More than 150 people attended this week's open house at S&A Kreider Farm at Quarryville, Pa., to take a first-hand peek at one of the latest additions to milking parlor technology. GEA Farm Technologies' Apollo Auto Teat Dip System debuted early this year at farm shows. But it's now proving its value on Northeast dairy farms.
As reported in American Agriculturist 's February 2013 New York Farm Show program, the redesigned milking claw incorporates automated post-dipping with sanitizing backflushing. It's block-bleed-block safety shutoff design guarantees that milk and teat dip always remain in separate channels
Less labor and higher parlor throughput
S&A Kreider milks 960 cows in its new parlor using the Apollo system installed by the Fisher & Thompson dealership. Scott Kreider estimated that the system has resulted in a nearly 50% increase in cows being milked per hour.
"With the new parlor we are milking 160 to 180 head per hour," he said. "We're saving time and labor through the whole process. We've also seen improvement in our milk quality and we've been able to lower the somatic cell count."
"The Apollo system has been a big improvement to the dairy in terms of efficiency and productivity," added Amos Fisher of Fisher & Thompson. Cows' teats are dipped completely and consistently prior to the unit's removal. And the application greatly improves mastitis prevention.
Each milking unit is backflushed with a sanitizing solution after each use, explained Fisher. "That helps prevent the spread of bacteria from cow to cow through milking units."