Agricultural equipment used in dairy facilities to obtain milk from the animals and on pastures to cultivate, harvest and transport fodder material.
- High end technology to reduce labour work
- Reduces farming time
- Improves the quality and quantity of fodder produced.
- Makes job easier.
- Increases the quality of milk obtained from animals
Selecting Farm Equipment
There are various factors to consider when selecting equipment for your farm. These include:
- The size of your operation
- The number of animals to be milked
- The quality of the equipment to be purchased. Equipment should be cost effective and should save time.
- The type of milking procedure that will be utilized on the farm.
- The land size for planting pasture
Types of Equipment
Milking equipment should be designed, constructed, installed and maintained in a way that will reduce the likelihood of contamination of the milk. When planning to install milking systems, dairy farmers should seek advice from a specialist trained in the planning and installation of such equipment.
Milking equipment should be calibrated on a regular basis to be efficient and perform at its optimum. The performance of the milking system can affect the dairy farmer’s profit.
Milking machines maybe:
- Pail machines
- Suspension machines
- Pipeline Milker
There are two common types of vacuum pumps, the piston and the rotary pump. The rotary pump is more efficient and smaller in size hence it’s more commonly used today. Regardless of which type is used, it must be large enough to provide sufficient vacuum to operate the system properly.
Milk lines are made of stainless steel or glass and carries milk from the barn or parlour to the milk room.
- Milk lines should be of proper size. The size is dependent on the number of milker units used in the milking systems, slope of the lines and the amount of milk entering the lines.
- Milk lines should be sloped to assist in the movement of milk towards the receiver jar. The usual amount of slope is one to one and a half inch per ten feet of line.
Milk inflation which line the teat cup of the milking claw should have the following characteristics:
- They should properly fit a cow’s teat. They must also be expandable so that the milker can be used on cows with longer teats.
- Inflations must be soft and flexible to avoid injury to the cow’s teat. They should also have a long life.
- To resist the accumulation of butterfat and milkstone deposit, inflations should be made of high quality rubber with smooth surfaces.
- Inflations should be used for 1,500 to 2000 milking before they are replaced.
Milking per liner = Number of cows milked x 2 x days used
Number of units used
The facility should have areas equipped for washing. There should be sinks for washing hands and sinks for washing milking equipment.
Equipment used for storage should also be designed and constructed and maintained in a way to reduce the introduction of contaminants and also limiting the growth of micro-organisms.
A bulk tank is an insulated stainless tank used to cool and store milk. Bulk tanks maybe classified by shape, size, manufacturers and the type of refrigeration system used. The size of the bulk tank must be appropriate to the volume of milk produced. Its size also depends on the frequency with which the milk is picked up and brought to the milk plant. If the milk is picked up every other day the tank should hold about five milkings. It’s a good idea however to buy a tank 20 to 50 percent larger than is presently needed, this is to allow for future expansion. Bulk tank size is usually noted in gallons.
Characteristics of a Bulk Tank
- Should be located at least 2 feet from any wall so that it can be easily cleaned.
- It must be able to cool milk quickly to the required temperature set by milk standard laws.
- Should not be located over a drain or under light.
Calf bucket feeders
These are generally used to feed calves from birth to two (2) weeks old. Colostrum and milk replacers are normally fed to the calves through calf bucket feeders. Buckets feeders should be cleaned after use with soap water and rinsed thoroughly and is dried in a clean environment. Cleaning agent such as hypochlorite should not be used to clean calf buckets as residues may be harmful to the young calf.
Water troughs provide drinking water to the animals on the farm. They are various type of water troughs that can be found on the farm:
Troughs are mostly rectangular in shape and generally fitted along fence lines for easy access for the animals. The length of the trough should allow all cows to drink at the same time. Water troughs should be high above ground level to prevent animals from falling in them.
Total Mixed Ration (TMRs) Mixer
Total Mixed ration (TMRs) is used to improve the feeding systems of dairy animals. It ensures that cows consume all the required level of nutrients. The mixed ration should include good quality forages, a balance of grains and proteins, vitamins and minerals. The TMR mixer is used to mix forages, grains and protein in their correct proportions to meet the nutritional needs of the animals. These mixers may be either used in stationary or portable.
Equipment are used on pastures for different purposes:
- Land Preparation
The most commonly used equipment on any farm operation is the tractor. Tractors are essential tool for preparing the soil to planting the seed to collecting the harvest. Tractors also plays an integral part in fodder conservation and are used to prepare materials for making hay and silage, Tractors are also used to drive and operate other implements on the farm for ploughing, harrowing and planting.
Ploughs are used primarily in soil preparation; it turns over upper layer of the soil bringing fresh nutrients to the surface allowing easier breaking down.
This is suitable for breaking up lumps of soil to provide a finer finish. A good soil structure is ideal when planting seed for pasture establishment. There are three type of harrow:
Dairy pastures require a large amount of water for irrigation. Irrigation systems are comprised of tubes, pipes and sprays. Some common irrigations used on dairy pastures include:
Water is distributed over and across land by gravity, no mechanical pump involved
A type of localized irrigation in which drops of water are delivered at or near the root of plants. In this type of irrigation, evaporation and runoff are minimized
Water is distributed by overhead high-pressure sprinklers or guns from a central location in the field or from sprinklers on moving platforms.
Harvesting and Conservation
Disc Mower helps producers cut hay at higher speeds which paramount when windows are tight, it allows for farmers to mow, rake and bale in one day. It is important to consider the tractor size when purchasing a disc mower.
Mower conditioners are mainly used to cut grasses for hay or silage and are often place the cut materials into rows. These rows of cut materials are referred to as windrows.
A hay baler is a piece of farm machinery generally pulled by a tractor to compress a cut and raked crop into compact bales. Bales are easy to handle, transport and store. Often bales are configured to dry and preserve some of the nutritional value of the plants bundled. There are two types of balers; round and square (large or small).
Silage Packing Machine
Silage is made from forages such as corn, grass and legumes which are sored under air tight conditions. A silage packing machine or silo packer is used to compress forage materials.
Trucks are typical used to transport animals on the farm. Trucks and trailer are also used to transport fodder material around the farm.