Terra Nova Group
Centrus Composite Rotary
"The obvious answer was a rotary platform with supporting leading-edge technology"
The Terra Nova Group owns several dairy farms in Western Russia and in 2012 initiated the planning process to reconstruct its 4300-hectare Novoladozhskiy farm.
The property is located in the Leningrad region near St Petersburg in the North-West of Russia.
It had been a dairy farm for decades, dating back to the time of the Soviet Union. The farm had earned many awards and a highly respected reputation. It was also used as a training centre for local farmers.
The harshness of the climate meant that the high genetic Ayrshire herd was housed indoors all year round and fed a diet of silage, grown on the farm, and some supplements.
Terra Nova Director, Hadley Trainis, said the Group President undertook an extensive review of the technologies and systems used by leading dairy nations around the world.
“We had a scale and scope which was not being fully utilised and his vision was to release the farm’s potential by drawing on the best knowledge, systems and technology in the world.
“This would manifest itself in an increase in herd size from 1000 milkers to around 2000 with a corresponding increase in output.
“Our President came back with a very specific list of improvements which needed to be undertaken to release the farm’s potential, and reconstructing the farm’s facilities was uppermost.”
“The barns which house the cows are being redeveloped to provide a state-of-the-art environment which maximises herd health and welfare.
“A new farm dairy was also critical – the existing herringbone was built in 1998 and it was taking around six people between 5-6 hours to milk the 1000-cow herd twice daily, so something had to be done to enable an effective throughput of 2000-plus cows.
“The obvious answer was a rotary platform with supporting leading-edge technology.
“We looked at the leading manufacturers of rotary milking systems in the world and narrowed our choice down to two.
“The United Kingdom has a very strong dairying culture so I spent some time there looking at both systems and talking with farmers.
“When it came to choice of milking systems, farmers consistently talked about one manufacturer and that was New Zealand’s Waikato Milking Systems.
“Their platforms and technology are very popular in the United Kingdom and the farmers I spoke to said they worked extremely well and were very reliable – some admitting that they hadn’t serviced them since they bought them because they simply hadn’t given any trouble.
“Our farms in Russia are quite remote; there’s often a long distance between locations so if there is ever a problem with equipment it can take some time before it’s repaired. Reliability was therefore one of our highest priorities when it came to new dairy technology and equipment.
“Another factor which was important to us was to go with a system which had been tried and tested in all types of dairy farms around the world. Waikato Milking Systems had a reputation for being a world leader with systems which had been rigorously tested before launch; the farmers who used them found them very robust and this convinced us we’d chosen the right supplier.”
The fact that Waikato Milking Systems’ head office was on the other side of the world didn’t bother Terra Nova.
“It can be a challenge importing anything into Russia from anywhere in the world; the paperwork’s the same no matter where it’s come from and any additional cost is offset by the knowledge that you’ve bought the best. They’ve got agents in Russia and, from the outset, provided a very personalised service.”
With advice from Waikato Milking Systems’ Grant Wisnewski, Terra Nova opted for a 60-bail Centrus Composite Rotary platform with automatic cup removers and washing system. In combination with the composite platform, the dairy also added high-tech milk analysis equipment from AfiMilk in Israel.
Trainis reflects that the original decision to go with Waikato Milking Systems was confirmed throughout the design, build and construction phases of the project.
“Grant was our point of contact around-the-clock, providing expert knowledge throughout, and Waikato Milking Systems sent a team of specialists to oversee the construction of the platform and installation of the technology.”