Advanced Dairy Systems

Greg Sheppard & Family - Whitfield, VIC

The EasyStart is absolute magic. You really don’t know how good it is until you’re milking with it”

An EasyStart to an upgraded system. 

Situated in the historic bushranger country near Whitfield in the King River Valley, the Sheppard family has been dairy farming for four generations. Greg, along with his father, brother, one share farmer and another full time employee oversees the running of their nearly 1500 acre dairy farm.

With Whitfield being less drought affected than other areas of the country last year the family made the decision to take advantage of cattle prices and purchase an extra 100 cows for their already 350 strong herd. Milking 450 Holstein Friesians, “things had just grown too big, too quickly”, said Greg.

After consulting Adrian Hayward and the team at Advanced Dairy Systems, Greg and family decided to upgrade their 16 double-up, extending the pit to a 25 double-up complete with WestfaliaSurge DeMax 55 automatic cluster removers with EasyStart, Variotherm automatic wash system and a new milk receival system and compressed air purge. “The workmanship was excellent, and I can’t fault their 24 hour breakdown service, actually the back-up service played a large part in our decision”, said Greg.

The main part of the Sheppard’s upgrade is the simple to use DeMax 55 automatic cluster removers. The DeMax 55 control units operate the milking clusters individually and control pulsation for each unit. Installing the DeMax 55 ACR’s with EasyStart the Sheppard eliminated the need for a terminal at each bail, consequently reducing their costs even further. EasyStart adds “lift to start” and “rapid release venting” functionality to all WestfaliaSurge vacuum cylinders. Lift to start automatically activates milking on the ACR when the cluster is lifted slightly. The rapid-release venting valve at the top of the cylinder then opens and allows atmospheric air (via a filter) directly into the top of the cylinder so that the ACR cord glides out with minimal effort. There are no buttons or levers to push. The operator only needs to lift the cluster slightly to start the ACR, attach the teat cups to the teats and milking is underway.

“The EasyStart is absolute magic”, said Greg. Utilising the EasyStart technology and eradicating the need for terminals the system reduces the clutter often seen in herringbone sheds. “You really don’t know how good it is until you’re milking with it. You’re only eliminating that one step of pressing the start button but it makes the process so much simpler and gives you extra time to check the udders”, said Greg.

Installing the Variotherm automatic wash system and an automatic teat spray system as part of their upgrade the Sheppard’s have also been enjoying time and labour saving benefits at the end of milking. “Now days we start washing one side as soon as they finish milking and save time that we would have spent messing around. You can be off taking care of something else and still be sure that the system’s getting a thorough wash”, said Greg.

Already reducing their milking time by around 1 ½ hours with the new DeMax 55 system, Greg expects to take only 1 ¾ hours to milk a herd of 450 cows in the future. The family are so pleased with the system that they are already looking toward a future upgrade including Automatic ID, DairyPlan herd management system with DPView touch screen and 2 hour Rescounters for activity monitoring. “We’ve been really impressed with the system and the herd have taken to it well, in fact the cows barely batted an eyelid” said Greg.


Greg Sheppard, Whitfield Victoria

Ph: 03 58712 433