Milking Machines and Parlors

  • A primary reason for investing in a milking parlor is to increase the number of cows milked per person per hour. Other motivating factors include; improved working conditions, increased uniformity and quality of milking, and attracting and keeping hired or family labor.
  • These benefits must be weighed against the capital cost of the parlor. A combination of these and other factors unique to each dairy will influence the choice of parlor type and size.
    The parlor makes up only a small portion of the milking center. The milking center should include a holding area, return lanes, animal retention area, milk, and utility rooms, and an office. The design of the milking center must be such that its components work well together.
  • The milking center must also be integrated into all other facilities on the dairy. This will help realize the full benefit of the investment in each component.


Side Opening (Tandem) Parlor

Side opener parlors usually are located on the end of a holding area with two entrance lanes similar to herringbone and parallel parlors. A gate at the entrance point between the holding area and the milking parlor holds the cow until an empty stall is ready.

Herringbone (Fishbone) Parlor

Herringbone parlors are the most common parlor type in the US for „small‟ parlors (less than double 12). Cows stand on an elevated platform in an angled or herringbone fashion facing away from the operator area. This exposes enough of the back half of the cow to allow access to milk her from the side and room for an arm type detacher and associated equipment.

Rotary Milking Parlor

The advantage of the rotary parlor is that the cow movement functions are largely automated, freeing the operators to tasks more directly associated with milking. Rotary parlors typically require three operators: one for unit attachment, one to detach units and/or apply post-milking teat dip and one to tend to any problems occurring while cows are traveling around.