Waikato Milking Systems believes it is research and development which has enabled the business to help farmers meet the challenges of the dairy industry for more than 50 years.
A leading manufacturer of dairy technology, the company prides itself on always finding a way to meet the expectations of its customers, no matter where in the world they are farming.
“Our products are backed by half a century of research and development, knowledge which gives us the ability to understand the needs of the dairy industry and to be able to adapt to the future needs of our customers,” explains Waikato Milking Systems’ global marketing manager Jane Burton.
Farmers in New Zealand have operated without subsidies for more than 30 years, therefore reducing the cost of production is a particular focus for the company - something which will be thrown even further into the spotlight for British farmers once subsidy payments are phased out here too.
“New Zealand agritech has been borne out of our farmers’ need to be the most efficient producers of food globally,” Ms Burton adds.
“Our first milk meter was approved for herd recording in the UK in 1967 and we introduced milking components and milking systems into the US market in the 1980s,” says Ms Burton. “Now we have milking systems operating in all of the major dairy countries of the world and we continue to pursue emerging markets for our company such as South East Asia.”
The company’s expertise in milking large numbers of cows quickly and efficiently, while constantly being mindful of cow health, is at the forefront of their design process.
“We are renowned for our systems being reliable, low cost to maintain and needing the lowest level of labour to operate,” says Ms Burton.
It was this emphasis on low levels of labour requirements which first grabbed brothers Sam and Matt Darke’s attention.
Farming 1,000 acres in Devon and looking to increase their herd from 250 to 400 cows, the pair installed a 44-bail Orbit Concrete Rotary parlour with a range of milking automation and dairy management options to reduce labour and increase efficiency.
“What we were looking for was a one-man milking operation so we don’t have to rely on more than one person in the parlour,” Matt says.
“I think the automatic cup removers and the automatic teat spray are two of the biggest things for us that have really helped us achieve that goal of it being a one-man operation.”
The farm milks three times a day to maximise output.
“If we are milking all 230 cows, we are finishing up in an hour and 15 minutes, that’s including wash down as well,” Matt says. “In the evening I milk 140 of the high-yield cows and I’m doing that in 45 minutes, and we’re happy with that.”
Waikato Milking Systems has four key sales managers and a technician based in the UK and Ireland. The salespeople are trained in New Zealand to ensure they have the knowledge they need to help farmers grow the value of their dairy operations.
This sales team is connected to a network of dealers around the country, to ensure swift installation and service.
“However our best salespeople are our existing customers,” concludes Ms Burton. “We have many customers who have bought several of our machines and that is a relationship we are extremely proud of.”
Visit the series homepage for more information