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    An integral part of the barn are milking parlors. These are cattle halls that are designed for milking cows. Thanks to the possibilities offered by steel structures, their shape and space can be adapted to user requirements and local conditions. In the following article we will focus on the construction of milking parlors and their types.

    What are halls used for milking cows?

    What are milking parlors? The milking parlor, or so-called milking parlor, is one of the most important elements of free-stall and free-range barns. This is where the milking process takes place, which, it is worth noting, is distinguished by a high level of automation. In practice, this means that special equipment is applied to the udders of cows, and then, using a mechanical system, milk is automatically extracted.

    This process requires solutions that allow the animals to feel comfortable meeting their herd needs. Therefore, the structure of each hall (with a steel frame) can be freely modified already at the design stage. As a rule, most milking parlors consist of four main areas, such as:

    • the waiting room, which is a separate space where cows waiting in line for milking are located,
    • the milking parlor, which is a space for dairy cattle with separate milk extraction stations,
    • the return corridor by which animals return from milking,
    • ancillary rooms for storing milk in a safe manner.

    Why are milking parlors being built?

    The idea behind the automated milking process is to provide such conditions for the animals that it takes place in a fast, efficient and uninterrupted manner. A cattle hall consists of several components that:

    • organize the work during milking,
    • allow the milk to be secured until the arrival of the tankers,
    • provide workers with the right working conditions.

    This means that the design of the milking parlor must also take into account factors related to the people working there. When creating it, you need to take into account the number of employees, auxiliary tools (and the need to assemble them), as well as focus on social facilities that will allow you to eat and use sanitary facilities. Below we will describe the most interesting and popular types of milking parlors and discuss the most important differences between them.

    Types of milking parlors – what is worth knowing about them?

    What are the types of milking parlors? There are several of them, and they differ in the arrangement of stalls for milking cows. Their layout will depend, among other things, on the organization of the milking parlor.

    • Fishbone-type milking parlors – this is a solution in which cows are arranged so that they are at an angle of 30 to 60 degrees with respect to the milking channel. This type of milking stalls are mainly organized in halls (barns), whose usable space is relatively small. It is worth noting that despite this (in this configuration) the animals still have plenty of space to themselves.
    • Side-by-side milking parlors – this is a fairly simple solution that works well in narrow, but at the same time quite long facilities. In this variant, the cattle stalls are placed right next to each other, although the cows are positioned with their backs to the milking pit. Some call this type of facility perpendicular or rectangular halls.
    • Tandem milking parlors – this solution is very advantageous from the point of view of the animals, as it provides them with a lot of free space. In this case, each cow has separate cubicles for cattle and troughs for feed and water. Thus, the animal entering the stall does not have to wait for other animals.
    • Carousel-type milking parlors – are facilities that provide maximum efficiency and comfort for the animals, but at the same time must have a large amount of space. In this variant, the stations are placed on a rotating platform that rotates after each milking cycle. Depending on the variant, milking stations can be located tandem, fishbone or side to side.

    Milking stations are most often set inside arched or tunnel halls, as their design provides adequate space.

    What should be considered when constructing a milking parlor?

    When designing agricultural halls for cattle, you need to consider first of all the capacity of the system, that is, how many cattle can be milked during an hour. Another important consideration is the comfort of milkers and support staff, who must have easy access to the animal and adequate lighting. Finally, the design of the milking parlor should also take into account the welfare of the animal, which must have sufficient space (sufficiently large parlor dimensions). The parlor should also include the necessary:

    • ventilation systems,
    • heating systems,
    • cooling systems.

    Various cleaning systems and grates, as well as baffles for the cattle, are also essential.

    To sum up, cattle hall equipment (as well as the hall itself) should be selected not so much by price, but rather by the actual capacity and size of the farm. This makes it easier to get more milking and at the same time optimize the milking process with the welfare of people and animals in mind.

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