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Thread: talk sense to me

  1. #1

    Default talk sense to me

    My wife and I are operating and buying my fathers farm, we have 330 tillable acres, a 98 stall tie stall and a 65 stall free stall (new). We keep our milkers in the free stall, chase them in two separate groups into tie stall for milking, and use the rest of the tie stall for heifers. Its a crappy setup, takes 3 hours to milk, over half of our milkers are first lactation, so lots of kicking, slop everywhere, it sucks. Our original plan was to put a robot into the free stall, but that wont be possible til 2019. We have an additional 40 heifers to calve in next summer, our numbers are growing. I work about 90 hours week, my wife 50-60. Help is hard to find cuz of such a sloppy milking system. My neighbors farm is for sale, older free stall and double 6 parlor, very well maintained, I could combine to two farms and move the milking to his facility.

    Here are my questions:
    Is it more or less work to milk 120 cows in a decent double 6 or 70 in a slop hole tie stall?
    If the only goal is to make farm life tolerable, would you go for the neighbors or robot?
    If you have a parlor, is it easy to find help? Difficult?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Saskatchewan
    Posts
    979

    Default

    We are across the highway from a small college town and milk just over 300 in a double 12 parallel. So we are fortunate to have many students interested in evening and weekend shifts, and a few permanent full time staff to anchor things as well. Our location is a huge benefit to getting good help!

    I would think the direction you should take should be influenced by the type of help you can get. Part timers looking for a couple of hours a few times a week? Then go with a parlour. A problem solving, independent, hard working go getter that you would feel comfortable taking a long weekend away and having them run the show with no outside help? Go for a robot

    As for the double six vs tie stall, I've never milked in a tie stall but I have milked in a bunch of different parlours, and being able to be clean and comfortable allows you to not feel so drained at the end of the shift....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Barron, Wisconsin
    Posts
    960

    Default

    I personally can milk about 25/hour in a tiestall by myself, and would expect to milk ~45/hour in a D-6 by myself. Milking faster than 60/hour with even two people is unlikely. So, milking times will be similar. Some heifers transition better in a parlor, some do better in a tiestall, but if the parlor is built well it may be safer. As for finding help, I have milked in tiestalls that I really enjoyed (currently help milk 40 most nights) and parlors that I despised, and vica versa. I would want any place I milk to be clean, with calm cows and calm co-workers; what facility the cows are milked in is secondary to that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    1,294

    Default

    I milked 80 cows in a tie stall for over 10 years. Took 2 hrs for me to milk with 6 units, faster if 2 of us milked with 8. Dbl 10 parlor takes 2 of us 2 hrs to milk 130. Clean up is a lot bigger factor with a parlor but it is far easier on the body.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    north-central virginia
    Posts
    680

    Default

    I'd guess all else being equal, 120 through a D6 would be a lot less stress than changing cows in a tiestall. Stress in a parlor is more related to throughput than it is to shift length. I suspect a tiestall is similar.

    As long as you're body is not complaining, you can cruise for hours without mental stress, if you have a smooth routine and you feel like you're getting something done.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    north-central virginia
    Posts
    680

    Default

    How close are your facilities to the neighbors? If you're within half a mile or so, you could possibly run 180 through his parlor without any construction.

    Have you asked the neighbor how much he'd need to keep the farm off the market and rent it out?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Lynden Washington
    Posts
    260

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by always something View Post
    My wife and I are operating and buying my fathers farm, we have 330 tillable acres, a 98 stall tie stall and a 65 stall free stall (new). We keep our milkers in the free stall, chase them in two separate groups into tie stall for milking, and use the rest of the tie stall for heifers. Its a crappy setup, takes 3 hours to milk, over half of our milkers are first lactation, so lots of kicking, slop everywhere, it sucks. Our original plan was to put a robot into the free stall, but that wont be possible til 2019. We have an additional 40 heifers to calve in next summer, our numbers are growing. I work about 90 hours week, my wife 50-60. Help is hard to find cuz of such a sloppy milking system. My neighbors farm is for sale, older free stall and double 6 parlor, very well maintained, I could combine to two farms and move the milking to his facility.

    Here are my questions:
    Is it more or less work to milk 120 cows in a decent double 6 or 70 in a slop hole tie stall?
    If the only goal is to make farm life tolerable, would you go for the neighbors or robot?
    If you have a parlor, is it easy to find help? Difficult?
    Much less work. Is it a nice one? Modern milking stalls, good ventilation, automation, air gates? Good holding pen. We revamped our holding pen and gained 10/hr. Our dbl 8 with correct pulsation and good tri clov liners ran 80+/hr for years till we built the new parallel. I would reaaaaly try to lease it from him. Are the free stalls good? Or are the cow killing <45" 7' bed ones? We are renting the neighbors 300 cow dairy and although it has other issues the 42" stalls and cement 2" beds are ALL coming out 1st. If they wont lie down they will never milk or last. We have to move curbs out 1'. reset mounts for 48" and put tires in stalls.

    Robot...DeLaval (which appear better IMO) are offering locally a lease of $2400/m for 7 years per unit. We are penciling that for 2nd place. Be nice and with worker approaching 18 to 22/hr and flat being hard to get they really look shiney. Lease is ticket....not on your balance sheet then.

    Help...here pretty hard. Several 1000 cow guys are doing couple shifts a week here milking since relief help is so hard to get. We noticed 7-10 hour shifts are easier to get help than 2 split 3 hour shifts. Split shifts take a special person to enjoy.

    For what its worth I would send heifers out to be raised and put VMS in freestalls, and milk 40-50 easily in tie stalls till you can do another freestall barn. You should be able to milk them pretty quick I'd think (never seen a tie stall barn in real life thought) and use other stalls for dry cows and springers coming home. The custom heifer program will save you so much time. My dad did all for 1 year then said foooie and sent them out. Said he was amazed how much better a job he did on milkers then...in 1976...and overall management.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    De Pere, WI
    Posts
    3,569

    Default

    We had a double 6 until we put in our robots. We at one time milked 140 cows and it took us two hours to milk, clock in you clock out. 3 milking groups based on milking speed. We later ran 280 cows through it and it took under 5 hours.

    A lot depends on your goals and how nice is the parlor and freestall at the prospective place. If the freestall isn't nicer too than you are really doing it for the parlor... that sounds expensive. If the barn is nice than its an expansion to milk more cows.... much more palatable financially.

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    DiederichFarm
    "You are only as good as your next success, not your last" Sir Jock Stirrup

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