How the parlour environment, the whole milking phase and the Parlour set up may negatively effect your milking efficiency.
There are certain key factors and steps that are constantly influencing the efficiency of your milking routine everyday. However, as these are repeated and engaged with every day, in the same way, they risk going unnoticed and even performed incorrectly purely due to habit. The next few posts will go through 5 of these key factors, and try to highlight the best practices you can put in place to ensure that your milking routine is performed and managed correctly. Let’s start with the first 2!
1 - The Parlour environment
Cleaning is fundamental wherever your cows ares in relation to the parlour. Choosing the right litter can help in avoiding mastitis and infections. Keeping the litters themselves, the aisle, and the milking parlour clean, is a great help. Water may be used on the udders before milking, but not as a rule. However, as a minimum Cows should at least come to be milked with clean udder. Milkers should wear disposable gloves as bacteria is less likely to attach itself to smooth surfaces and they also tend to prosper on the wrinkles of the hands’ skin.
A peaceful environment is important as well, as a general rule: stressed cows will deliver less milk. So, our advice would be for you to provide a stress-free and silent environment wherever possible. Keep any disturbances at a distance and ask milkers to work as quietly as possible. Cows are very sensitive so why not try playing the right music to create more relaxing atmosphere!
2 - Pre Milking
The actions a milker takes before milking are essential. There is an important preparation process to consider and perform before milking takes place, which can highly affect the release of oxytocin and thus of milk. Stimulation and the spill of the first milk are pillars of this preparation process. So, how can you stimulate the milk release? Cleaning the teats can be a good way to stimulate it: a pre-dipping with sanitizers could be a good solution (this also helps to avoid infections like Mastitis).
The correct preparation flow looks something like this:
Make sure the teats are clean - Spill the first 3 squirts of milk and dispose them (forestripping) – Pre-dip with disinfectant – dry the teats
Why spill the first 3 squirts of milk? Because it is useful to check if milk clots are indicating possible mastitis or abnormalities and, in general, to stimulate the udder.
All of this should take about 90 seconds.
These are only a couple of aspects to be considered while milking to ensure you get a high-quality milking session. However, from our experience we are aware that there are many more to consider. In light of this, please do not miss our next post for further advice and do not hesitate to contact us if you feel like our expertise could be helpful! As we aim to improve every farm we touch, our milking experts are more than willing to come to your farm and share their knowledge with you so that you can increase your milking efficiency.
Date: 13 November 2020