Parlour return passage

AE01

Member
Livestock Farmer
Looking at options for parlour return passage on a new build. Cows will turn 180 degrees (gradually) at parlour exit, then return passage and drafting area will run parallel to parlour/collecting yard.

Original plan was for the cows to funnel into a 3ft slatted passage with drafting gate in it, which would run for 110ft back to cubicle shed. However, I'm beginning to worry about whether this may cause a bottle neck to cow flow, and what would happen in the unlikely but entirely possible event of a cow going down in the 110ft x 3ft section of passage. Theoretically I could get into the collecting yard with handler and lift the stranded cow from over collecting yard wall, but not ideal. I could also fold back the drafting area gates and access a stricken cow from the parlour end of the setup if that makes sense, but again not ideal.

Alternative would be a return passage the width of the forklift but this would involve either compromising the already tight collecting yard space or increasing shed/concrete costs significantly.

Am I worrying unnecessarily about that length of narrow passage???

Any feedback appreciated, just trying to cover all bases and hear what other people are doing. Thanks!
 

farmboy

Member
Location
Dorset
Had this at last place cows and didn’t work well. Cows stand in race, at end of race and not let other cows out, won’t walk through shedding gate etc etc. obviously then couldn’t get cows out of parlour.
 

vantage

Member
Location
Pembs
Cows exit gradually 180 here, to a 20’ wide exit, goes 120’, then have a gate that swings across to narrow down to the sort gate, about 8’ narrowed down leading into sort gate, then wide again after sort gate. Works absolutely fine, no effect on the parlour as it’s so far away, plus have a footbath in the seg gate to slow them down. If you have a greenfield site, sorting in front of the pit works well, @lazy farmer has posted previously about this.
 

DairyNerd

Member
Livestock Farmer
I've worked two places with auto seg gates, worked ok most of the time. Also worked with lots of set ups which make it very easy to pick out manually, especially with modest cow numbers and parlour size, just just a well placed gate in to a pen, less to go wrong! However, they can work very well if set up right, especially if picking out lots of cows.

A few thoughts on your proposed set up:

Cows need space after exiting parlour to filter through the passage and gate, you need to be able to get at least a full row out comfortably with space for them to sort out.

I wouldn't compromise collecting yard space, work out what you need and stick to it, cow flow and feet will suffer, it's just moving the problem from front to back.

The biggest factor will be cows 'wanting' to go out, going straight back to fresh feed whether grass or TMR will make the biggest difference. I've worked on several farms with very non -textbook parlour exits but if the cows want to go out they will.
 
Location
Sw Scotland
Looking at options for parlour return passage on a new build. Cows will turn 180 degrees (gradually) at parlour exit, then return passage and drafting area will run parallel to parlour/collecting yard.

Original plan was for the cows to funnel into a 3ft slatted passage with drafting gate in it, which would run for 110ft back to cubicle shed. However, I'm beginning to worry about whether this may cause a bottle neck to cow flow, and what would happen in the unlikely but entirely possible event of a cow going down in the 110ft x 3ft section of passage. Theoretically I could get into the collecting yard with handler and lift the stranded cow from over collecting yard wall, but not ideal. I could also fold back the drafting area gates and access a stricken cow from the parlour end of the setup if that makes sense, but again not ideal.

Alternative would be a return passage the width of the forklift but this would involve either compromising the already tight collecting yard space or increasing shed/concrete costs significantly.

Am I worrying unnecessarily about that length of narrow passage???

Any feedback appreciated, just trying to cover all bases and hear what other people are doing. Thanks!
I’ve exactly what you are talking about, works fine cows out 180 turn through seg gate about 30ft in then down through foot baths 200ft from end of parlour to end of race works fine, only time I struggled what when putting the formalin in to strong the smell seemed to put them off.
 
Cows exit gradually 180 here, to a 20’ wide exit, goes 120’, then have a gate that swings across to narrow down to the sort gate, about 8’ narrowed down leading into sort gate, then wide again after sort gate. Works absolutely fine, no effect on the parlour as it’s so far away, plus have a footbath in the seg gate to slow them down. If you have a greenfield site, sorting in front of the pit works well, @lazy farmer has posted previously about this.
I’ll post some Pics tomorrow. Though my set up is not fashionable as it does not tick the boxes for a technology and efficiency grant.
 

Spudley

Member
Location
Pembrokeshire
We have very similar to what you are suggesting. It works well enough when cows are going back to fresh food but if not they go out only slowly and the shedding gate doesn't work as well. Saying that we do have slats down the length of the race and we've never had a cow fall in there if that is helpful at all.
 

Bramble

Member
IME you need decent sized pens to shed the cattle into to help maintain a steady flow of cows. We have a small pen as part of a 3 way seg gate and the cows are more reluctant to go in this pen. Sorting gate accuracy falls from 97-98% to about 90-95% when sorting into the small pen
 
Location
Sw Scotland
0C236E52-304A-47E8-9086-620860486377.png
That’s mine
 

AE01

Member
Livestock Farmer
Thanks to everyone who replied, been away from the forum for a few days due to various things happening.

So the consensus would be that a short length of narrow slatted passage leading into the seg gate should be fine, but the passage beyond the seg gate should ideally widen back out to keep cows moving through the system?

Because apart from the long-ish length of narrow passage that i was proposing after the seg gate, everything else that ive described would be common on the majority of farms that practice a parallel return passage? Which would be the majority of farms that ive looked at when researching setups.
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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