The benefits of good platform design include:
- Decreased animal health costs - good platform and pipework design will lower the incidence of cow injuries.
- Increased worker safety and comfort - including ergonomics in the design of platforms will decrease injuries. Platforms and pipework which are designed correctly will position cows in a way that decreases the danger to milkers.
When designing the platform ensure...
- Height should be between 850–1000 mm high (so forearms more-or-less horizontal when cupping).
- Breast rail should be approximately 800mm high.
- Feed bins if present should have their bases 200mm lower than the breast rail.
- Gap between dummys (where clusters are hung) is minimum of 650mm.
- Bail length is 1500-1650mm long (too long allows heifers to stand too far forward).
- Safety switch for entering and exiting cows to prevent crushing (spring loaded for auto-restart).
The D-gate is positioned between the platform entry and platform exit. Its primary purpose is to protect cows that have not exited completely from being crushed.
When designing a D-gate ensure...
It is important the cups-on area is well set up to maximise cow flow and provide a comfortable work environment for the milker.
Design cups-on area to ensure...
- Slipway into yard from cups-on area is at least 2m from the bridge to prevent scaring cows on the bridge when milker enters the yard
- Use a mirror for checking cows in the yard and backing gate placement, rather than looking into or entering the yard (disrupting cows).