Advanced Dairy Systems

Merv Holmes & Family - Carboor, VIC

It’s certainly labour saving. Instead of having one member at cups off with the spray, we can take that extra staff member away”

Merv steps up to an advance system.

The Holmes family own and operate a 700 hectare farm near Carboor in Northern Victoria. The land is primarily used for dairying where they run a herd of 420 Friesian dairy cows. Over the course of a five year period Merv and family have upgraded their dairy from an old herringbone to an advanced WestfaliaSurge 54 unit rotary system.

Constructing their own shed to save on costs, the Holmes’ installed a basic rotary at first and progressively added time and labour saving technology to coincide with their budget. “With the way WestfaliaSurge built the plant we’ve been able to add to it as we’ve gone along so we didn’t have to spend a great fortune from day one”, said Merv.

Since installing their basic system the Holmes’ have added automatic ID, automatic drafting, an automatic teat sprayer, computerised feeding, Metatron milk meters with automatic cluster removal, automatic cow retention arms and WestfaliaSurge’s DairyPlan herd management system. Merv said, “We’ve been able to ad modules as we go along and it’s all matched up”.

The Holmes’ dairy now has a number of devices working in synergy to collect and update data on individual cow health, production, and breeding cycles. Their new system automates procedures and alerts the Holmes’ to vital information for their herd management.

Incorporating Metatron milk meters with their DairyPlan herd management system the Holmes’ have a vast amount of information at their fingertips. Individual cow alarms for ‘low milk yield’, ‘high conductivity’, ‘bucket milk’ and ‘do not milk’ provide the Holmes’ with clear information on each cows health and production as well as an indicators to possible heat. “You’ve got a lot more at your finger tips as far as animal health goes. Now you can put anyone at cups on and they can jump straight into it. It won’t let you milk bucket cows and there’s a number of safeguards in the system that take the hassle out of things”, said Merv. Furthermore with their automatic drafting system the Holmes’ can now draft their cows at the milk meter terminal based on information they receive during milking.

Metatron milk meters incorporate automatic cluster removal as standard and with the addition of automatic retention arms and an automatic teat sprayer the Holmes’ now have the luxury of operating a one man shed. “It’s certainly labour saving. Instead of having someone at cups off teat spraying the cows we can take that extra staff member away”, said Merv.

Working in conjunction with their milk meters the Holmes’ retention arms not only retain cows on the platform yet to milk out but also retain cows in the event of an individual cow alarm. They use this to further monitor health or to draft cows at the milk meter terminal.

The Holmes also use information recorded from their milk meters to feed to production. “We have five feed heads coming into the dairy and the system gives you the opportunity to fine tune your feeding. You can feed better producing cows more of an individual feed, and later lactation cows less. It’s just a matter of pressing a few buttons and the computer does the calculations. It’s certainly a saving on feed”, said Merv.

The Holmes are already enjoying significant reductions in time and labour and are considering a further upgrade incorporating rescounters to detect heat and streamline their breeding program.


Ph: 03 58712 433