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Equipment and routine can affect milk quality.

Byline: milk matters Gethin Owen

HAVING the right equipment and routine can have an impact on product quality, cow health and overall system efficiency.

Better efficiency in the milking parlour was discussed at a recent AHDB Llaeth/Dairy open event in St Asaph.

When milk harvesting, farms will have differing aims. Some want to milk as quickly as possible, others are more driven by postmilking teat condition.

However, all milking must achieve the ultimate compromise of milking 'quickly, gently and completely'.

Speaking at the Getting Your Parlour Working More Efficiently event was milking technology specialist Ian Ohnstad of the Dairy Group.

The physiology of the milking process and the anatomy of the teat were discussed alongside practical matters such as allowing enough time between teat preparation and cluster attachment and liner management.

Teat size can have a huge impact, and dairy producers need to consider the difference between liners designed for North American cows and the slightly smaller European teats, as well as variations in teat dimensions within a herd.

Selecting the appropriate liner for a particular dairy herd can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of milk harvesting while an inappropriate choice can have implications for udder health.

There was information on identifying the signs that milking is not being carried out gently or effectively, with tell-tale signals including discoloured teats post-milking or teat-end hyperkeratosis.

Also discussed was the importance of getting correctly angled and weighted claws and shells in order to achieve sufficient downward pressure to make sure the teats are the optimal length and shape for milking.

It was stressed that liners should be changed as often as the manufacturer recommends. Failure to do so can impact on the effectiveness of the milking process as the structure of the rubber changes over time with exposure to oxygen, water and dairy chemicals.

Correct vacuum levels need to be maintained too as do air filters.

Other topics discussed included teat coverage with automatic sprayers, the effect of types of teat dip on teat condition, milking routine 'time and motion' studies and adjusting ACR (automatic cluster removal) settings.

Gethin Owen is the extension officer in North Wales for AHDB Llaeth/Dairy on 07811 180069 or gethin.owen@ahdb.org.uk

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 10, 2015
Words:371
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