As we are primarily a dairy farm I should describe the milking process and equipment at Greenheyes.
Larger herds often use the "Herringbone" milking parlour. Here (below) is an example from our next-door neighbours Richard and Rosemary.
As you see it is quite different to ours. They milk more than twice the cows we do.
At milking time the cows first enter the "Collecting yard" to wait to be milked.
When they enter the parlour they are fed (here is one tucking in) and then fastened in with a chain which is placed behind them.
Next they are washed with warm water and dried with a disposable
Then the teats are squeezed by hand to check the milk is OK and to see if there is any problem with the flow.
If a cow had, for example, an infection
in her udder for example here is when you would detect it.
Then the milking unit or cluster as it is known, is put on and milking begins.
This can take 2-5 minutes depending on
the cow and how much milk she is giving.
When the milk flow stops the unit is removed automatically and I then dip her teats with an Iodine solution to help protect her against any infections.
she has finished being miked, the gate in front of her is then opened
and she leaves the parlour to go back to the field or cubical shed
depending on the time of year.
Generally the first thing she will do is go for a drink at the water trough.
The milk is released from the glass jar in which it has been temporally stored, and is pumped from parlour to the dairy.
The floor is first scraped clear of any dung (cows can be messy) and then it is washed with this hose the collecting yard is also done.
All the pipes and glass jars which the milk passes through on its way to the bulk tank must be cleaned these are sterilized with boiling water containing a very strong bleach solution.
During this time the milk is getting its final cooling in the tank and by the time I have finished cleaning out it is generally at about 3.5 degrees Celsius.
It will continue to fall in temperature
and by the time it is collected it may be as low as 2 degrees.
When the lorry driver comes to collect the milk. Firstly he takes a sample for testing at the dairy's laboratory and then he attaches this pipe onto our tank and sucks the milk into the lorry.
A flow sensor tells us how much he has collected and he prints out this receipt.
The tank is then hosed down first with clean water and then sterilizer is then applied. We brush ours on but some tanks now do this automatically.
The tank is then rinsed with clean water before it is put together again ready for the next milking.