Southland dairy farmers got the jump on the nationwide uptake of MilktechNZ®’s
CR-1 WiFi-driven electronic cup removers (ECR) because of one man.

DairyTech South’s Shane Simpson appreciates that dairymen everywhere are struggling with staff shortages and the Southland dairy shed specialist business remains committed to finding the best technology to ease that.

When MilktechNZ®’s CR-1 launched in 2018 Shane said he knew he’d found the answer for several reasons that the wider industry was yet to discover.

With the CR-1s WiFi-driven technology farmers can monitor and adjust their preferred milking parameters from any smart device. The technology also includes a “lift to start”, rapid venting for softer pull-down, and an adjustable retraction speed.

Shane says, “The CR-1s are an extremely smart bit of kit. I’ve been in the industry for 19 years, and these are top-of-the line worldwide, there’s no doubt in my mind. They can also be upgraded in the future as technology evolves, which was a big selling point for me.”

Inside knowledge

Shane said part of his early and unflinching confidence in MilktechNZ® came down to the Hamilton-based company’s co-founder and CEO Gustavo Garza.

He knew Gustavo was an exceptional design engineer, and that many of the design innovations coming out of the bigger multinational companies in New Zealand between 2000 and 2015 had originated from Gustavo’s desk.

“Gus and I had been around each other within the industry for years, and the MilktechNZ® CR-1s brought us back together,” Shane said. “Our businesses also have a very similar philosophy – we’re both family-oriented, with high standards – and we foster a kind workplace.”

“It also didn’t take our farmers long to click on to the fact that the CR-1 is New Zealand-made, and absolute quality.”

First to install

DairyTech South was the first dairy shed specialist to install MilktechNZ® CR-1 units in New Zealand, and its phone hasn’t stopped ringing since.

Within the last four years it has installed many CR-1 units across Southland and South Otago, from its two business hubs allocated out of Gore and Winton.

“It would be one of the most popular retrofits we are being asked for, that’s for sure,” Shane said.

“ECRs don’t have sick days, hangovers, and they don’t get to work late. The MilktechNZ® CR-1s are very, very accurate, and once farmers get their head around how they work and have faith in them, the feedback we get is phenomenal.”

Shane says his team now has the installations down to a fine art: the pre-wiring is done in the workshop, which allows them to complete the physical install on-site – often within a day on-farm in between milkings.

“We bring in a heap of men and utes, and we just make it happen,” Shane says.

Southland farmers happy

Shane’s customers include Kevin and Bronwyn Knight, who milk 660 predominantly Jersey cross cows, in two herds, on 225 hectares (with another 50ha leased from their neighbour) at Waimatua, 12kms east of Invercargill. Their cowshed is a 45-a-side herringbone.

The couple chose the MilktechNZ® CR-1s because they constantly needed three people in their dairy, and they wanted to make sure they were across any overmilking.

“I’d seen the CR-1 ECRs at the Fieldays®, and I really liked them,” Kevin said. “They were well-built, nice and simple, they used WiFi, and were easily retrofitted.

“But most of all, it was the quality that really drew me. I also have a lot to do with DairyTech South and Shane Simpson [DairyTech South’s owner] recommended them.”

Kevin and Bronwyn’s sons, Brad, 31, and Hamish, 22, are also involved in the operation – and the pair bring their generation’s wholesale acceptance of technology.

Kevin says he loves how the CR-1s don’t clutter the dairy, he has noted improved teat-end health, and they had no mastitis through the winter.

“When you look at our guys milking in a 45-a-side shed, you can see now that a third of the cups are off before they even finish getting the other side in. Before we had the MilktechNZ® CR-1s, those cups would have been still sucking away on those cows long before they could get them changed over,” Kevin said.

“Everyone can just relax and chill a bit. It’s a concern when you realise how much the cows were being overmilked. Once we get through calving and mating, two people will be able to manage milking quite easily now.”

Hindsight 20/20

Shane’s belief in MilktechNZ® has well and truly been validated.

Within four years in operation, MilktechNZ® has won a Producer Award at the Primary Industries NZ, and its staff have increased from one to 37. Early in 2022 it established its own in-house marketing agency, OH! Marketing, and acquired a Hamilton metal fabrication business, Press and Lazer, to sure up MilktechNZ®’s manufacturing turnaround.

It supplies 22 dealers worldwide, including exporting to Australia, the United Kingdom, and South America.

Shane says, “We have a great relationship with MilktechNZ® and Gus. If we ever have a small issue, or if we think there is a better way to do something, they all listen. They are really good that way.

“They were always going to get the business right.”