4 KEY POINTS OF MILKING GENTLY, QUICKLY & COMPLETELY
The genetic potential of dairy cows is constantly evolving towards ever higher performance. In the milking parlour, you have to keep up! Adapting your equipment is good. Implementing the good practices that go with it is even better.
#1 GOOD PREPARATION MAXIMISES MILK EJECTION
Preparing the udder before milking does not waste time: it is the opposite! Teat stimulation increases oxytocin production and milk ejection capacity. When a cow arrives at milking, only 20-25% of the milk is available in the udder pouch. The lack of stimulation results in a time-out once it is emptied before the alveolar milk arrives. The resulting over-milking is detrimental, so there is no point in switching on too quickly, whether with a milking machine or a robot.
Preparation starts as soon as the teats are cleaned. 10 to 12 seconds are enough to forestrip and dry the teats. After the first touch (excluding pre-foaming), 60 to 90 seconds are available for attachment. The goal is to collect 50% of the available milk in 2 minutes with a cluster removal at 6 minutes.
#2 ROUTINE ALLOWS HIGH MILKING RATE
All persons involved in the milking parlour must follow the same protocol. This applies to family farms as well as to farms with partners or employees. Routine gives the animals confidence. The cows are free of stress and naturally optimise their milk ejection. The flow is better. Keep to the time limit at all stages. Nothing is gained by accelerating the pace. For example, the pre-milking disinfectant should be left on for at least 30 seconds. When attaching, remember to position the cluster parallel to the floor of the udder so that all quarters are emptied evenly.
#3 THE AMOUNT OF RESIDUAL MILK CONFIRMS A COMPLETE MILKING
To check if the milking is complete, take a 1 litre jar and strip the teats until the udder looks empty (directly after the cluster removal). If the milking is well done and the cluster removed at the right time, the amount of milk remaining is no more than 250-450 ml (spread over all teats). Claws such as Flo-Star Max and Flo-Star Xtreme (BouMatic) are transparent. This makes it easy to visually determine the correct milking time. Please note that milking settings should be adjusted for the whole herd, not just the few favourite cows! Use this check to examine the teats: are there any lumps? Any signs of congestion? Hyperkeratosis (callus formation around the teat canal) is often a sign of too much vacuum or over-milking.
#4 HIGH-SPEED MILKING REQUIRES THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Milking equipment needs to match the performance of your animals, whose genetic profile has evolved. As a specialist in high-speed milking, BouMatic has developed a range of equipment for high potential herds. The Magnum range of liners combined with Flo-Star claws can handle flow rates of up to 8 L/min. The Flo-Star Xtreme claw is the latest addition to the range : it also improves cluster alignment and ensures a stable vacuum for rear milking. The new Magnum Turbo liners incorporate the innovations of the previous ones (side reinforcements, cylindrical head), combined for the first time with a triangular body for a progressive and gentle teat massage. The only restriction is that the entire system must be capable of absorbing a high milk flow. The milk line must be large enough to ensure that it is never more than 40% full.