Frequently Asked Questions
How often are the cows milked?
– Twice a day – 5:30am and 3:30pm
How long does it take to milk?
– It takes 2 staff about 2 hours to milk 400 cows
How many cows can fit on the rotary milking platform?
– 50 cows.
How long does it take the platform to rotate?
– 10 minutes
What happens to the milk when it leaves the cow?
– It is piped through a plate cooler then into a stainless steel refrigerated milk vat, where the temperature is dropped from 38˚C to 4˚C within one hour of milking
Can we buy Caldermeade Farm and Café’s milk during our visit?
– Sorry, no. By law it needs to be pasteurised.
How are cows identified?
– Every cow has a name or number on an ear tag. The orange tags record the cow’s temperature and movement so that we can monitor their health. The tags use the same motion detection technology as a smart phone.
What are the numbers on the cows’ rump?
– This is a freeze brand that identifies individual cows. It is the same number as what appears on the cow’s ear tag.
How do the cows know when to get off the platform?
– Cows are creatures of habit so they learn to do it from practice. There are also several reminders for them, for example their herd mate leaving just before them.
What happens around the other side of the rotary that can’t be seen from the viewing room?
– The cows are checked to ensure all four quarters of their udder have been milked evenly. Then their teats are sprayed with a sanitiser to help prevent mastitis.
What do the different colours on the cow’s tailbone mean?
- The cows are artificially inseminated once per year. The different colours are painted on with tail paint and indicate whether the cow is ready for insemination, inseminated or pregnant.
What are the red flashing numbers beside the cow’s legs?
- The numbers are alternating between the cow’s identification number, and the volume of milk she has produced. This tells the machine to take the milking cups off the cow when her milk flow slows. The data is then stored after each milking to help us track how much milk each cow is producing.
What are the cows being fed in the dairy?
– Each cow gets 2-6 kg of grain as part of a supplementary feeding program for increased production and cow contentment.
Do cows get scared of the platform?
– Cows actually enjoy the ride and some like to go around more than once if they get the chance.
What are the sprinklers spraying the cows in the yard for?
– This is to cool the cows in summer and it reduces the impact of flies. It also makes cleaning easier.
Why do some of the cows look quite thin?
– Dairy cows are milking athletes, similar to a competitor going to the Olympics. They are also naturally finer boned than beef cattle and put on weight only when they rest in the lead up to calving.
What breed are the black and white cows seen here?
– Holsteins. Other milking breeds are Jerseys, Montbeliarde, Swedish Reds, Illawarras, Brown Swiss, Guernsey and Ayrshire.