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Floating milking parlor on Wisconsin Farm
"We looked at both herringbone and conventional rotary parlors but decided to go with the Rotaflo because of its ease of maintenance and convenience," says Gerry Jacobs, Hilbert, Wis.
The Jacob's farm is the first in the U.S. or Canada to put in the unique parlor from New Zealand which floats on water. FARM SHOW first reported on the Rotaflo 18 months ago (Vol. 8, No. 1, 1984 issue).
"We decided to get a parlor since we weren't getting any younger. Milking cows in stanchions is hard on the knees and back. We selected the Rotaflo because it didn't have the wear points and maintenance costs of a conventional rotary. And, unlike a herringbone, one slow-milking cow can't hold up the rest of the string," says Gerry, who farms with his father, brothers and brother-in-law. They've been milking in the parlor since April.
The Jacobs' have a 20-cow Rotaflo for their 150-cow Holstein herd. "It took a few days to get the cows used to it, especially since they were used to stanchions. But now they're very content. Two people can milk our entire herd of 150 in about 1 hours, Gerry notes.
There's a milking unit for each stall but only 18 cows are milking at the same time as one cow is entering and another cow exiting as the parlor revolves.
The 20-cow parlor is 35-ft. in dia. and is built off the end of the Jacobs' barn in a 40 by 40-ft. extension. The Jacobs milk from the inside (outside is an option) of the Rotaflo because of the close access to the milking units. Their system makes a revolution once every 9 min.
Nu-Pulse America, Inc., Madison, Wis., has been named North American distributor for the New Zealand-based Rotaflo company. Barry Gascoigne, Nu-Pulse president, explains that Rotaflo engineers take care of the plans and specifications, while Nu-Pulse arranges for the concrete work.
The 20-cow unit requires about 5,000 gal. of water. Despite Wisconsin's cold weather, says Gascoigne,antifreeze isn't needed because the thick concrete walls provide enough insulation. He notes that the only maintenance requirement is to drain the water once a year to get rid of any salt build-up.
Gascoigne says low-maintenance Rotaflo parlors are priced competitively with other parlor set-ups. The Nu-Pulse company offers Rotaflos to handle up to hold 50 cows at once. An 80-cow model is in the works.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Barry Gascoigne, Nu-Pulse of America, Inc., 908 Stewart St., Madison, Wis. 53713 (ph 608 274-2722).


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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #4