By Ron Goble
TURLOCK, Calif. – It’s been a long time coming, but Robert “Bob” Gioletti is milking his cows in a brand new, state-of-the-art parlor with BouMatic rotary technology.
Gioletti, along with his wife Eloise, dairy with their sons, Justin and Devin, a few miles west of this Central California community. They made a gigantic leap forward on July 14 to a spacious new 72-stall rotary, a far cry from what they milked in for decades.
Their original double-10 flat barn built in 1942 (one of the oldest in the county) handled 20 cows tail-to-tail that were milked by hand into cans in the early years. As the herd numbers increased Gioletti added 8 stalls in 1975 and another 8 in 1988, and in 1995 they built six more specifically for the hospital string.
“Building this new high-tech parlor has been a serious dream of mine for more than 10 years,” Gioletti said. “We’ve been saving for a long time.”
The new parlor came just in time as Gioletti was having trouble finding parts to keep his old milking equipment running smoothly and he had outgrown the facility.
More than a dairy
Today, besides milking 1,800 cows, R. Gioletti & Sons Dairy also includes farming 1,500 acres of alfalfa, corn, oats and almonds. They also do custom harvesting, running their own choppers and bailers.
Except for the commodities they use in their ration, the Giolettis grow all their own feed and raise all their replacement heifers. “We run a closed herd and haven’t bought an animal from outside for more than 20 years,” Gioletti declared.
If that didn’t keep Gioletti and his two sons busy enough, they also operate a cement batch plant, which provided cement for their freestall barns and other dairy projects over the years.
In fact, Gioletti mixed and delivered all the cement for his new milking parlor, including transfer lanes. Turlock Dairy & Refrigeration’s (TDR) performed all the construction and supplied all the milking equipment for the new facility.
The dairyman was extremely happy with how the huge project came together. Gioletti did all the preliminary earth moving required for the milking barn project and is currently working on a new 1,000-cow freestall barn adjacent to the parlor.
Justin commented on how rapidly the cows adjusted to the new facilities. “It only took one day to get their herd accustomed to the rotary,” he observed.
Their conception rate for their cows is 36-38% and their pregnancy rate is 23%, Justin said, and with the use of sexed semen they have had 92% heifers.
“We’ve culled heavily,” added Devin, “and have a lot of fresh heifers coming on now. With our new parlor system we have all our heifers and cows on RFID and collect daily milk weights for all animals.
“We still have three milkers and a pusher working in the parlor, but they only work two, 8-hour shifts rather than two, 12-hour shifts,” Devin said. “We are saving 12 man-hours of regular time and 12 overtime man-hours per day because of the rotary capacity and efficiencies.”
Robert Gioletti has followed in the footsteps of his grandfather Giovanni Gioletti, who immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1920. After going through Ellis Island, Giovanni landed in San Francisco and worked for several years as a janitor before starting a small dairy in the Turlock area with his brother.
Giovanni had two sons, George and Tony. George, who was blind from 7 years of age, married Emma in 1942.
“My mother-in-law gave us 40 cows and 10 heifers for a wedding gift,” Emma recalled – a gift that helped she and George start dairying on their own. She milked cows and for several years working along side her husband, who kept braille milk records and knew every cow by touch. They had two sons, Robert and Ricky.
When Robert started running the dairy in 1970, he was milking 300 cows 2X. Over nearly 40 years he has increased his herd six times the original herd size.
Today, they have the ability to increase their milking herd to 2,500.
“I’ve been working all my life for this milk barn and it has been well worth the effort,” Robert Gioletti declared. “Justin and Devin spent several years researching rotary barns and milking equipment before choosing TDR. The boys saw the project through from start to finish.”
What’s in the parlor?
• 72-stall BouMatic 360 Excaliber rotary
• Perfection milk meters
• 2060 controller assembly w/BouMetrix ISO cow ID w/dual sort gates
• BouMatic Pulse-O-Rater
• Lightweight milking cluster w/Flo Star claws and Milk Rite IP3-LMV liners and IP3 shells
• BP-500 Air Star vacuum pump
• Three 7,000/gal BouMatic Glacier milk tanks
• TDR Tank/Refrigeration Control System including:
• 8-plate BouMatic falling film chiller
• AGC plate cooler
• “DISCUS” compressor units w/air condensers
• Fill and hot milk alarms
• CIP wash system w/auto chemical injection
■ To contact Marc Sanders, Turlock Dairy & Refrigeration, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209-667-6455.
■ To contact R. Gioletti & Son’s Dairy e-mail email@example.com.