Saturday, 1 July 2017

New Milking Parlour

Despite the dampness of the past few days our holiday cottage guests were not deterred from sitting watching the cows in the yard waiting to go in to the milking parlour.
This morning we once again have clear blue skies and the promise of a lovely day which is a great improvemnet on yesterday which was grey and wet all day and required the lighting of a fire in the evenong just to relieve the lack of cheer in the house...on the last day of June!!
One good thing that comes with wet weather at this time of year is that it gives the menfolk a rest from the long days driving tractors which is pretty relentless during the weeks of good weather getting silage made here and around the district. Although this does not mean they sit around with their feet up, far from it. Days of inclement weather give opportunities to service the machinery, change oil, mend cogs and chains and get on with building projects which at moment means the construction of a new milking parlour. This is a big project which has been on the go over several months but is nearing its end. The actual milking machinery arrives next week so the pressure is on to get the building ready in time. The photo below was taken some weeks ago but the shed is much nearer completion now. This new(to us! is in fact second-hand)parlour will mean that instead of milking only 6 cows at time over two hours as we do now in our old abreast parlour, milking will now take a fraction of the time with more cows going through at any one time. It promises to make the whole process much more efficient & streamlined. The new shed and installation of the new equipment will mean an end to over 150 years of millking in our traditional stone milking shed which has been adapted over that long period from stalls suitable for hand milking to regular updates in technology from the first electric milking machines in the 1930's to what we have at present which though modern and up to date in every way is limited. A purpose built milking parlour will be very different, we have moved forward from what was a state-of-the-art milking system in the 1860's when men and women sat on milking-stools and milked each cow (probably no more than 10 or 12 animals) by hand to a most modern and efficient system of the 21st century where milking 70+ cows can be done by one man in less than an hour. As small producers we are not at the forefront of milking technology but we are as efficient and mechanised as any larger farm short of installing a an automatic robotic system.