Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2789



Summary and Implications

Producer surveys showed very positive results in switching from flat barn parlors or stall barns to LCP’s. An average of 54% more cows are able to be milked with an average of 2.44 less daily hours of labor. Producers on average doubled their labor efficiency in numberof cows milked per hour with some reaching the goal of 70 cows milked per labor hour including set-up and clean-up. Production increased 15% while SCC dropped 22.3%. Feeding and housing efficiencies were gained as well. Investment in a LCP allowed producers to drop cost of milking cows to $1.27 per hundredweight (some less than $1 per hundredweight) with labor included. In sum, LCP gave a very positive quality of life, financial return, and milking labor advantage over stall barns or flat barn parlors.

Many dairy producers ( > 40+% in Iowa) are milking in stall barns or antiquated milking parlors which are achieving only 25 cows milked per person per hour. In comparison, other producers are achieving 75 cows milked per person per hour in well-designed milking parlors. This difference represents a person being three times more efficient with use of labor which translates into significant differences in farm profitability between these milking systems.

Making milking easier and more labor efficient should be a primary goal for dairy producers who are milking less than 45 cows per person per hour. Most of these milking systems can be modernized in cost effective ways that usually payback in very reasonable timeframes using Low Cost Parlors (LCP).

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University