For dairy farmers, its no harm to recap on the main areas of a milking routine to ensure your not missing anything obvious. Getting the milking routine right is a great way to maximise product quality, safety for cow and milker, along with efficiency in time. When milking cows, routine is key, keeping the same milking routine daily helps the cows to remain relaxed.
All milking garments must be clean. This helps prevent spread of infections such as mastitis. Gloves should be rinsed and disinfected regularly during milking.
All cows teats should be cleaned and dry prior to milking. If teats are dirty they should be washed and dried. A dry wipe with a paper towel is ok for clean teats. If pre-spraying is practised allow 30-60 seconds contact time before drying the teats and attaching the cluster. This gives time for the bacteria to be killed.
Preparation of cows should take place in groups of four or six starting from the front of the row. Preparation of each cow takes place first followed by attachment of clusters to the same group in the same order. This routine is efficient because an interval of around 60-90 seconds will pass between preparation and attaching clusters. This ensures optimal milk let down occurs.
When attaching clusters, keep the pulse and milk tubes on the cow exit side of you, ensuring that they are not in the way when moving to the next cluster. Attach the liners in a circular motion starting with the one closest to the thumb of the hand holding the cluster. Changing hands can help minimise the risk of repetitive strain injury and means you’ll have a better reach when attaching the cluster. Ensure the cluster hangs on the cow properly.
Good cluster alignment is important. Correct alignment means all four quarters will be milked out completely.
Manual cluster removal should start when a single stream of milk is visible in the claw piece. This reduces the chances of over-miking. Clusters should be removed without causing air blasts. Milkers should turn off the vacuum by kinking the long milk tube close to the claw piece or by using the button on the claw piece, allowing the cluster to become limp on the udder. Waiting 2-3 seconds before removing.
Allowing the unit to become limp before removal reduces the risk of air blast occurring when clusters are been removed, which minimises the risk of both mastitis and teat end damage occurring.
When a batch of four to six units have been removed, teat spray or dip the the cows in the same order. Ensure that at least 15ml of the spray or 10ml of the dip is applied evenly to the teats of each cow after milking. This should be done as soon as possible after cluster removal.
Aim to get complete coverage of the teat, as this will kill the bacteria, and use a disinfectant containing an emollient to help improve teat condition.