A simpler electronic cup remover system, with less maintenance
Since upgrading his previous electronic cup removers to a Waikato Milking Systems ECR-S system, Reuben Allan has simplified his milking system and reduced his maintenance costs on his 1,500ha farm on the north bank of the Waitaki River near Kurow.
Reuben’s farm is “slightly different than your average farm, with lots of rolling hills. It was previously dry land that we’ve irrigated and developed a lot over the past ten years.” The farm is fully self-contained and milking 1,600 cows utilising “16 hour milking” intervals - performing three milkings every two days, rather than twice a day.
Before upgrading to the new ECR-S system the farm had been using another brand of cup removers, “but maintenance was very expensive and complicated, and I had had enough of that,” says Reuben. He was attracted to the ECR-S system because it was “very simple, but very capable,” while being easy to maintain, easy to fix, and easy to service. Another key factor for Reuben was that Waikato Milking Systems have “a bloody good reputation, and it’s good to be dealing with a local company that is focused on New Zealand farming systems.”
With six staff taking turns to milk a herd of 350-400 cows each, the ECR-S system means that one staff member can get the first herd in and start milking by themselves, with two staff cleaning up at the end. “I can get away with minimal staff, and it’s easier on them. Because two staff don’t have to get up in the morning and milk the first herd, one gets to have a sleep-in,” says Reuben. The ECR-S system also has an auto-start feature that has been designed to make the milking process faster and easier for the operators. “You just lift the cup up and put it on the cow. The vacuum starts automatically and the cup comes off once she’s milked out. That’s basically it - it’s simple as,” says Reuben.
The electronic cup remover system prevents cows from being over-milked or under-milked, improves efficiency and are “better for udder and teat health.” Reuben says electronic cup removers are “an absolute no-brainer for efficiency“ and he’s noticed since upgrading to the ECR-S system that it’s also a lot simpler mechanically, saying “if you need to get to a part of the system it’s a lot easier to do.” The installation of the farm’s ECR-S system was a part of a complete rebuild of their dairy infrastructure at the time by their Waikato Milking Systems dealer Field Engineering Ltd, in Timaru.
Retaining only the original platform, “all the bails were ripped out and everything was built back up with Waikato Milking Systems equipment including the 54 Bail Rotary, Cow Restraints, milk line and the ECR-S system,” says Reuben. “The installation process was good. We did the upgrade through the winter, and the pressure was on to have it completed on-time by calving. The installation was done to a high standard and the communication with Waikato Milking Systems and service has been really good.” says Reuben.
The farm’s new system was commissioned in July 2022 and Reuben would “definitely recommend the ECR-S system. I was looking for a simpler system, with less maintenance and lower costs to maintain - and that’s exactly what it is.”