Optima External Goat Rotary
A simple system to improve their milking performance and efficiency
When fourth generation cheesemaker Jean Rossard stepped down from his Montchevre goat cheese business in Belmont, Wisconsin, USA in 2018, he wasn’t quite ready for retirement. So when his son Simon became interested in raising dairy goats, Jean took the opportunity to pass on his extensive knowledge to the next generation of the Rossard family.
Together with his sons Simon and Julien, Jean set out on a business venture which led to the establishment of a new dairy in 2019 - The Laughing Goat. The Rossards started their venture on a farm lease with 400 animals near Darlington, Wisconsin, where Simon trained for approximately a year before the family decided to set up their own dairy near their home by Belmont in Lafayette County WI.
The family spent around a year looking for a new goat milking system to replace their 2 x 16 rapid exit system before deciding to go with the Waikato Milking Systems 60-bail goat rotary parlour. Their goal was “to find a simple milking and feeding system” that was driven by technology and constructed with high-quality materials that could withstand a harsh farm environment, while also being animal-friendly.
The Rossards were impressed with the system’s rotary design and its lightweight composite deck, and that the inflators, pulsators, vacuum lines and milk pipeline were accessible from both outside and inside the rotary. These features combined with the rotary platform, stalls and components being mostly built from stainless steel, hard plastic and rubber reinforced their decision to choose Waikato Milking Systems.
Jean says the rotary is easy to operate with only two people - one taking care of the milking, while the other moves the animals around and manages post-dipping. The platform operates with a simple switch to put it into milking or cleaning mode, while another switch controls the platform speed or rotation-per-minute. The rotary is capable of milking 480 goats per hour and it will allow the farm to increase to approximately 1000 milking goats in the future.
Once the goats got used to all of the moving parts in the rotary, and the idea of the grain dropping down in front of them for enticement, Simon said it only took a few weeks for the goats to learn how to use the new system.
The goat rotary also features an automatic cluster presentation arm unique to Waikato Milking Systems which automatically returns the cluster to the platform height, ready for cupping, so the operator doesn’t have to constantly bend over to reach for the clusters. Jean says “The automatic detach is also a good option which saves a lot of walking around the rotary.” Jean also says that the dairy management software has useful features including feed management, milk volume data per animal and per milking, animal alerts and animal health history.
The Rossard family says their new goat rotary system has lived up to their expectations since it has been installed, and they have hosted many farmers who have been interested in seeing the system working - adding that the cluster presentation arm and the automatic detach features “stood out” as two areas of interest for their visitors.
Jean says that if he were to wish for any additions to their new system it would be a pre and post-dip system to keep the somatic cell and bacteria count under control, and says that the Waikato Milking Systems goat rotary parlour and feeding system “was definitely the right choice for their farm”.
Automatic cluster presentation arm
Automatic cup detacher
Milk yield recording
Feed to group and yield
- NaviGate Dairy Management System