Renovate or Rebuild?.. Weller's story.

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> Pictured from left, Greg Lechte Daviesway Warragul, Wayne & Dale Weller

 

A Gippsland dairy family saved $700,000 by choosing to renovate its 50-stand rotary instead of re-building from scratch.

Patriarchs Wayne and Joan Weller, together with son Dale milk up to 1300 cows on two farms at Longwarry, 84km east of Melbourne. By making intelligent use of their existing infrastructure, they have made some “night and day” improvements to one of their dairies without breaking the bank.

It includes giving bigger cows additional room in the bail, addressing the jetter positions and overhauling its milking plant.

The dairy was finished in July 2018, and two months later the family calved down more than 700 cows in two weeks – including 200 two-year-olds.

The upgrades were led by installing a new Yarroweyah Engineering rotary platform. The revamped milking plant detail included a Guardian II auto wash system, a lowline milking system with a Variable Speed milk pump, a jumbo milk filter, industrial plate cooler, Tech-Line visi claws, Milkrite shells and vented triangular liners, Milkrite Interpuls high-line pulsation, milk yield information, cow retention, a Teatwand exact auto sprayer, a cow motivator and cow locator.

The Wellers chose Australian company Daviesway (100% Australian owned and operated) to customise their package, making use of the company’s world-class partners, in-house manufacturing arm and local service support. They are now milking 350 cows per hour.

weller dairy 01 weller dairy 02

“The infrastructure was all here,” Dale said. “The vat was still standing, the shed’s structural integrity and yards were still ok. But the platform was a big issue."

“The bigger cows were extremely uncomfortable in the old shed, and we were also having to slow the platform down during milking to accommodate cows that were giving more milk.

“Afterall, the dairy was 27 years old, it was rusting out and we were always dealing with breakages and problems. It didn’t help either that we were struggling to access spare parts.”

The proudly cost-conscious family knew exactly what it needed.

“The new platform has made it a lot more comfortable for the cows,” Dale said.

“The new cups are much lighter than our old machines,” Wayne adds. “Our staff are really enjoying that, because they are so much easier to put on. And, we haven’t had one cup slip off a heifer. Cup-slip was a big issue in the old shed, and we still have the same vacuum pump, so we know there has been a massive improvement in that area."

“We haven’t had to tail-jack any of the first-calved two-year-olds this season either, and we have no teat sores.”

Wash-down is also no longer a chore.

“In the old dairy, at the end of milking everybody ran the other way when it was time to attach the cups to the jetters for the wash-down, because it was such hard work. Now, everyone would probably prefer to do that than wash the yard,” Wayne said.

Although it is still early days to completely judge the changeover, the decision to give their dairy “open-heart surgery” is hitting its early marks.

“It’s more comfortable for the cows and our staff, and we have peace of mind when we are away for the day that things aren’t going to break down,” Wayne said.

“And, if we had of used lots of different companies for the re-build, it would have made it harder to make sure we got the right help for the right piece of the plant if things did go wrong and if we weren’t there to make the call. That can be confusing for staff.

“This way, we just ring Daviesway.”

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