Tradition plays an important role on a second generation family dairy farm in Taranaki with a proud and successful 50 year history of stud breeding. But at least one tradition went out the window nearly a decade ago when ‘normal’ round rubber milking liners were replaced with a radical new square design.
Apart from one brief experiment, those square liners have stayed the distance, first for Ivan and Robyn Fredrickson and now for their daughter Kylee Perrett and her husband Danny.
“We did try different liners once, but they didn’t even last three months…,” Kylee says.
She and Danny sharemilk 250 pedigree Ayrshires and Holstein Friesians on the 95ha (effective) Ngaere farm Ivan and Robyn bought in the early 1980s.
Despite a very difficult spring, they finished 2016/17 on track for total farm production of 103,500 kg MS and are hoping for 105,000 kg MS this coming season.
Parents of two young children, they run the farm together, with Ivan lending a hand. Breeding, showing and judging Ayrshires is part of the family DNA and Kylee says she and Danny are proud to have taken on the Sentinal stud herd from her mum and dad.
It was Ivan who first introduced VacPlus Square milking liners to the farm when Skellerup launched the unconventional new design several years ago.
Kylee says the same thing that caught his attention at the time – faster, more efficient milk out – remains a key reason she and Danny have stuck with the square liners since taking over the herd in 2014, notwithstanding reduced farmgate milk prices and tighter finances.
“We never get any slipping of cups, and the cows’ teats are always in really good condition; we don’t get pox.”
The VacPlus Squares may also contribute to their unusually consistent milk quality, she says. Last season, for example, the herd was grade free, with an average somatic cell count of just 105,000, and that level of performance is the norm rather than the exception for them.
“We’ve never had a somatic cell count problem. We don’t use any dry cow therapy – including TeatSeal – and we never cull on SCC. We teat spray from early lactation to mid November, then for the last four weeks of the season coming up to dry off, but that’s it.”
Good cow conformation contributes to this, she says, along with good genetics, but whatever the reasons, “at the end of the day we know our cows are healthy and we save thousands on dry cow therapy.”
To find out more about Skellerup VacPlus Square Milking Liners ask your local rural retailer today or visit our dairy best practice page.