Their new Orbit Concrete Rotary parlour was commissioned at the end of July, in time for the start of the new 2020-21 milking season. Project manager James Norman, from Progressive Rural Trade Services, said there was a bit of uncertainty when Covid-19 forced New Zealand into the alert level 4 lockdown in April.
But by the end of May the team was back on site and the installation project back on track. “It was pretty much a new build, only the round yard was used again from the original milking parlour. We removed the old platform and milking system, demolished the shed, cleared the site so we could start from scratch.”
James said the Hughes family was an existing customer and Progressive had installed a rotary system for Kaikaha Dairies, on a different property, about 10 years ago. “We’ve spoken informally in the past few years about the options for a new milking system and this year Peter decided to go ahead with it.” James said it was time to replace the property’s tired 50-bail milking system.
“We had upgraded it a few times over the years, we put in pulsators and a vacuum system. But it was starting to cost a lot to keep it going. They were working hard to put 1200 cows through a 50-bail so it was time to go bigger, to a 70-bail rotary, to make it more efficient.”
The new Orbit Concrete Rotary parlour features ECR-S, electronic cup removers, to reduce labour at milking time. “The old rotary didn’t even have cup removers so that certainly helps with input as far as labour into the shed goes.” Other milking automation technology options on the Orbit included BailGates, for cow retention and SmartPULS, for independent pulsation. “We don’t have SmartSPRAY on there at the moment, we’ve just got the bullets installed on the platform but that gives the owner the option of adding the automatic teat spray system later on.”
The Orbit is underpinned by the Multi Roller undercarriage, which uses cast nylon polymer, engineered for industrial roller applications. It ensures the weight on the platform is distributed evenly, increasing durability. James said Progressive used a local builder it worked with regularly to construct the parlour’s new building. “We worked on everything else, installation of the platform, the milking machine, pumps, electrical and refrigeration.”
James has returned to the property a few times since the Orbit was commissioned in late July to see how it was operating. “The cows are getting on really well and seemed very happy during the first two weeks with no issues.”