GEA has installed the United Kingdom’s first automatic rotary milking dairy at Worthy Farm in Somerset.
The new dairy will allow the owner of the farm, Michael Eavis, and his staff to milk more than 400 cows, three times a day while still allowing them to graze in the fields.
Previously Worthy Farm milked in a 25/50 herringbone dairy and had looked at fully automatic robots to milk the cows.
Single box robotic systems are designed to milk up to 60 cows every 24 hours, each being milked an average of three times.
However, expanding milking capacity using this system would require additional space to accommodate multiple robots and could not be achieved in time to allow the cows to return to the fields to graze.
The farm would also have had to employ additional staff.
Head of Milking & Dairy Farming Sales for GEA in the United Kingdom, Oliver Moore, said the well being of the cows was important to Mr Eavis.
“Michael is committed to the welfare of his cows both because he wants to care for the animals in the best way he can and also because he knows that happy, healthy cows produce more milk,” he said.
"Using the new system the cows can be milked three times a day, in a calm environment, and graze as normal in the summer or return to their sheds during the winter months.”
The new GEA system DairyProQ is the first of its kind ever sold in the UK.
It has 36 robots mounted on a rotary table milking about 150 cows every hour in a fully automated system around the clock.
One operator supervises the entire process.
Each cow can then return to the fields or sheds immediately after milking.
The system started milking at the end of July, 2016 and was installed by one of GEA’s largest dealers, RMS Limited of Devizes, Wiltshire.
Each cow is given individual attention in spacious, calm comfortable surroundings.
The unique milking routine, from attachment through to dipping and cleaning, takes place in a fully automated process with consistent precision.
Gentle milk extraction and prophylactic udder care for every animal ensure the best conditions to sustain top herd health and performance.
“The project was quite a challenge,” Mr Moore.
“The cows still had to be milked during construction so we had to build the new parlor without disturbing the milking process in the existing facility.
"Now that DairyProQ is fully operational the old parlor can be demolished to make room for additional equipment.”
Mr Moore said the farm now had a cow-friendly milking dairy that provided employment for skilled technicians and reduced its reliability on, low-skilled labor.
GEA’s DairyProQ releases staff from manual operations to focus on more fulfilling animal husbandry roles.
It also provides them with an attractive workplace with a more social family life.
This has been an inspired investment from Worthy Farm particularly at a time when the liquid milk industry is suffering globally.
“DairyProQ is a leap forward in milking technology that will have long-term benefits for farmers and their herds,” Mr Moore said.
"I am very grateful to herd manager John Taylor and his wife Pam at Worthy Farm and for the confidence the people there have shown in GEA and I am sure their foresight will provide significant returns for them well into the future.”