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Flat rate feeding fits the job perfectly!

When a local farm became available for tenancy Eilir Evans of E Evans and Son saw it as an opportunity to expand his dairy business, wanting to replicate his existing business model based on milk from grass. With the tenancy farm previously stocking sheep a new dairy was required and Eilir opted to continue feeding a flat rate in parlour, with Collinson Equity flat rate feeding fitting the job perfectly.

The new farm allowed them to increase the herd size to 600 with 300 at each site, a new Milfos 24/48 parlour was installed, and as they block calved it was decided to continue feeding with the flat rate in parlour feeding method. The manufacturer who installed his other system had changed their design and there were one or two features Eilir didn’t like, including the price, so it was back to the drawing board and they set about looking at other systems on the market.

‘I wanted to feed flat rate in parlour due to the flexibility it offers, it is a one off investment, you can easily increase cow numbers where as if you feed forage there is additional expense of troughs and associated machinery to increase herd size, flat rate feeding is just simple and effective.’ Eilir explained.

Feeding in parlour irrespective of the amount has many benefits; it allows the farmer to use his most valuable asset, grass, topping up feeding a flat rate to supplement the herd according to stage of lactation, and grass/forage quality, feeding in parlour entices the animal into the parlour improving stock flow, it also helps to let the milk down resulting in faster milking, good news for everyone!

The Collinson Equity system is simple, the 7l volumetric feeders are grouped in small banks down each side of the parlour, the feeders at Hafod Wynnog are in 5 groups each side. Each bank of feeders is quickly and easily dispensed, via a pulley, as the operator moves along the cows, the beauty of this is on your last row of cows you don’t have to discharge a whole side of feeders a feature which was important to Eilir, so feed is fresh for the next milking.

For feed management quantities can be easily adjusted in increments of 100 grams, with feed easily being reduced in spring/summer or stepped up in the autumn dependent upon grass quality, and considering the appalling weather we experienced in 2012 this is a valuable asset! Feed is quickly dispensed in its entirety for maximum accuracy; this combined with the small minimum release makes the system not only suitable for cows but also smaller dairy animals such as goats and sheep.

Eilir said ‘I spoke to Collinson, the chap I worked with was really helpful and their flat rate system, Equity, seemed like a good piece of kit, it is robust and was exactly what I was looking for, I completed my system with a Collinson silo which is galvanised with a Plasteel finish, I went for a slate blue finish which looks good and a conveyor to take the feed from the silo into the parlour’

The complete system was purchased from Collinson and installation was undertaken by Eilir and his local dairy engineer John Hunt, everything went smoothly, with the herd going on the system in spring of this year. The new herd is all heifers, yielding 6000 litres on the system, feeding 750kg per head, per year Eilir is more than pleased, ‘I would definitely recommend it’ he said.