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Milking Parlours

Different types of milking parlours are given below:

Tandem Parlour:
The tandems parlour usually has two to six stalls at each side of the pit. There are two types of tandem parlours, namely the side-gate type and the walk-through type. The side-gate type has entrance and exit gates on the one side of each milking stall, that can be operated by hand or hydraulics. Tandem milking parlour is especially suitable for smaller dairies (less than 100 cows) or for stud farming.

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Parallel Parlour:
In the parallel parlour, cows stand on an elevated platform at a 90-degree angle facing away from the operating area. Access to the udder is between the rear legs, which reduces visibility of the front quarters and can make unit attachment and udder sanitation more difficult.  A partitioning door that swings when a cow enters the milking stall opens the adjacent milking stall for the next cow. In most parlours, the gates overlap, to prevent the cows from entering the milking stall beforehand. As a cow enters the parlour, there is no milking stall available to enter, except the last one in the line.

Herringbone (Fishbone) Parlour:
Cows enter the fishbone parlour in groups and stand at an angle to the milking pit, so that only the udder part of the cow is exposed to the labourer. This layout reduces the distance between the udders significantly and saves walking time for the labourers between milking points. Many variations of the fishbone parlour, sometimes called the 'para-bone', have been installed, which reduces the distance between cows with 760 mm and 860 mm. Standard fish-bone parlours vary in size from 4 to 20 milking points at each side of the pit. Fishbone parlours are suitable for dairies with 200 to 500 cows.

Rotating Parlour:
In the rotating parlour, cows are milked on a rotational, raised, circle shaped platform. There are many variations of this type of parlour, based on the way the cows stand on the platform. They can stand in tandem, fishbone or parallel formation, with their heads directed towards the inside or the outside of the platform. The most logical choice is the parallel-type with the heads of the cows directed inward, as this takes up the least space per cow. The labourers remain in the same position on the outside of the platform, while the cows move in rotation towards, them. The speed of the platform can be controlled to give the labourers sufficient time to prepare the cow and fit the claw piece.

The advantage of the rotary parlor is that the cow movement functions are largely automated, freeing the operators to tasks more directly associated with milking. Rotary parlors typically require three operators: one for unit attachment, one to detach units and/or apply post milking teat dip and one to tend to any problems occurring while cows are traveling around. This parlor type is not expandable and the capital cost is usually higher per stall than for non-moving parlors. Because of these characteristics, rotary parlors are best suited to larger herds (>1000 cows).

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