What was a cornfield on the outskirts of Pennock, Minn., just a couple years ago, is today Meadow Star Dairy – an 8,800-Jersey cow farm shipping a tanker of milk every three hours for a total of half a million pounds of milk a day. This high-performing operation started milking in October 2015 and features a DeLaval PR3100HD milking rotary that can milk 106 cows at one time, a free-stall barn covering 20 acres, and feed and manure-handling facilities.
Meadow Star Dairy is the latest site to come to life for Riverview LLP – an investor- and employee-owned diversified argi-business which has 10 dairies in the U.S. for a total of 68,000 cows. With milking throughput a focus of the new dairy, the Riverview team, including Lyle Grimm, project manager for Riverview, toured multiple dairies using 106-stall DeLaval rotaries. “We were building 80-stall parlors but needed something bigger and faster to milk more cows,” said Grimm. “At the time, the competition did not offer anything bigger, so we toured multiple farms with large DeLaval rotaries. Everyone we spoke to had good things to say about them, so it’s wasn’t a real hard choice.”
The parlor operates 24/7 with most cows being milked twice a day – and high producer three times a day. An Usher Crowd Gate directs the cows to the parlor where milkers use fresh teat dip from the On Farm Blending system to prep cows before milking. Meadow Star Dairy also milks its special needs cows with a 16-stall DeLaval Champion parlor.
According to Grimm, using solutions that will last is a key component of the company’s sustainability ethos. Their DeLaval dealer, Genex Cooperative, Inc. of Melrose, Minn., provides routine InService checks to keep their equipment working optimally and make it last. Meadow Star Dairy has also been pleased with the rotary’s water usage, which is about half of what their competitive rotaries require at other sites, making washdown faster and easier, too.
Increasing energy efficiency and reducing costs on the dairy was possible with LED lights and by implementing a unique, energy-saving solution for keeping the milking parlor comfortable in all seasons: two DeLaval condensers located indoors, which heat the parlor during cold months, and two similar condensers placed outdoors, which are used during warm months.