Machinery & Products

Rotary dairies a cheap, efficient option

By Dairy News

ROTARY DAIRIES remain a cost-effective and low-maintenance option for dairy farmers, according to Steve Allenby from Allenby Engineering, Camperdown.

Allenby Engineering built its first rotary dairy — 40 units — in 1988. Mr Allenby believes it was the first concrete rotary built.

“Jack Green (well-known farm adviser who passed away in 2002) came up with the concept of a concrete rotary and we said, ‘we’ll have a crack at it’,” Mr Allenby said.

“They’re still the fastest way to milk cows. You can milk 300 cows in an hour.

“Price wise, people think a rotary dairy will cost $1 m minimum but you can make them for cheaper than that.

“It costs $2000/bale for the platform. So for a 50-unit rotary that’s $100 000. Milking machines will cost anywhere from $2000 a bale to $10,000, but the platform side is cheap.”

Allenby Engineering built the 44-unit rotary for Warrnambool dairy farmer Brad Sheen. The dairy was fitted with Waikato milking gear. The concrete rotary was commissioned in late June.

“I’m milking 300 cows by myself and it’s so much easier,” Mr Sheen said.

“ In the old dairy I was having to push cows on and off, now they’re happy to walk on, get fed and walk off. I can’t believe how it’s transformed the entire milking process.”

Mr Allenby said the biggest ‘killer’ of rotaries were rust and lack of maintenance.

“Rust can be hard to avoid but maintenance won’t take a farmer long. If you can fill up the automatic grease pump every three months, it will basically maintain itself.”