The ApolloMilk-System from GEA leaves nothing to chance

editorial image

The ApolloMilk-System from GEA leaves nothing to chance when taking care of key or aspects of the welfare of today’s dairy herds.

The GEA system dips, teats and flushes the milking cluster automatically after every milking to improve or maintain the health of the udder and individual teats, save money for the farmer and maintain the quality of the milk for the consumer.

Udder health is crucial for all dairy farmers to ensure that they can maximise yields and keep costs to a minimum. The disinfecting of teats immediately after milking is a key element of this care; however, dipping each animal manually is time-consuming, can be wasteful of chemicals, and is subject to human error. Apollo is the latest milking parlour technology from GEA that performs this function automatically thereby achieving simultaneously the key aims of high-quality milk, improved labour productivity, better milk yield and very good udder hygiene.

The ApolloMilk-System automatically dips the teats, with a 5000ppm solution of iodine (Veterinary Medicine authorised), after milking and before the milking cluster disengages. In this way it ensures that iodine solution, approved to the highest industry specification, covers the required area perfectly, without waste, preventing any chance of human error and providing absolute consistency in the dipping of every cow.

“It’s much more efficient than using a manual method, either with a spray or a dip cup,” said David Simmons, GEA’s Head of Milking & Dairy Farming in the UK. “It’s one less job for the milking operator to do and he can be confident that it’s always performed consistently.” Apollo uses just the right formulation of iodine teat dip to ensure the highest level of disinfection and, with its incorporated patented safety valve, contamination of the milk is avoided. With each clinical case of mastitis estimated at £200/cow/case on average, then activities that minimise new infra mammary infections are likely to support savings for farmers over the long term.

The unique ApolloIQ milk safety valve developed by GEA effectively separates the dipping medium from the milk thereby ensuring that there is no possibility of iodine contaminating the milk. Apollo features the award-winning IQ cluster with each quarter of the udder milked into separate chambers eliminating cross quarter, infra mammary infections via the cluster, then automatically flushes the used milking cluster to prevent any opportunity for cross infection between cows.

Dairy farmer Jeremy Platt installed the Apollo system at the end of 2015. “It’s been 19 months since we started milking in the extended GEA Global 90i 50/50 parlour and I am absolutely delighted with the parlour and the Apollo. I think it’s incredible how the cluster milks the cows. I am milking 450 cows now and I do not get one kick off in the whole milking, making it a stress-free environment. Somatic cell counts are averaging 82. This is the reason why I ordered a GEA rotary parlour for my other farm. The building work for this rotary should be finished in July ready for the installation of the new rotary to begin.”

Ed Newton from Millers Court Farm near Malvern started milking in his new GEA Euroclass 800 20/40 Swingover parlour in September 2015.

He is now milking 500 cows through the parlour which is equipped with the GEA ApolloMilk-System. The parlour also contains a moving floor, which can go up or down to suit the working height of the milker. The swing arm smoothly swings over and automatically switches on the unit when the milker is ready to put the unit on the cow. The Dematron control unit links to the Dairy Plan herd management software, feeding information back and forwards to keep the operator informed so he can easily manage his cows. “The cows are milking well, averaging 33 litres, with low cases of mastitis and my last three-month average cell count was 119,” said Ed.

“I am happy with my decision to buy a GEA parlour for myself and my operators.”

The Apollo Milk System is a major advancement in any previous technology allowing dairy farmers to take better care of their cows‘ udder health, improve milking efficiency, improve milk quality and potentially yields, save time and reduce both the use of antibiotics and their costs.