A family-owned dairy farm in the South Wales Valleys has seen an increased milk yield from happier cows, thanks to investment in a new rotary milking parlour, which received Welsh Government funding support.
Price & Co Farming at Gelliargwellt Uchaf Farm in Caerphilly has seen milking times reduced by more than half – from 6-7 hours to just 3 hours because the new parlour maintains a steady flow of animals throughout each of the three daily milkings and, crucially, can milk twice as many cows at a time – 64 animals, up from 32. The herd is now producing approximately 1,500 litres a day equating to around 6 million litres of milk each year.
The milking parlour project was part-funded with £400,000 through the Welsh Government’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2019 – which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, through the Welsh Government.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said:
“I am pleased Welsh Government has been able to contribute to the new rotary milking parlour at Gelliargwellt Uchaf Farm through our Sustainable Production Grant. The Sustainable Production Grant is an important mechanism through which we support farm businesses to become more efficient, more resilient, and ultimately it is hoped, more prosperous.”
The new rotary milking parlour replaces the more traditional herringbone parlour. It means that the farm has been able to fine-tune its milking routine, which reduces stress on the herd and results in calmer environment. This has increased throughput and a reduction in the time and work required which has given greater yields and gentle on the herd.
Paul Price, co-owner and director of Price & Co Farming, said:
“The new parlour has been an all-round success for us. Milking times have reduced and is much easier, the herd is much calmer, and yield is up by 31%.
“The first milking takes place at 5am, followed by one at 1pm and the final milk at 7pm. With the remaining farming jobs including feeding, bedding down, drying off, vet checks and foot trimming being completed between milkings. Most of the work is completed by 9pm, unless calving or silage is takes place, where overnight activity is required.”