A NEW trend is emerging in the dairy industry: Instead of relying on imported rotary milking parlors from overseas, BECO, headquartered in Hanford, Cal., has designed and directed the manufacturing of the BECO Xtreme Reliability (BXR) rotary platform all in the U.S.
Several years ago, BECO owner Stan Brown, convinced that the rotary was the most efficient way to milk cows, put together a special team. He and his team leader visited almost every rotary operation in central California and worked to find out the good and the bad in the rotary world.
"We worked to upgrade the overall design and found a New Zealand firm that would work with us to meet our stringent specs," Brown said. "We had a lot of prospects and producers who were excited about the new upgrade to the rotary concept. However, when the (economic) downturn of 2009 occurred, most projects were put on hold. By the time good economic health returned to the industry, the New Zealand company we were working with had been sold, and we became determined to take our rotary upgrade specs and do something on our own."
Brown added that many dairy producers and dealers were "telling us their desire for a rotary specifically designed to meet the requirements for the U.S. market. There was a lot of dissatisfaction for reliability and maintenance costs. We were constantly being asked why rotaries have to be manufactured and shipped from overseas. So, we did it. We engineered and built the very first Made in America rotary for Delta View Farms, a well-respected Jersey dairy operation in Visalia, Cal."
Dairy producer Butch Dias and his sons, Greg and Darren, had been researching rotary technology and began talking with Brown about building a rotary at Delta View Farms.
BECO has outfitted numerous milking parlors domestically and internationally, and they all were put together the old way — with the rotary structure shipped from an overseas manufacturer. Delta View's newly engineered rotary project, however, was designed and manufactured in America.
"The design work for the BXR was conducted on Solid Works, a three-dimensional drafting platform. This allowed us to see exactly how every piece would fit and work together before anything was actually manufactured," Brown said.
The project started at the retaining wall, designing piece by piece from the ground up and implementing new design changes BECO had identified from research of other platforms. The initial Made in America project began in February 2013 and took a year to engineer, design, build and install.
"There is a tremendous amount of weight on any rotary structure, so we had to embrace all the proven technologies while determining how to fix every weakness we had found during our research," Brown explained. "We've seen that there can be catastrophic failures and high maintenance costs if not engineered just right, and we didn't want any part of those kind of problems."
The rotary puzzle. Manufacturing rolled parts was Brown's biggest concern, because round pieces have to be just right. Although another company was contracted to handle fabrication for the stalls and cabinets and major chores for spokes and beams, BECO handled the critical pieces and used local suppliers when possible.
"It was a constant evolution to solve challenges as they arose, and our primary focus was to double-check that quality, strength and precision were maintained throughout the entire project," Brown said.
JAM Dairy Construction Inc. of Visalia provided the building, plumbing and concrete work. BECO Dairy Automation Inc. of Hanford handled the engineering and manufacturing of the rotary platform, as well as the milking equipment. Avila Dairy Equipment Inc. of Hanford was contracted to install the rotary and all related milking equipment. Dan Freitas Electric Inc. of Tulare handled all of the electrical work.
McCormick Farms, a 2,000-cow flush dairy and the largest potato grower in the state of New York, has installed a manure treatment system designed by Livestock Water Recycling Inc. at its Maxwell Road location in Bliss, N.Y.
The system will recycle clean water and concentrate valuable nutrients from dairy manure for reuse around the farm.
"We take great pride in growing high-quality agricultural products, promoting environmental sustainability and, most importantly, being a good neighbor," said Jim McCormick, president and chief executive officer of the family farm. "We use the most modern farming techniques available to ensure the continuous success of our farm."
The system will generate a clean, reusable water source, allowing the farm to recycle the majority of the water it uses in the barns.
"They will now be able to flush their barns with an abundant and renewable source of clean water," Ross Thurston, president of Livestock Water Recycling, noted.
The system reuses all parts of the manure as a valuable output, which the company said differentiates it from other manure management systems on the market.
China's dairy industry
With extremely rapid consolidation occurring in China's dairy industry, Robert Hurley, director of programs in China for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), said this consolidation has led to large, modern dairies with an increasing demand for coarse grains and co-products.
However, he said growth in the number of complex operations resulted in a shortage of management talent for these facilities.
To help address this need, USGC and Hauxia Dairy Farm formed the Sino-U.S. Dairy Management Training Center in 2006. Less than a decade later, Hurley said the center has become a highly regarded program that has helped China's dairy industry modernize rapidly.
It has also helped build demand for whole corn silage and dried distillers grains with solubles while heightening the positive role USGC plays in the development of China's livestock industry, the council said.
Beginning Sept. 23, USGC escorted a team of Chinese dairy herd managers in this training program to California and Wisconsin. The team members had the opportunity to discuss new ideas and view the latest U.S. technology to expand their thinking on possibilities for the dairy industry in China.
The team was also briefed on quality forages and sound herd management practices. The program incorporated a visit to the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin, where the team could view the elite dairy cattle, cutting-edge research and modern technologies being showcased.
While at the dairy expo, team members also transacted deals to purchase equipment. In fact, Hurley said one of the innovative Chinese dairy owners purchased substantial equipment on site from a U.S. supplier for immediate delivery, with a follow-up installation visit by the supplier.
"The new equipment will help the dairy industry in China continue to enhance their dairy management practices," Hurley added.
He said USGC will continue to work in China's dairy sector to build demand for U.S. coarse grains and co-products through the Sino-U.S. Dairy Management Training Center and similar programs.