Machine Milking

nupulse_bucketWith three Jerseys coming into milk and a busy work schedule, I’ve invested in the Nupulse Bucket milking system (right).   We’ve always hand milked, but I’ve got endless work to do in the office and I want my sons studying rather than spending their days in the barn, so this is our first time getting into milking machines.

Now, I’m a farmer who works with all kinds of equipment every day.  It’s not my first time touching machinery, so we don’t need advice on how vacuum pumps or electricity works.  I also don’t need the kind of advice that is available to anyone who spends three minutes reading the manufacturers’ website.  No one around is managing a sustainable dairy, so, really, I’m not looking for any advice.  I’m seeking to improve what was (before we took two years off to start a school) an efficient private dairy…with automated milking equipment.

Counting the Cost

We bought this system from Hamby Dairy Supply, which we always enjoy working with.  I ordered the one-bucket milking system with the washing system, which came to a total of $2,499 with free shipping.

Is it worth it?

The washing system is included in the price.

The washing system is included in the price.

If we estimate (conservatively) that three cows will produce a total of 9 gallons of milk per day, and that fresh Jersey milk is worth (conservatively) $5 per gallon, that’s $45 per day x 30 days = $1350 per month.  So, in a 9 month milking cycle, we’d bring in around $12,000 worth of milk.

Now, if we DON’T use a milking machine, the reality is that, with all the other (profitable) work we have to do around here, we simply would not be milking.  There’s just no way a family as busy as ours could handle daily dairying.  The milking machine makes this–and all that milk–possible.

So, for me, if it was a $2400 vacation, no, I would have second thoughts about the cost, but seeing the potential profit (not necessarily cash), this is a no-brainer.

Adding Goats

To milk our goats with the system, we simply need to add a goat "bucket".

To milk our goats with the system, we simply need to add a goat “bucket”.

As we also run a growing goat dairy that will be in milk again this Spring, we can use the Nupulse system for milking them as well.  We simply need to buy the Goat bucket system here.

This allows us to maximize the profit from a single, portable system while we continue to develop the dairy and plan our long-term investment in a permanent system when we get up over 10 cows.  (We’re also waiting on NC to amend the law forbidding raw milk sales which is in the works.)

Conclusion

I’ll try and post any comments I have as I get working with the system.  I’ll try and share some photos to help you see how we work it all out.

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2 Responses to Machine Milking

  1. Stacy Yarnall says:

    Look forward to hearing how it goes for you. Some friends of ours brought over their milking machine last week to milk out our Jersey with edema. It worked well, but seemed to take longer to clean the machine than to just milk the darn cow, especially since it won’t work right in freezing temps (not a problem there, but up here it is!) With three cows, I”m sure it is a time saver. We talk about getting a milker so we can go out of town though, our kids are old enough to run it so that we could get away.

    • wmclaa says:

      Its awesome…totally has improved our dairy. More milk, cleaner milk, and allow us to concentrate on caring for the cows rather than milking them.

      WM

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