“Milking is so routine, we don’t even think about it. It just happens,”
The end goal for udder preparation before milking is to maintain a constant routine at each milking:
1. A minimum of 10 seconds of physical stimulation on teats.
2. A lag time of 60 to 90 seconds before units are attached.
3. A parlour routine that consistently accomplishes 1 and 2 from the beginning to the end of milking
4. When there is a high vacuum but little milk flow. This can happen any time before complete milk let-down, the cow lets milk down which appears to be complete milking, then stops for 15 – 30 seconds.
So why stimulate the teats? How important is lag time before unit attachment?
In a recent study of farms, a large percentage experienced biphasic milking “under milking “in more than 30 percent of the cows. Biphasic milking results when oxytocin has not reached the mammary cells at the time the unit is attached. In other words, it is a delayed start of peak milk flow. The goal in the modern milking parlour routine is to have less than 10 percent of cows experience biphasic milking” under milking “.
With biphasic milking, milk flow starts as it originates from the teat and gland cisterns, but then stops or slows considerably because milk let-down has not been activated. Milk flow may be stopped for 30 seconds or more until sufficient stimulation, or sufficient time allows the arrival of oxytocin that causes the milk flow to begin again.
The impacts from biphasic milking “ under milking “ can be uncomfortable to cows, and could result in congestion in the teat, high vacuum without milk flow can cause stress on the teat . Under milking can cause teat end roughness, and it has the potential to reduce milk yield.
Milk let down is now considered as important as over milking exposing the teat to full vacuum has extreme effect on the cows teat end .
As herd numbers increase in the UK it is more important to train staff and new employees to a constant routine without cutting corners.