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Dairy Barn Floor Drops Down For Milking
Moveable dairy barn floors have been around for years (see sidebar) but have never really caught on in a big way.
Among the first Canadian dairy farmers to try out a "drop down floor" are Gerrit and Carola Dekker of Springfield, Ontario. The 9 by 30-ft. hydraulic-powered floor is in their double-12 parlor in a new 200-head free-stall barn.
The system works great, say the Dekkers, who milk 140 cows. Adjusting the height of the floor to the height of the worker greatly reduces stress on the back," notes Gerrit. "When you start stiffening up, one quick adjustment and you're comfortable again."
The Dekkers' floor was designed by Embro Farm Systems (P.O. Box 100, 137 Huron St., Embro, Ontario, Canada NOJ 1JO; ph 519 475-4850). The floor is adjust-able 16 in. up and down, thanks to a control panel that operates four 16-in. hydraulic cylinders underneath the corners of the floor.
The cylinders are driven by a 10 hp electro-hydraulic motor and pump that also operate the other hydraulic systems in the parlor. The floor added about $10,000 (Canadian) to construction cost of the barn and parlor, Dekker says.
Since the Dekkers put in their moveable floor last fall, Embro Farm Systems has been working on systems for a few other Ontario producers. One has a new scissors lift de-sign that operates on a single cylinder.
At least two other North American companies offer moveable floors as well.
"ComFloor" is offered by Alfa Laval Agri Inc. (11100 N. Congress Avenue, Kansas City, Mo. 64153-1296; ph 816 891-7700; fax 1606). It's available for tandem, herring-bone and parallel parlors and consists of two 5-in. channel iron beams and 4-in. L-iron transverse supports. It adjusts floor height 8 in. with a 1/3 hp pump that operates on vegetable oil instead of conventional hydraulic oil. Sells for about $9,000 (U.S.) for a double-6 herringbone and $8,000 (U.S.) for a double-8 parallel.
A third company that makes a system that operates on a single 8 in. dia. air cylinder with 32 in. stroke, a 5 hp twin air compressor, and cable and pulleys. Capital Dairy Systems (R.R. 1, Woodstock, Ontario, Canada N4S 7V6; ph 519 456-5299) has installed one system in a double-12 and an-other in a double-14 parlor, and they allow for adjustments of from 12 to 18 in. It can be installed in new parlors or as a retrofit for $7,000 to $10,000 (Canadian).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #3