When Arizona producers Larry and Nick Vanderwey built their first double-30 parallel parlor a few years back, they wanted a parlor that was not only comfortable for the cows, but comfortable and efficient for the employees as well.
Some of the features they designed into the parlor include:
An 11-foot-wide parlor pit floor. The extra width allows them to offset the water and dip hoses by 3 feet from the curb. That way, the hoses do not obstruct the work area during unit attachment.
Easy-to-reach drop lines spaced throughout the parlor. Drop lines are on a shock cord and precisely measured so that employees know when they can no longer reach with one hose, the next one will be right there for them. Dip and water lines alternate the length of the parlor so employees don’t have to drag a hose along with them.
A cow platform height of 36 inches. All of the employees who milk have an average height of 5’8”. The lower platform allows the milkers to work laterally, which is more ergonomic and minimizes exhaustion. Their field of view is unobstructed with attachment positioning arms.
A quiet parlor. All equipment is located in the basement or in an equipment room adjacent to the parlor. This helps keep the equipment clean, easily serviceable — and the parlor quiet.
“Our philosophy is that if you provide a good working environment, make it efficient for your employees and improve cow comfort, it will ultimately result in the harvest of high-quality milk,” says Larry Vanderwey. And when they built their second double-30 parallel parlor on the dairy two years later, they didn’t change a thing.