At Bob-White Systems, we have been providing equipment, supplies, technology, and resources to enable dairy farmers to build appropriately scaled and community-based sustainable businesses for over Eleven years. Pretty much every day, we get a call or An email with a question related to running a micro-dairy or farmstead dairy. Here are our responses to the most common questions we get asked.
1. I just got a cow and she just had a calf and I don’t want to keep milking her by hand. How much will a bucket milking system cost me?
We offer bucket milking equipment packages that include all the necessary parts for a fast, efficient, and affordable milking system. Products are selectively paired to meet the milk capacity of your herd. We sell a COMPLETE Cow Milking System with everything you need, starting at $1680.00.
2. Do I have to have a vacuum pump to use a bucket milker?
Yes, a bucket milker requires a stable supply of vacuum in order for it to work effectively and safely.
Vacuum Pump Requirements:
3-6 CFM Capacity per 4 inflations CFM = Cubic Feet per Minute: how much air a vacuum can pull per minute
13” Hg Cow 12”HG Goat HG = Inches of Mercury the vacuum pump pulls
1/4 HP of Motor Power Per 4 inflations Make Sure your Motor is powerful enough for your set-upDo you have any used vacuum pumps
3. Do you have any used vacuum pumps?
4. Hi, can I speak to Bob?
We are asked this question almost every day. There is no Bob at Bob-White Systems, Inc. The company was named after the Eastern Quail also known as the Bob-White because of its distinctive call. Years ago the bird and its call were common in New England but it has become fairly scarce. Recently, however, it has begun to make a comeback. We equate this comeback of the Bob-White to the resurgence of the small or micro-dairy farm.
5. How much will it cost me to ship a bulk tank to my farm?
That depends completely on where you are located, the size of tank and if we are shipping it to a farm, business or residence. It will also depend on your need for a truck with a lift-gate or the truck driver’s assistance. We locate the least expensive freight company that can also provide the most reliable service. Also, we ship our bulk tanks on pallets in crates to protect them and we also insure the shipment in case the bulk tank is damaged. Get a free shipping quote here!
6.What’s the difference between the claws?
With most cow claws the only difference is in the shape and size of the bowl. They all work on the same principle with a vacuum line and a pulsation line/s. NuPulse claws are a bit different in that the pulsator is located on the claw rather than on the bucket. Read the Cow Claw comparison guide here.
We have clusters available for Goat/Sheep milking. These clusters have a claw under each teat. In addition to clusters, there is a DeLaval-style claw available that is similar to traditional cow claws and a NuPulse Goat Claw. Read the Goat & Sheep Claw Comparison Guide here.
7. I want to start a dairy even though I’ve never been in the same room as a cow. Can you give me a price for everything I’ll need to run a small dairy? I hear raw milk is really popular.
We receive this question all the time. Our response is usually “Get in the same room as a cow and see if you enjoy the experience.” Some people like cows and some don’t. They are big animals that make a lot of manure and eat a lot of food. We also recommend that people visit as many dairy farms as possible before they decide to buy a cow of their own. This applies to goats, sheep, water buffalo, and camels as well. If you do decide to buy a dairy critter you can start hand-milking with a stainless steel pail and a milking stool in your garage or woodshed. Or you can invest in a milking barn, a pipeline, and a bulk tank and spend upwards of $100,000. It really depends on what you want and how you want to do it. We always recommend that people take some time to explore our website, read our blogs and watch our videos before they jump into dairy farming.
I always tell people who decide to hand milk that they will discover muscles in their forearms they never knew existed.
8. Can I milk my cow and my goats on the same bucket?
You can use the same bucket but you will need different claws and inflations. Those are the parts of a milking machine that attach to the dairy animals’ udders. You may need a different lid for your bucket if you would like to milk more than one goat into your bucket at the same time. Cows are milked with the pulsator set at 60 pulses per minute and goats are milked at 90 pulses per minute. You may choose to adjust your pulsator as you switch between species, or you can have two pulsators, one for each species.
10. I have an unusual breed of cow. What should I use to milk it?
Check with the breeder or previous owner of the cow. We have found that Mini Jerseys use standard claws without any adjustments or accommodations.
10. I would like to transition from selling on the commodity market to direct sales. What do you have to help me add a creamery to my farm?
We have creamery equipment from bulk tanks to butter churns and everything in between. BWS has designed the LiLi pasteurizer, an HTST in-line pasteurizer that is Grade A approved and process 2-4 gallons per minute. We encourage you to begin a conversation with your local milk inspector. Send them specification sheets, and photos of the equipment as you move forward with decision making and purchasing. This will save headaches in the future...
Our consulting engineer, Ken Davis, would be a great person to talk to about creamery systems and help with floor plans. He has his own fee schedule and is happy to help.
11. My cow has a low udder and the teat cups drag on the ground when allowed to “self-kink” as they drop toward the ground. How can I milk my cow with two hands when I need eight hands?
We have many options for you to try! Build a platform for the cow to stand her back feet on, dig a large depression in the ground under her udder. There are multiple inflation plugs to choose from. They allow you to plug a teat or two until you are ready for that teat. Hold two of the inflations in the hand that holds the claw. Slide the claw under the udder at an angle as you attach the furthest teat. The “shut off” button will be pulled out while you get a hold. Once under the cow, slide a spare finger over to the button and depress it as you put the first teat cup on the furthest teat from you. This is a juggling act but can be done! Not to be overlooked, acquiring a new cow with a higher udder will surely solve the issue.
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