Remodeling NE Iowa Dairy Milking Systems

Larry Tranel, Field Specialist-Dairy and Dale Thoreson, Field Specialist-Dairy/Beef, Northeast Area

Issue Identified

Dairy producers have identified profit and quality of life as being a major issue due to very low milk prices.  These field specialists identified remodeling milking systems as an area where producers need to improve efficiency of cows milked per person per hour, reduce labor hours and improve milking ergonomics to improve profit and quality of life.

ISU Extension Response

In response to the identified need, these field specialists identified 10 low-cost parlors, most of which were remodeled since the previous round of parlor tours.  Ten parlor tours were set up covering 5 days from in March, 2006.  These field specialists utilized the swing parabone design concept as a basis for discussion to build parlors and distinguish/separate various options that can be added depended on producer goals and budget.  Much of the constructive critique was facilitated by ISU Extension in cooperation with the host producer and/or milking equipment dealer.  The parlor at the NE Iowa Dairy Center was built by ISU Extension with assistance from others to showcase the TRANS Iowa Parlor design.

Impact and Reactions

Four hundred and thirty two dairy producers and agri-business personnel attended the Low-Cost Parlor Tours.  Producers surveyed verified there was a lot of good information presented here and I was amazed at how creative, simple, possible and low cost these parlors can be.   In addition, producers also mentioned the presenters were really good and gave us some great things to think about in building a parlor. 

The Dubuque Telegraph Herald, along with the Farm Bureau Spokesman, the Agri-News and the Dairy Star newspapers all gave a very positive impression of ISU Extension in working with dairy producers to improve profits and efficiencies. Several agri-business personnel also shared their intentions of multiplying the management practices shared with their producers who were not at the meeting. 

In the month following the parlor tours over 25 producers called these field specialists for follow-up in the way of telephone, office and farm visits.  Several have already begun building.  It is estimated that about 25% of the parlors built since the last round of parlor tours were built due to the information learned at the previous round of tours.  It is anticipated that 8 parlors will be built in the next year due to the information presented at this round of parlor tours.

Future Needs

Participants outlined additional needs for more information on cow comfort, ventilation, long day lighting, freestall and low cost parlor designs.

March 2007
110 - Dairy

Page last updated: March 19, 2007
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