truly takes milking and milk quality to a new level Page 4 Introducing our new hygiene specialists Page7 Automatic cluster flushing - the Sixth Point in the “Five Point Plan?” Page 8 A whole range of new products to help you defend your cows in the battle against mastitis Page 9 Make more of your slurry capacity Get to the bottom of your slurry pit using the “Super Pump” - specially designed to clear solidified slurry Page 11 Royal De Boer brings housing benefits for your cows Page 12 A move from beef into dairy gives brothers a brighter future Page 13 TCool or not to cool? - there is only one answer! Rear Cover

Article: One parlour or two?

One parlour or two? Weighing up the options on parlour choice

Farmers looking to invest in a new parlour have much to choose from these days, and deciding on which will be best, and will stand the test of time, is an important, but tricky decision. For smaller farms the choice is relatively straightforward – herringbone, tandem, or fast exit, with a unit for every cow, or a swingover system. For large units the circular argument comes into play. But which one? An internal rotary, or an external one? And for mediumsized farms. . . well the choice can encompass them all. In addition, with all of them, there’s the question of whether to have in-parlour feeding or not. Such was the decision-making dilemma faced by brothers Robert and Richard Bacon, who have just invested in a brand new green field site farm at Gleadthorpe Grange, Meden Vale, Mansfield, Notts. With a short-term capacity of 400 cows the farm would be in the medium sized category, where every type of parlour is suitable and can come into its own. The brothers recently moved to the new farm after their old one some ten

The Bacon’s new 36 point AutoRotor Magnum 40

The new dairy unit at Gleadthorpe Grange, Meden Vale, Mansfield, Notts.

miles away was literally bursting at the seams with cows. With Richard’s three children all keen on dairying there was a clear need to increase cow numbers substantially from the 150 to 200 capacity of the old farm to one which could cope with 400 in the short term, and possibly onwards to 600 cows. A greenfield site was what they desired, and what they eventually found at Gleadthorpe. After successfully negotiating planning permission they set about designing, planning and building the unit. And what an impressive looking unit they have built! From its external looks, through to its welfare friendly buildings and equipment, to its milking facilities the unit is a credit to the farmers themselves, the designer John Mogg, build contractor Pryce Roberts Construction, and parlour installer and dealer CWFS.

Right at the start of planning, though, came the inevitable question: what sort of parlour should they have. And, given its size, virtually every option was put on the table for discussion. “We initially thought we couldn’t afford a rotary, and favoured having two herringbone parlours side-byside,” says Robert. “We thought we would get faster cow exit times that way, compared to having one much longer herringbone.” However, one of the ultimate criteria, should it be at all possible, was for one person milking, if necessary. “We wouldn’t be doing so that often, but it would be good if we could,” he adds. And the two side by side parlours didn’t tick the ‘one man milking’ box. Then there was the decision over whether to feed in the parlour or not. They decided they would like to, but this was going to be expensive with both herringbones and fast exits. When they and their parlour consultant Ian Ohnstad priced up the options, and compared the cost to a rotary, they were surprised: it was going to be cheaper to have an internal rotary compared to two herringbones, as there is only one feed dispenser in a rotary compared to one at every milking point on a herringbone. And going internal, The right choice. | 2

One parlour or two?

are really pleased with it all.” The feeding system has also been a good investment, and definitely helps cow flow - as a lightning strike proved. It disabled the feeding system for a week, and it took three days for the cows to realise that there wasn’t any food. Once they did, they wouldn’t come in!

William, Martha and David Bacon generally milk during the week

rather than external, would mean the building could be more compact, and cheaper too. And that is what the brothers finally settled on – a 36 point GEA rotary, with feeders. Although currently a minimum of two people are needed to milk Robert has seen several similar parlours work effectively with a single milker when post milking dipping and flushing equipment is installed. They currently don’t have that, but it is on the shopping list once the list of current essentials has been exhausted. “The atmosphere inside the internal rotaries that we saw seemed far less rushed than with a herringbone,” adds Robert. “It seemed to be a much calmer, better working environment. We really liked it. ” The parlour was duly installed by CWFS (Charlie Willis Farm Services), along with GEA’s pedometer system, Vacuum On Demand, bulk tank heat recovery systems. “They did an excellent job,” says Robert. “Inevitably we had one 3 | GEA Farm Technologies

or two teething troubles with the sensors that control the entry gate system but they solved it, and now it works extremely well. We rarely have any problems with cows not knowing what they should be doing and getting in the wrong place.” The installation took three months, and milking began on a limited number of cows some three months ago. During the week three people milk - usually David, William and Martha - with two at the weekend. Throughput is around 150 cows an hour. Helping to minimise milking times is backing gate with integral washing system and scraper, all soon to be monitored by a video camera and in-parlour TV display. “The parlour is working really well, and although I do not think it will ever be a 100% one-man parlour, it is nice to think that we could manage with one person if necessary,” adds Robert. “Milking is quick and effective, and the cows seem to like coming into the parlour, while the Vacuum On Demand system makes it quiet and above all more energy efficient. We

That blip aside, the cows have very much taken to the parlour, and the rest of the farm’s excellent facilities too: two days before the cows moved from the old farm to the new one they produced more milk than they had ever done. But three days after their somewhat uncomfortable transit to the new farm they surpassed those record figures. Yields are now just over 8,500 litres, and rising, with the milk sold to Arla. Currently cow numbers stand at 180, but numbers are due to be boosted to 400 cows thanks to the purchase of a herd from a local farmer, who will then manage the heifer rearing for the Bacons. In time it is hoped that the unit’s capacity will increase to 600 head, and there is certainly space and parlour capacity to do so. Local arable farmers have already been drafted-in to grow forage for the unit, and to utilise the muck and slurry produced. Looking back on all the decision making, Robert is delighted with the way the new farm has turned out, and the parlour decision they made. “We are very pleased with what we have done here, and the facilities we have got,” he says. “It’s certainly a far cry from what we used to have before, and has set us, and the next generation, up in dairying for the foreseeable future.”

IQ - Have you got it?

IQ - Have you got it? The IQ milking cluster truly takes milking and milk quality to a new level

Today, no matter where you are milking cows, harvesting high quality milk is essential to reaching your dairy’s full profitability potential. Milk processors and consumers continue to demand higher and higher quality milk, which means that you may not be able to simply milk cows the way you have in the past. Today, more than ever, milk quality matters. Management plays a huge role in producing quality milk on your farm. But as the labour and time required for intensive management becomes more and more costly, you must rely more and more on technology to meet your quality goals. For

IQ Milking

the first time in decades, the milking unit has taken a revolutionary leap forward in terms of technology. With the IQ milking cluster from

GEA Farm Technologies, producers now have a milking machine that goes beyond simply extracting milk from the cow. The IQ milking cluster is truly your milk quality assistant - working behind the scenes milking after milking to ensure you are harvesting the best quality milk possible. The IQ contains many unique design features that have been highlighted in product brochures and videos. But, as you take a closer look at the IQ milking cluster, you will quickly realise that it is not just a smarter way to milk cows because of the efficiency and performance benefits it brings. It is a smarter way to milk cows because it brings you the technology you need to manage your milk quality and elevate it to a new level.

IQ - Have you got it? - continued on page 5

Innovative Technology

Maximum milk quality

Winner of the RABDF Prince Philip Award for research and development in dairy farming

2009 The right choice. | 4

IQ - Have you got it?

How does the IQ liner improve milk quality? Sometimes when liners get old, experience heavy-duty cleaning or get placed into jetter cups, they can become twisted within the shell. A twisted liner considerably reduces the milking quality on that particular unit, milking after milking. Cows that have not been milked-out thoroughly not only have a potential drop in production, but they also have an increased risk of mastitis.

How does the IQ’s smarter vacuum control improve milk quality? In two ways! 1. With the IQ milking cluster, a small stainless steel ball is located in each guide chamber of the collection bowl. These four balls, block the flow of air when the cups are not attached to the teat. This means that manure, Automatic vacuum shut off

Cleaner milk filters

soil, and bedding material are much less likely to be sucked into the milk supply before the unit is attached. And, if the unit is kicked-off during milking, the vacuum automatically shuts-off,

The IQ milking cluster incorporates a patented design feature that eliminates twisted liners. Whether you choose silicone or rubber, you will notice a mark on the outside of the liner, indicating a raised surface on the inside. This shape fits precisely into the recess of the shell - which means the liner simply cannot twist in an IQ milking cluster. No liner twists means cows are milked-out properly thus reducing the risk of mastitis infections. Silicone or rubber? Silicone does not break down like rubber, so is easier to keep clean over time. Silicone liners have a recommended life of 1500 hours compared with 750 hours for rubber - requiring less labour to change them. 5 | GEA Farm Technologies

again preventing contaminants from entering the milk supply and keeping your milk cleaner. With the IQ, full vacuum is only activated once the liner has been closed-off by the teat. Many IQ users have stated that they saw an “immediate improvement to milk filter cleanliness when they switched to the IQ unit”. Cleaner

Above: Stainless steel balls block vacuum when the teat cups are not attached

Lower bacterial counts

milk filters can lead to lower bacteria counts, which of course means better milk quality. Plus, with the IQ automatically controlling the flow of air, operators do not need to squeeze the short milk tubes during attachment to shut-off the vacuum - which means even the most inexperienced operators can be more efficient. And, all operators can handle the unit more comfortably - without worrying about vacuum control. 2. With the IQ’s improved vacuum stability, cows also simply milk-out faster. In fact, 34 of 35 test farms saw an increase in their average milk flow rates when they started using the IQ milking cluster.

Above: If a teat cup gets kicked off during milking, the ball automatically closes off the liner preventing teat end impacts and contaminants from being sucked into the milk supply. Improved vacuum stability

When unit on-time is decreased throughout a cow’s lactation, teatend health can improve. This means cows are less likely to develop mastitis, and fewer cases of mastitis leads to a lower average SCC (somatic cell count) and better milk quality!

Better teat end health

Lower SCCs

IQ - Have you got it?

Because the IQ unit is subdivided into four guide chambers, there is complete separation of the milk from individual quarters. This eliminates the possibility of milk droplets from one infected quarter making their way to a healthy quarter. The IQ milking cluster prevents costly quarter-to-quarter cross-contamination of mastitiscausing bacteria during milking!

How does the IQ’s four separate guide chambers improve milk quality? It is easy to identify an IQ milking cluster, just based on its appearance. The IQ is the only milking unit on the market that has a milk collection bowl with four separate guide chambers. These chambers serve two key functions - both of which influence milk quality. 1. With four separate chambers, there is no threat of costly quarterto-quarter cross contamination of mastitis-causing organisms during milking. As you may know, with conventional units, it is recommended

to limit the amount of air during attachment and catch liner slips as soon as possible, in order to prevent “droplet impacts”. Droplet impacts are microscopic amounts of milk that are sent from one teat with enough velocity (because of a liner slip or significant fluctuation in vacuum) to partially or totally impact another teat. When these milk droplets carry bacteria and the impacts penetrate the teat canal, a mastitis infection can occur. With the IQ’s improvements to overall vacuum stability, large vacuum fluctuations from quarter to quarter are less likely, decreasing the probability of droplet impacts, when compared with conventional milking units. Also, because the IQ unit is subdivided into four chambers, there is complete separation of milk from

individual quarters. The four separate chambers eliminate the possibility of milk droplets from one infected quarter making its way to a healthy quarter. The IQ milking cluster can prevent costly teat-to-teat cross contamination during milking. 2. The four separate guide chambers are designed with sharper angles, and use kinetic energy to channel milk quickly from each quarter to the milk tube, with a minimum of turbulence. And, the less turbulence milk encounters the better quality of milk you can deliver. The shape of the IQ’s guide chambers means that it handles high flow rates efficiently, leading to faster milk-out times. Faster milkouts provide cows with a more comfortable milking process, protecting teat condition and udder health.

IQ - Have you got it? - continued on page 7 Above: Droplet impacts - in a conventional milking unit, when enough air is admitted into one teat cup (during a liner slip, for example) it can propel microscopic milk droplets, that may be carrying bacteria, from one teat to another.

Automatic vacuum shut off

Cleaner milk filters

Lower bacterial counts

The right choice. | 6

IQ - Have you got it?

How does the IQ’s fit on the udder improve milk quality? The answer is easy: The IQ milking cluster was designed to promote good cow milking. And, good cow milking, day-in and day-out, promotes higher milk quality.

When a milking unit is correctly aligned under the udder, milk flow is optimised, and cows experience fewer liner slips and squawks.

1. The flexible area of the short milk tube has been nearly doubled on the IQ liner. This feature greatly improves the ability of the IQ milking cluster to hang correctly under virtually any udder size or shape. Also, the connecting inlets for the milk and pulsation tubes were placed together on the IQ to further enhance the unit’s flexibility under the udder and improve its hold.

2. The center of gravity on the IQ milking cluster is shifted towards the rear. This means cows receive a consistent and quick milk-out on all quarters. Plus, the weight of the IQ is ideally distributed - 80% in the shells where it is required and 20% in the claw. Having the weight of the unit in the right balance ensures optimal unit positioning and an optimal milking process.

3. The short pulse tubes on the IQ milking cluster are placed along the interior of the unit, which drastically slims down its overall profile, making it more difficult to kick-off. Conventional machines place the pulse tubes along the exterior of the unit, making them much more vulnerable to being kicked off than the narrower IQ milking cluster. Fewer cows that need units reattached lets operators focus on more important tasks. Plus, fewer kick-offs means cows milk-out better and, of course means better milk quality!

80% 20%

Longer short milk tubes and better placement of the milk and pulsation tubes greatly improves the IQ’s flexibility under the udder for a better fit on any udder shape or size.

Flexible short milk tubes

The IQ’s weight distribution, from front to back and top to bottom, is ideal for an optimal milking process.

Optimal unit alignment

The IQ’s slim profile greatly reduces kick-offs compared to conventional milking units.

Fewer slips and squawks

Introducing our new Hygiene Specialists We have recently welcomed two new Hygiene Specialists to our Farm Services team. This role involves visiting farms to help resolve dairy hygiene issues and reduce levels of mastitis in the herd. They advise customers on best practice as well as the right products and techniques for the individual business to achieve the very best animal health as well as the highest milk quality. Sue Heath and Melanie Heath (who are not related) are supporting GEA Farm Technologies dealers in Wales & the Midlands and the North of England respectively. 7 | GEA Farm Technologies

Above: Sue Heath (left) and Melanie Heath

Improved milk quality

Automatic cluster flushing

Automatic cluster flushing - the Sixth Point in the “Five Point Plan”? Mastitis is estimated to cost the dairy farming industry well over £140 million per annum. The “Five Point Plan” has provided the basis for mastitis control for many years. But should cluster flushing be added as a sixth point? We feature two farms that have recently benefitted from our new Sureflush system. Cumbrian pedigree Holstein breeders Brian and Joanne Harrison noticed an almost immediate drop in cell counts and clinical cases of mastitis have declined by more than a third since installing an automated cluster flushing system. The couple farm the 420 acre tenanted Low House Farm, Armathwaite, Carlisle. Specialising in dairying, they have been increasing herd numbers with an eye on the future for their daughter Charlotte, 14 and son Jimmy, 12 who are both keen to farm. The number of milkers has increased by 50 over the last 18 months to 290 cows producing an average 11,000 litres from three times a day milking and the herd is likely to expand further to meet economies of scale. As one of a number of areas targeted by the Harrisons to keep on top of cell counts which are penalised by milk buyer Arla if they exceed 250,000, the Harrisons invested in a Sureflush automated cluster flushing system from GEA Farm Technologies. Clinical and sub-clinical mastitis is estimated nationally to cost £22,100 on average per 100 cows. The Sureflush system disinfects clusters and – uniquely – liners between cows in the parlour, minimising the numbers of contagious mastitis pathogens passed from cow to cow. “When the system was installed in January in our 15/30 swingover

Joanne, Charlotte, Brian and Jimmy Harrison with their Lowhouse herd.

parlour by GD & M Dunglinson, of Brunstock, Carlisle, we noticed our cell count dropped almost immediately to within acceptable levels,” said Brian, who gets daily texts of cell counts as part of an NMr. service. “It has lessened our cases of clinical mastitis by up to 40 per cent because the system has ring fenced it. Some of the cows should have been culled but we are building on numbers and our loose housing helps us to keep older cows,” added Brian who won a Genus competition for the oldest productive cow, Empingham Anne 6 - she will be 18 in November, and her daughter is still in the herd, aged 12 in October. “We had noticed that if we had a cow with mastitis in one quarter then it would pass it on to another cow in the same quarter. The clusters can pass on the pathogens to the next eight cows which follow her into the parlour,” said Joanne.

“We were advised to try to break the cycle by disinfecting the clusters and we tried to do this manually but it was creating more problems in that the time it was taking from stimulating the cow to getting her milked was too long, particularly for a three times a day system,” added Brian. “The new automated system has saved 15 minutes at each milking and we are much more relaxed, knowing the job of cleaning the clusters and so far up the liner is being taken care of and, importantly, knowing the cows are not suffering by reducing the incidence of infection,” said Joanne. The Harrisons have recommended the system to other milk producers. It is already paying for itself in reduced antibiotic bills and in cows saved from culling, enabling surplus pedigree heifers to be sold and create another income stream - 40 have been sold during the last 12 months. Article continued on page 9 The right choice. | 8

Automatic cluster flushing

The Boyd Family has also installed Sureflush as part of the advice they implemented on registering with the DairyCo Mastitis Control Plan With dairy farmers milking more cows often with less labour, producers are being encouraged to take a more holistic approach to controlling mastitis - one of the largest costs to the industry which also impacts on consumer confidence and dairy cow welfare. The DairyCo initiative was set up to identify a team of UK veterinary surgeons and other advisors to develop a widespread mastitis control scheme. This followed farm trials and subsequent statistical modelling that showed a significant, 22% reduction in the proportion of cows affected with clinical mastitis on the farms that were on the control programme compared with the control farms. Alison Clark, Farm Services Manager with GEA Farm Technologies, has been trained as an advisor for the DairyCo Mastitis Control Plan and among her first farmer clients to be

Above: Matt Boyd with cowman Jim Ross in the GEA Farm Technologies 24/48 herringbone parlour

involved in the initiative was Matt Boyd, who farms with his wife Fiona, father Tom, and sons Matthew and Andrew, at Castle Douglas in South West Scotland. As part of the mastitis control plan at Hillowton Farm where the 360 commercial Holstein cows average 8,500 litres, calving all the year round, Matt Boyd has invested in GEA Farm

Technologies’ Sureflush automated cluster flushing system. The system disinfects clusters and uniquely - liners between cows in the parlour, minimising the numbers of contagious mastitis pathogens passed from cow to cow. Alison recommended the Sureflush system to complement the fivepoint plan which is now carried out

A whole range of new products to help you defend your OxyCidePré

Ready-to-use pre-dip with activated peroxidise • Fast and effective broad-spectrum germicidal kill. • Superior cleaning result. • Visible on teats during use, yet easily removed. • Contains emollients that help to promote good skin condition. • May be applied by dip, spray or foam.

Pre-dip 9 | GEA Farm Technologies

LuxDip 50B

Barrier teat dip for teat disinfection • 5,000 ppm iodine- the preferred disinfectant. • EN1656 tested. • Advanced barrier technology. • Ready to use - no unnecessary mixing. • Low drip formulation. • Highly visible - dark brown. • Available as 25, 200 and 1,000kg pack sizes.

Barrier Post-dip


Disinfecting and con • 5000 ppm chlorhexidine gluco - effective against a mastitis-causing pathogens; • Good adhesive qua mean it stays on the teats and works lon • Mild skin-friendly pH emollients for outst • Outstanding visibilit • Ready to use - no u • Available as 25, 200

Automatic cluster flushing

at Hillowton and is proven to control mastitis: • Test and service milking machine regularly; • Post-milking teat disinfection; • Treat all clinical cases promptly; • Dry cow therapy all quarters at drying off; • Cull animals with chronic infections. “ To g e t h e r, clinical and subclinical mastitis is estimated to cost £22,100 on average per 100 cows,” said Alison. “Automated cluster flushing can help farms Above: Alison Clark with a high cell count, cut down on time manually dipping clusters and help cow longevity which may be particularly important where herd numbers are expanding.” The system was installed by GD & M Dunglinson, of Brunstock, Carlisle as an addition to their 24/48 parlour, also from GEA Farm Technologies. The new parlour was part of ongoing

investments at Hillowton where Matt is likely to be joined in the business by sons Matthew, 20, and Andrew, 18. The family farms a total of 650 acres of owned and rented land, including the neighbouring Chapmanton unit where 200 commercial Holsteins are milked. The herd size has been gradually increased with bought in cows, and a rise in cell counts decided Matt Boyd and his cowman Jim Ross that the mastitis control plan coupled with the automated cluster flushing system was the way forward. “We tried manually spraying the clusters but it was very time consuming,” said Matt. “We were sold on the concept so all we have done is to automate it and now we are keeping cell counts down. It’s very important to keep control of the cell counts. “The automated system could save up to half an hour a day on our twice daily milkings and now we know the clusters and liners have been disinfected thoroughly. It gives us peace of mind and improves our

Above: The Sureflush system in action

whole routine,” he added. Maintaining cell counts below 250,000 ensures no penalties from milk buyers Arla. Avoiding these together with reduced mastitis costs, would mean that the installation would be paid for within months. While cases of clinical mastitis were low at around a dozen a year, there have been very few cases since the system was installed.

cows in the battle against mastitis


nditioning teat dip

nate all

lities e nger H with high levels of anding teat condition; ty; nnecessary mixing; 0 and 1,000kg pack.


SensoSpray 50

An outstanding teat dip/spray • 5000 ppm chlorhexidine gluconate effective against all mastitis-causing pathogens; • Mild skin-friendly pH with high levels of emollients for outstanding teat condition; • Suitable for use in all teat spray systems and automatic milking systems; • Ready to use - no unnecessary mixing; • Available as 25, 200 and 1,000kg pack sizes.


ZorbiSan Active

Bedding conditioner for active cubicle hygiene • Clean and dry cubicles. • Highly absorbent. • Reduced bacteria in lying areas. • Cleaner udders and teats - improved udder hygiene. • Easier cow preparation for efficient milking. • Less odours - fewer flies - better environment. • Natural, safe to use.

Bedding Conditioner The right choice. | 10

Make more of your slurry capacity

Make more of your slurry capacity Get to the bottom of your slurry pit using the “Super Pump” - specially designed to clear solidified slurry

Above: Philip Trim arrives at a farm with his GEA Farm Technologies’ Super Pump to agitate slurry and avoid a build up of solids in the lagoon

With the closed seasons for spreading slurry putting ever increasing pressure on farms, it is more important than ever to maximise available slurry storage capacity. Inevitably, over time, solids separate to the bottom of the tank or lagoon, and it can be difficult to ensure the slurry is sufficiently agitated to enable all of it to be efficiently removed. This can be a particular problem for farmers who bed their cows on sand, or for those with above ground circular storage tanks, as getting a high-capacity pump over the side and in can be a tricky task indeed.

Above: The Super Pump in action 11 | GEA Farm Technologies

Now, though, a new high purpose-built piece of equipment from specialist pump maker Houle - owned by GEA Farm Technologies - will help solve the problem. The specially articulated trailed ‘Super Pump’ is designed to pivot over the top of a 20-foot high above-ground tank, and once in, will agitate or suck out even the most stubborn of solidified slurry material. It's abrasive resistant “HardOx” pump casing will also tackle slurry stores from sand bedded systems. The pump can be operated from either the tractor or from a “crows nest” type position that looks over the tank, with the pressure jets manually directed.

Slurry capacity / Royal De Boer

Contractor Philip Trim, from Wareham, Dorset - a specialist in muck and slurry handling and disposal - purchased the first such machine in the country recently from Redlynch Agricultural Engineers. He is now offering the bespoke service to farmers in the South of England, and even up into the Midlands and Wales. Paul Cooke, from Redlynch, estimates that a farmer using the pump could increase the capacity of a heavily sedimented tank by 10 to 20% by using the machine. Demand for the service is already extremely high, reports Mr. Trim, because the previous way of agitating and emptying such tanks involved a minimum of three men and lifting large pumps with a front-end loader capable of lifting 40 foot high. “This was not a particularly easy, efficient or pleasant job. Now all I have to do is turn up with my machine, park it up, put a tractor on the front and within a matter of minutes we have started the job,” he says. “There cannot be an easier or a cheaper way to increase slurry storage capacity than through this machine.”

Royal De Boer brings housing benefits for your cows The acquisition of Royal De Boer by GEA Farm Technologies last year cements our market position as Total Solution Providers in dairy farm systems. The Royal de Boer product line together with Houle slurry equipment offers you superior livestock housing and slurry management systems. With many years of accumulated experience in planning, design, installation and support you your cows and your farm staff can expect improvements in labour productivity, profitability and above all peace of mind in making the right choice.

Cow comfort


Climate control

“Every livestock farmer needs to maximise the capacity of their tanks to comply with the NVZ rules”, comments Mr. Cooke. “They have got to get their tanks empty before housing, and this is undoubtedly the best piece of equipment for the job. It is so easy to use, so flexible, and extremely powerful.” Farmers interested in the service should call Philip Trim on 01929 472192. Paul Cooke at Redlynch can be contacted on 01749 812628. For information on the range of slurry handling equipment from GEA Farm Technologies, visit

Cow handling


Growth planning

For further information please complete the fax back form on the rear cover of this edition of “HerdAbout?”. The right choice. | 12

New dairy enterprise

A move from beef into dairy gives brothers a brighter future

Above: Stephen Montgomery with the Gortree herd

Over the last few years the media has been full of tales of dairy farmers giving up their milking cows in favour of the easier life that is beef production. Rarely do we hear of it happening the other way round. But that’s exactly what Stephen Montgomery and his brother Mark, of Gortree Farm, Drumahoe, Northern Ireland have done in the last two years. And although milk prices in the Province have been typically up-anddown the brothers now have a far brighter future with their 120 Black and Whites than ever they would have in beef, they say. As two of five brothers, three of 13 | GEA Farm Technologies

whom milk at Home Farm, Greenan, Eglinton, it was clear some eight years ago that Home Farm could not support all five of them. Stephen and Mark duly ventured out on their own, and bought Gortree Farm with a view to modernising the existing buildings and putting up a new shed for suckler cows and beef finishing. But it quickly became clear to them that such an enterprise could not support the pair of them, long term, and the decision was taken three years ago to bite the milking bullet and convert the farm lock, stock and barrel into a dairy operation. “We always had an interest in cows,” says Stephen. “Three years ago we saw the milk price increase, and

although we knew it wouldn’t stay high for ever we could still see a better future there and none in beef at all.” The clincher came when the brothers would have had to have put up a large above ground slurry store for the beef enterprise. However it would not have been economic to do so, but the investment would make sense as part of a dairying enterprise. The big question would be whether they could afford the infrastructure including a new building, slurry store, clamps, and parlour plus milk cooling and storage facilities. And the cows of course. They duly went to see their bank

New dairy enterprise

cows in, and get on with it.” Their dealer for Home Farm - Willie Talbot of Mid Ulster Dairy Services - had recently switched to GEA Farm Technologies, and that, plus the reputation of the equipment in the market place, meant it was the logical parlour manufacturer to go for. They duly chose a 16:32 swingover herringbone with feeders. One of the main reasons for the choice of swingover was that one man could milk comfortably in the parlour, whereas two would be needed if the units were doubled up. Currently milking times for the 120, 8,000 litre cows are around 1.5 hours. The parlour also has an option for another eight units to cater for the expansion of the herd in the future. However, given the difficulties and cost of sourcing land in the area neither brother is holding their breath as to when this may occur. “The parlour is great,” says Stephen. It’s in a light and airy building, there’s plenty of space and it’s a joy to milk in. The cows seem to like it too,” he adds.

Above: The new 16/32 herringbone parlour from GEA Farm Technologies

manager, who initially and inevitably questioned the economic validity of what they were planning, given the multitude of downbeat dairying headlines in recent years. But half a dozen or so other farmers in the neighbourhood had also opted to return to dairying, which strengthened their case. Their mind was made up that dairying was the only way forward, and they soon convinced him of the economic logic too. He duly lent them what they needed.

The dairy Town of Monaghan were keen to take their milk, so a milk buyer was secured, and a local pedigree dairy farm, who had decided to pack in, resulted in a ready supply of suitable milkers. The farm was so close, in fact, that when the time was right they literally walked the cows down the road to their new abode. “Everything was there for us,” says Stephen. “All we had to do was choose what equipment we wanted, build and fit want we needed, get the

Two years on and the “new” enterprise is working well. Yields are on the up, fertility is excellent, and high quality daughters are coming through, thanks to the successful use of sexed semen. Milk prices haven’t been fantastic, but they’ve definitely made more money than they would have done in beef. “People are very quick to moan about the state of the dairy industry, and we know it isn’t a license to print money. But we are very proud as to what we have achieved and are doing here. We think we’ve got a great little dairy farm here, and definitely have no regrets. Our future is much brighter in milk than ever it would have been in beef.” The right choice. | 14

TCool or not to cool? - there is only one answer! - only one answer for saving energy, money and the environment The new TCool bulk milk tank from GEA Farm Technologies controls cooling and cleaning to ensure the highest quality milk using the least amount of energy. With TCool you can therefore be sure of getting the best milk price, lowest energy costs and the satisfaction that you are reducing your farm’s carbon footprint. • STIL evaporator plates save energy. • Manages, monitors and records cooling, cleaning and agitation. • Expert control and digital dipstick link to the parlour computer. • Robust and hygienic design helps maximise dairy profits. For further information please complete the fax back form below.

For information on any of our products, simply complete the form below and fax or send it as follows:

Faxback 01908 589650


or place in an envelope and send it to FREEPOST RLZH-UBAE-JRLG, GEA Farm Technologies (UK) Ltd, Marketing Department, Milton Keynes MK14 5BN

 Please indicate which products you would like included: Backflush

Name: Address:

Bulk tanks Heat recovery Tel:


IQ milking cluster Livestock housing


Milking parlour - rotary Milking parlour - herringbone

Current herd size:

Slurry systems

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GEA Farm Technologies

GEA Farm Technologies (UK) Ltd

30 Tanners Drive, Blakelands, Milton Keynes, MK14 5BN Tel. 01908 589600 Fax 01908 589650

HerdAbout? Issue 13  

GEA Farm Technologies UK newsletter, with articles featuring a range of the very latest products from the WestfaliaSurge, Houle, Royal De Bo...