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Clearing Up Myths About (OCS) Milking Parlours

Over the past decade there have been many innovations within the dairy farming industry. These innovations have been life changing in improving the work-life balance for humans and the health and wellbeing of animals. From (OCS) milking parlours to AMS (Automatic Milk System), from little human intervention to having a day to day contact with the animals. The options available in the market are endless. 

At Dairymaster we take pride in building high tech (OCS) milking parlours and are at the forefront of combining tradition with innovation. Let us take a deep dive into the OCS parlour and discuss some common misconceptions. 

What are OCS parlours?

OCS stands for Operation Controlled System. This means that there is always a human intervention/action needed in order to operate the parlour. The OCS parlour (also known as a milking parlour) is designed to make the milking process faster, easier and more sustainable and can be automated according to your needs and wishes. Drawing inspiration from age-old milking practices, these parlours honor the principles of the milking process while embracing the efficiencies of modern technology. It’s a seamless fusion of the old and the new, where each element serves a distinct purpose in enhancing both the farmer’s workflow and the cow’s well-being.

Due to the fact that human intervention is always needed with an OCS parlour, it remains a topic of discussion and carries many misconceptions. Milking parlours play a crucial role in modern dairy farming, yet they often fall victim to misconceptions that can hinder a farmer to make the right choice for their farm’s efficiency. In this blog, we’ll debunk some of the most common misconceptions surrounding milking parlours, shedding light on their importance and addressing misconceptions that may cloud their reputation.

Clearing Up Myths About (OCS) Milking Parlours

Many years ago, before the many technological advances in the dairy industry, milking a herd was a long, intense and never ending task. We don’t know any different than seeing our (grand)parents milking hours in the morning and repeating the same process in the afternoon. The strain it took on their bodies, the time away from family and lack of freedom is a reason this ‘traditional way of milking’ is now seen through a negative lens. Let us take a closer look at the most common misconceptions.

1). Milking parlours are outdated and inefficient.

Milking parlours are often seen as outdated and inefficient compared to their robotic counterparts. However, this perception overlooks the significant advancements that have transformed milking parlours into highly efficient dairy production parlours. The days of hard manual labour and no free time are long gone. Today’s milking parlours are equipped with cutting-edge technology that streamlines the milking process and maximizes productivity. Automated systems, integrated sensors, and real-time monitoring capabilities are just a few examples of the innovations that have revolutionized milking parlours, rendering them far from outdated. In today’s time the (OCS) milking parlours are so optimized and efficient that they rival the most advanced milk robots. 

With automated systems handling much of the workload, dairy farmers can now enjoy increased efficiency and reduced labour, allowing them to focus on other aspects of farm management and their families. In essence, the remarkable evolution milking parlours have undergone must be acknowledged. By embracing technology and innovation, today’s milking parlours are not only keeping pace with modern dairy farming demands but are also leading the charge towards a more efficient and sustainable future. 

2). An AMS is better than an OCS parlour

The primary distinction between milking with an OCS milking parlour versus a milk robot lies in the connection between the farmer and the herd. While robot milking may appear less demanding, it doesn’t necessarily translate to more free time. This is a common misconception. While a robot handles the milking process, farmers must remain vigilant 24/7 in case of issues or to locate cows for milking if they fail to appear. The flexibility of day-to-day milking routines is a definite advantage of robot milking, but when compared to the efficiency of an OCS parlour, it may warrant reconsideration. Milking over 100 cows per hour with just one milker showcases the speed and efficiency of OCS parlours, reducing daily workload and putting much less strain on the body due to the levels of automation and technology and innovation integrated in these milking parlours.  

Another topic which shows the power of a (OCS) milking parlour is grazing, a very trending topic. It has been shown that it has a positive effect on the cows as it allows for the cows to better show their natural behaviour and it has a positive effect on the claw health. On farms where the cows go grazing, it is not always easy to combine it with a milking robot. With a robot it can take more time to get your cows out of the field when you notice a cow has not been milked on time. With a milking parlour you already have fixed times when you go get your cows. It often is more easily integrated into the daily routine. The routine of milking multiple times a day isn’t the issue anymore; rather, it’s where priorities lie. Fortunately, with the modern approach to milking, time is no longer a concern and it is more about what fits and serves the farm best, putting the needs of the farmer and herd first.

3). Milking parlours are harmful to cow welfare.

There’s a common misconception that milking parlours are detrimental to cow welfare, as the cow is not able to choose when they get milked and they should have the choice. In reality, well-designed milking parlours place a strong emphasis on cow comfort and welfare, ensuring a stress-free milking experience that promotes their overall well-being.

Contrary to popular belief, cows thrive in environments where their needs are carefully considered and met. The layout of a milking parlour and cow-flow is always thoughtfully designed keeping the wellbeing and safety of the cows in mind. For example, cows do not like sharp bends, level differences, slippery floors or protruding objects. Angles should be greater than 90° and the entire layout should have a minimum amount of turns. 

Establishing a routine in the milking process and having a good cow-flow is highly beneficial for the cow, as it reduces stress and anxiety by providing structure and predictability. Prioritizing cow comfort and well-being, milk parlours play a crucial role in ensuring the health and happiness of dairy cows.

4). Milking parlours are expensive and inaccessible

It’s often assumed that milking parlours come with a hefty price tag. While investing in a new, well-designed milking parlour requires careful consideration, the benefits it offers can significantly enhance the profitability and sustainability of a dairy operation. One of the key advantages is increased efficiency and durability, coupled with low maintenance costs. Modern milking parlours are equipped with advanced technology and automation features that streamline the milking process, resulting in higher throughput and reduced labour requirements. These parlours are also highly customizable to suit individual needs and budgets, offering options for farms of all sizes, from family-run operations to larger commercial enterprises.

Moreover, the longevity and low maintenance requirements of OCS milking parlours make them a wise investment in the long run. Dairymaster parlours, for instance, boast an average lifespan of 25 years, significantly outlasting AMS systems. Additionally, compared to AMS, OCS milking parlours offer up to 60% savings in annual maintenance costs, providing financial relief and allowing farmers to reinvest in their businesses.

While installing a new milking parlour entails upfront expenses, the long-term benefits and cost savings make it a sound investment for dairy farmers looking to optimize their operations and achieve sustainable growth.

5).  Milking parlours are one-size-fits-all solutions.

It’s a common misconception that milking parlours come in standard configurations, leaving little room for customization. However, the reality is quite different. Milking parlours are highly adaptable and can be tailored to meet the specific needs and preferences of individual dairy operations. In fact, dairy farmers have a diverse array of options to choose from when it comes to milking parlour setups. There are many different models available, from a Rotary to a Mobile Milking parlour or maybe the preference goes to a traditional Herringbone structure. It all depends on the needs of the farmer, the size of the herd and the space available now and in the future. 

Furthermore, milking parlours can be customized with additional features and levels of automation to enhance efficiency, performance and reduce the workload. From advanced data analytics software to automated health monitoring systems, dairy farmers have the flexibility to integrate cutting-edge innovation into their parlour setup.

Embrace ‘the new traditional way of milking’

In conclusion, milking parlours are not relics of the past but vital components of modern dairy farming. By debunking these common misconceptions, we hope to highlight the value and importance of milking parlours in sustaining a thriving dairy industry. OCS milking parlours represent a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation in milking technology. And at Dairymaster, we pride ourselves in creating parlours that combine traditional milking practices with cutting-edge technology, prioritizing both the wellbeing of the farmer and the herd. 

Contact us for more information, a free consultation or maybe a day of milking and experiencing a OCS milking parlour for yourself! Join the Dairymaster movement, where we protect the connection between farmer and herd and where innovation meets tradition!

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