Founded in 2009, Rio Loco Dairy is a small, family-owned dairy farm located in Buckeye, Arizona. They operate two double-40 parallel barns which are each capable of milking 3,200 cows, three times a day. Currently, the company produces approximately 10,500 pounds of milk per day and are continuing to grow by maintaining two additional calf barns.
Rio Loco originally purchased the dairy farm at a trustee sale, due to the previous owner’s bankruptcy. Unfortunately, this meant that neither barn had operated in at least six months to a year. Shortly after they began milk production, they realized that the systems were outdated and that the layout of the barn made it inefficient and unsafe.
The barn lacked basic features such as flush heads for the drip and wash pans, which are needed for a functioning drainage system. Without a proper draining system, Rio Loco was forced to shut down their operations for one hour, three times a day, to wash the barn manually. Since the farm was at a standstill three hours each day, maintaining a sanitary environment with manual labor was in fact losing them money.
Although the two barns were built in 2002 and 2005, the equipment in place was far older than that. Neither of the two barns had a milk metering system, which meant that Rio Loco had to bring in an outside company on a monthly basis to provide them with information on the cows’ production levels, individual health, and milk quality—inducing extra expenses on the barn and stress on the cows during their disruptive visits.
Rio Loco Dairy desperately needed an upgrade to their outdated systems in order to increase productivity, efficiency, cleanliness, and ultimately revenue.