The $1.5m addition to the farm, at Chisamba, will give the food processing and retailing company the capacity to milk up to 2,500 cows a day.
The new systems and technologies will enable the management of larger herds, which is important for efficiency and growth in the industry, said Zambeef’s head of retailing, marketing and corporate affairs, Felix Lupindula.
The facility uses the same technology found in New Zealand, complete with computerized sensors to assist Zambeef’s veterinary department and staff in identifying areas needing attention. Each cow is fitted with a monitor to collect data at every milking session.
More upgrades planned
The parlor allows for a closed herd system that serves to prevent animal-to-animal or human-to-animal transmissions of disease.
Plans are under way to install fans in the parlor to help cool down the cows during the hotter summer months.
The parlor also includes a maximized cooling-system designed to maintain the integrity and freshness of the milk, with storage tank temperatures kept at a regulated levels.
Milk is transferred directly into bulk milk tanks, which are delivered to Zambeef’s milk processing plant at nearby Huntley Farm, 25km west of Chisamba.
Ramping up production
Operating at full capacity, the rotary plant will enable Zambeef to produce up to 60,000 liters of milk a day to feed into its 100,000-liter capacity milk processing plant at Huntley Farm, with a further 30,000 output provided by small-scale farmers.
In addition to the new parlor, plans are in place to construct a further four barns, each with a capacity to house 300 cows at a time, in anticipation of the rotary’s increased capacity of milking up to 2,500 cattle over the coming years.
“The dairy industry in Zambia has great potential with much room for growth and Zambeef remains committed to making key investments, such as the rotary milk plant, which plays a key role in propelling that growth forward,” Lupindula said.
Earlier this month, the company published its first half 2017 financial results, which showed a 42.9% increase in volume for dairy production from 6.52m liters to 9.32m liters.
However, Zambeef said, despite the strong volume growth, operational difficulties at the Kalundu dairy unit led to a drop in milk output and a rise in the cost of goods – as a result, gross profits fell 41% by ZMW10.9m ($1.1m).