Waikato Milking Systems

A Waikato agritech company is planning to raise its profile as a leader of technology in the New Zealand’s growing small ruminants market.

Waikato Milking Systems successfully launched its new suite of goat and sheep milking systems in 2020 after extensive research and development from its head office and manufacturing plant near Hamilton. For dairy goat farming, the company released its Optima External Goat Rotary and the Agili Rapid Exit Goat System on to the market. For dairy sheep, the company’s Ultimo Internal Sheep Rotary and its Agili Rapid Sheep Exit milking systems were also released. The company’s Small Ruminants Specialist Andy Geissmann said there had been strong interest in goat and sheep milking technology at the 2019 National Fieldays. That feedback provided the incentive to develop separate milking systems for sheep and goat dairy farmers, building on the lessons learned from a pilot 100-point goat rotary project in Canada in 2018. “We used the experience gained from the Canada project and pooled our in-depth knowledge of product management and engineering design, as well as feedback from farmers already working in the sheep and goat dairy industry.” In 2020 Waikato Milking Systems commissioned three sheep and three goat milking systems in New Zealand while nine goat rotary milking systems were installed in China and one in the US during the same year. Andy said the lower environmental footprint of small ruminant dairy farming coupled with good milk prices offered by Maui Milk, Spring Sheep Milk and the Dairy Goat Co-operative were luring many dairy cow farmers over to the other side of the fence. “We are finding that cow shed conversions are the most popular option being explored by farmers looking to move into small ruminant dairy farming. “That’s because it lets them make use of their existing assets.” Andy has worked with Kiwi farmers to ensure there is an option to suit entry level or large scale farming operations, and everything in between. “Sheep and goat dairy products have the potential to demand premium market prices and so we’ve developed premium milking solutions to extract the best value from the animals.” Andy has made sure the company’s small ruminants milking systems can achieve the best value for farmers while taking optimum care of animals and staff during the milking process. “We’ve designed the systems to be strong, durable and for longevity. “We’ve also designed milking automation technology which can be applied at different levels for each of the systems to enhance performance, efficiency and productivity.” For example, the rotary parlours for sheep and goats both feature rubber matting on the deck to reduce stress on the animals during milking time, and provide a quiet and calm environment. “We can also configure each system in terms of point size and technology, to match each farm’s unique conditions and targets. “No matter what the situation, there is an option to suit.”
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