"This is a tremendous advantage for us in time savings and ease on the cows- cows are very calm and content in the holding area, chewing their cud"

    Charlie Ziegler

    Baker Brook

    Western NY Dairy Milks with First Dairymaster Rotary Parlor in Northeast.

    Attica, NY - Dairy farmers Ed and Charlie Ziegler and Rick Stevens decided to form Baker Brook Dairy LLC to "make a more modern, more efficient dairy," explained Stevens at their new dairy facilities. To meet this goal, the partners are now milking their 800 commercial Holsteins in a newly-installed 40 unit Dairymaster Swiftflo Revolver rotary parlor, the first one of its kind in the Northeast and one of several operating throughout the United States and Canada.

    Stevens commented "it seemed like to make it [in the dairy industry] you had to get bigger," and with no heir apparent, Stevens partnered with his neighbors, the Zieglers, to form Baker Brook Dairy LLC. With their goal to become more modern and efficient in place, they were at a crossroads - financially they were sound, however their dairy equipment was worn and tired. The partners were faced with a monumental decision. They had to decide to modernize or exit the dairy industry. Planning groups and financial planners were called in and the partners started looking at new, modern dairy equipment and new housing for the herd. Stevens explained how they had been looking at the Dairymaster brand for four years prior to purchasing their new milking system. After several visits to neighboring dairy farmer, Tom Preischel, who milks with a Dairymaster Swiftflo 30 unit swing parlor. "We were quite intrigued by it," remarked Stevens. The partners then traveled to the Midwest with their Dairymaster dealer, George Ellis, of HR Enterprises. During their trip, they saw a Dairymaster Swiftflo Revolver in action.  "We were quite interested in it. I liked it and could understand how it worked," Stevens explained. "Some milking systems are so complicated you need to be an engineer to understand it - however that's not the case with the Dairymaster brand."

    Everyone at Baker Brook Dairy was impressed with the construction phase of the project. Stevens said "it goes very fast" as the parlor was delivered to the farm complete in one container. George Ellis added, "Everything about this is amazing, and in my position exciting, so user-friendly, so economical - it's just an amazing piece of machinery. When you look at the system when it's done, the parlor you get is amazing. The construction of the system was easy as the parlor all fit together with virtually no fabrication. Essentially, the Baker Brook parlor was put together and turned on, ready for milking."

    The Swiftflo Revolver Milking Parlor installed at Baker Brook Dairy LLC, is truly an advanced state of the art rotary system. Some of the features of this rotary include: AutoID with RFID ear tags, Dairymaster Weighall Milk Meters, auto washers, automatic sorting, and sound messaging, which informs parlor operators of important messages over a speaker and visually on the milk meter display. Also installed with the parlor is the Dairymaster entrance system, which only allows one cow at a time to enter the parlor area.  This prevents pushing and possible cow injury. Cows approach the parlor from the holding area one at a time and gracefully step onto the revolving platform. Upon completion of milking, the cows back away from the parlor in the same effortless manner.

    Both Ed Ziegler and Rick Stevens agree that between the new 6 row, 724 foot freestall, moving cows from the former Stevens farm, and the new rotary parlor, the cows are much more comfortable, happier, and more productive. The 800 cow herd consisting of mostly commercial Holsteins, are milked three times a day by Hispanic workers with a total milking time of 4.5 to 5 hours per milking. "The transition went much smoother than expected - I thought it would go a lot worse," said Charlie Ziegler. After a slight decrease in milk on the first two days of use, by the third day of milking the cows produced the same as in the old parlor. In fact, their production has steadily increased ever since. "We are up 8 to 10 pounds per cow at 7 weeks [from the first milking]." said Stevens. "With the increase of 10 pounds of milk per day per cow that Baker Brook Dairy is experiencing after installation, plus the increased efficiency, which has reduced labor, the parlor is estimated to be paid off at only 12 months," Mike Piché VP Dairymaster USA added.     

    Stevens believes an important benefit of the new milking system is customer service. "If we need something, we can call and talk to them [Dairymaster USA]. To us, that was a huge selling point," stated Stevens. "They really must know what they are doing as the parlor was very complete from the manufacturer." Ed Ziegler feels that the Auto ID feature will "eventually be a great help to our herd." For now, they are focusing on the basics - milking cows in the new rotary and then they will start utilizing the parlor's features. "We think it has potential and it's going to work for us," said Stevens. One aspect of the parlor that Stevens stressed is the fact he feels a local technician could get us going if a break down occurred. However there is a slim chance of a break down as there is a duplication of critical functions on the parlor. For example there are two drive wheels and three vacuum pumps used. Another selling point is that the parlor is farmer and operator friendly. Ellis commented how the Dairymaster milking systems are versatile and are designed to be utilized by dairy farmers across the world. Some of these systems are in remote areas where service technicians are many miles away. "It's a simple machine to work on; however its technology is very advanced over anything on the market. That is good for the farmer." Ellis also explained how Dairymaster USA is "all about new technology, productivity, and serviceability."  

    Ed Ziegler feels the Dairymaster system is "pretty durable" and is pleased with its operation in the first 49 days. "It keeps our cows happy and the cows enjoy getting their own space. The parlor is light, bright, and airy. The cows have been running to the parlor since Day 5." Both Ed and Charlie Ziegler agree that the sort gate is a great benefit of their new system. There is no pushing or slipping and the gate "sorts and counts cows, which has eliminated the need for the push guy." said Ed. He also explained how the cows are very calm and content in the holding area, chewing their cud. "This is a tremendous advantage for us in time savings and ease on the cows," said Charlie Ziegler. He feels the sorter will be a great asset for the veterinarian, breeder, hoof trimmer, and staff when switching cows into different groups. The work force on Baker Brook is also excited about the new milking system, as it provides a much better working environment than their previous system. The milking staff work around the outside of the parlor instead of being confined to a milking pit. The design of the parlor also lends itself to fewer kick-offs, less milking time, cleaner milking area around the cow, and a safer work area in general.  

    The partners were impressed with installation, service, and support they received from both their dealer and Dairymaster USA. "It's very exciting and we are thoroughly enjoying the experience." said Charlie Ziegler. "It's amazing. The first time we turned it on, we just couldn't believe something so complex could be so trouble free." said Rick Stevens. Charlie Ziegler also stressed that all three partners agree that their new Dairymaster Swiftflo Revolver parlor is working for them. "We don't regret buying this brand in any way and we would do it again".