Technology is constantly evolving, meaning products change quickly so you need to ensure improvements and upgrades are yielding value from day one. When looking at on farm upgrades, WaterForce suggests that the following are key questions in your investment research:
And there’s another new product too, but farmers must wait for Fieldays to hear about them all, Bell says.
“For 30 years WMS has designed and manufactured game-changing dairy technology…. The three new products we have in the wings, to be launched on the first day of Fieldays, are world-firsts and revolutionary.
“One of them is the new Centrus 84-bail rotary platform but the other two are under wraps. We want farmers to be the first people to see them, hence no advance promotion.
“But one marks the biggest breakthrough in the design of rotary dairies in 20 years. We’re very excited about all three products…. Suffice to say all three will have a material impact on the efficiency of the farm dairy and on herd management.”
The WMS site this year is about ‘Changing the face of dairy technology’. All the new products embody that, as do the other products now market leaders.
Says Bell, “Until now many farmers have only heard about our products and this is an opportunity for them to see and talk about the technology so they can better understand how it will complement their farming system.
“Our Centrus composite platform display always attracts a high level of farmer interest because its construction is so different from anything else on the market.”
The Centrus rotary, 80% lighter and stronger than concrete platforms, is multi-layered, including Kevlar used to make aircraft and bullet-proof vests. “Its lightness means less electricity is required to rotate it and there is less wear and tear, saving on maintenance,” Bell says.
“Centrus platforms are in demand for large herds and farms milking more often than twice a day; they have particular appeal for farmers in countries where 24 hour milking is not uncommon.”
Also on the WMS site will be products that improve efficiency and/or reduce the cost of milking. “Operational costs of milking machines can be significant, and our variable speed drive delivers significant power savings.”
Two products are aimed at minimising mastitis, the company says. The WMS swing arm system “perfectly aligns the cluster during milking in herringbone sheds, ensuring every quarter is milked, promoting good udder health and minimising mastitis,” Bell says.
“Our SmartD-Tect automatically tests each quarter at every milking identifying [any risk of] mastitis at every milking, enabling early intervention.”
The company’s electronic milk meter, introduced in 2014, “tests every cow at every milking so the farmer can see what each cow is producing, the flow rate and milking duration”.
And addressing the issue of farm labour, the company says its SmartECR automatic cup remover can be customised to suit farmer and herd preferences.
Bell points to his company’s record of innovation, performance and durability, “with oversight of every aspect of every product – from design through to the finished product. We engineer complexity out of our milking solutions and build in a robustness which few can match, and we back that up with superb service”.
“Innovations aside, one of the most important aspects of our product and service offering is that all elements of the Waikato Milking System range are future-proofed.
“We understand farmers don’t want to [buy] large capital items which become outdated so future-proofing is factored into everything we do so enhancements can simply be retrofitted.”