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Rotary Milking Parlor Floats On Water
A revolutionary rotary milking parlor that floats on water is virtually maintenance free, a feature which its inventor feels will make it more popular than "herringbones" with dairymen throughout the world.
"Capacity per man hour is about 200 cows with a rotary, versus only about 80 cows with a herringbone system. So, if you're looking for a system that will let you milk up to 250 or so cows twice a day without hired help, this new rotary is just the ticket," explains David Johns, marketing director for Rotoflo.
Key to the revolutionary design is its simplicity. "The main reason previous rotaries haven't caught on is that they've required too much expensive maintenance to keep them in operation. It's a brand new ball game with the Rotoflo which has no moving parts to wear out or maintain," Johns told FARM SHOW.
The basic concept can be visualized by taking two cereal bowls of the same size and shape. Partially fill one with water and place the other on top. The upper bowl floats, resembling the upper concrete deck of the Rotoflo which is similarly supported by water. It's virtually frictionless and, fully loaded with 24 to 72 cows, depending on size, it requires only a 1/2 hp motor to turn it.
"We already have two operating units here in New Zealand one is 30 stalls and the other 24. By the end of this year, we expect to have 15 Rotoflo systems in this country, and six in Australia," says Johns. "We're looking for farm building contractors in the U.S. and Canada interested in selling and installing Rotoflo milking parlors under a licensing agreement."
Johns notes that, in cold weather areas, the Rotoflo can be "freeze proofed" by enclosing it in a heated building. If necessary, the water can be laced with antifreeze to prevent freezing, or oil or other non-freezing liquid can be used instead of water.
The Rotoflos can be custom designed in "merry-go-rounds" of anywhere from 16 to a practical limit of about 72 cows. Estimated cost is about $1,100 per cow stall for the Rotoflo itself, excluding milking equipment. A special cover keeps dung and dirt from contaminating the water "pad" supporting the floating platform.
About 6,000 gals. of water are required to float the concrete platform of a 30 cow Rotoflo. This much water gives a depth of about 10 in. under the platform and a cushion about 8 in. wide on the sides. Vertical static displacement, when fully loaded with cows, is less than a foot. If just one half of the platform is loaded with cows, the tilt is less than 1.5? and won't interfere with the parlor's rotation.
A drain built into the center carries away washwater. Johns envisions future systems made up of a Rotoflo milking parlor, and a similar floating circular holding pen which would rotate in "sync" with the Rotoflo milking unit. The holding unit would automatically feed cows to be milked onto the Rotoflo without any of the stress and strain they have to contend with in conventional crowding gates and alleys.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rotoflo, P.O. Box 9305, Hamilton, New Zealand (ph 394-981).

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #1