Lighting your New Milking Parlour

So you have just bought a 200 thousand pound milking parlour, you are excited and looking forward to milking your cows in this state of the art machine,
You put the first unit on and think it’s a bit dark and gloomy it’s depressing.

People spend approximately a third of their day at work, so it’s not hard to imagine the importance of lighting in the workplace. The use of LED lighting is on the rise in homes and in the workplace.

The quality of lighting in a workplace can have a significant effect on productivity. With adequate lighting workers can work with fewer mistakes, which can lead to a 10-50 % increase in productivity. Good lighting can decrease errors by 30-60 % as well as decrease eye-strain and the headaches, nausea, and neck pain which often accompany eyestrain. Adequate lighting allows workers to concentrate better on their work which increases productivity.

The level of lighting that workers need varies depending on the nature of the task, the sharpness of the workers’ eyesight, and the environment in which the work is done. For example, detailed work, such as inspection, assembling of small parts or technical drawing, needs a great deal of light. Coarse work, on the other hand, such as loading or unloading materials, handling of materials or packaging, requires less light

Good lighting in the workplace promotes:
1. A reduced risk of occupational accidents and health problems;
2. Better concentration and accuracy in work;
3. A brighter, cleaner workplace resulting in a more active, cheerful environment;
4. improved work performance;
5. Better visibility, improved accuracy and increased work speed enhancing production.

In can be easy to improve lighting without increasing the number of light bulbs, light fixtures or the electric bill. Improved lighting can be achieved by using more daylight, by adding more roof lights in a new building.

Complement the wall covering in a CREAM colour to reflect light.

So what lighting is the best which over time can save you money and enhance productivity?

The high quality of LED lighting helps people be more aware of their surroundings at work, including little hazards that could cause someone to trip or fall. In addition to everyday risks, there can be sudden emergencies. Emergency exit signs are typically LEDs because of its clearness, brightness, and long lifespan. Those same attributes can translate to any workplace retrofitted with LED lighting. They are well-lit to ensure everyone’s safety.

LED lights require relatively low amounts of energy to power them. This can reduce lighting consumption by 55-90 percent. An LED light can typically last for up to 60,000 hours, which is considerably longer than incandescent and fluorescent lighting alternatives. This is not only better for your budget, but better for the environment too, by reducing carbon emissions. In addition, the disposal of phosphor and the particularly toxic mercury in the tubes is an environmental issue. They are not recyclable and eventually end up in landfills. LED lights do not contain any harmful chemicals and as a result are fully recyclable at the end of their life. The switch to energy-efficient LED lighting greatly reduces a company’s carbon footprint, showcasing the business as an example of environmental responsibility

LED lighting is proven to be more energy efficient and longer lasting than traditional fluorescent, high pressure sodium, or metal halide lighting. As a result, most manufacturing facilities are evaluating LED lighting upgrades to reduce energy and maintenance costs. These savings can be quantified by projecting wattage reductions and the cost of bulbs and labour to replace old fixtures as they burn out.
However, there are savings that are more difficult to quantify, but are extremely significant and can far outweigh the energy and maintenance savings associated with an LED upgrade. Consider how much profit could be realized if just a 1 percent increase in productivity could be gained with a brighter environment.

Today’s LED lighting color temperature is typically about 5000 Kelvins. This temperature is very similar to natural light.

Take the time to consider the above contact your electrician , A good installer will encourage you and work out a consumption and saving over many years helping you understand the benefits and reduction in cost , your milking machine is an investment of twenty years , don’t penny pinch on lights !

Beware ! some LED lighting due to frequency can affect Auto ID , Contact your installer !

Invest in your Cows

Milk quality is affected by many causes, many of which we can control through appropriate management. One major area that involves many causes which can influence milk quality is cow comfort,

If you have a chance to build a new green field or renovate an existing site, you should focus on cow comfort from the start. Cows lie down for 12 to 14 hours a day, making the bedding surface on which they lie quite important. Sand is ideal because it encourages increased lying time, allows cows to switch between standing and lying easily, helps keep cows cool and doesn’t promote bacterial growth.
Bacteria are an udder’s worst enemy, and unlike sawdust or straw, sand doesn’t have organic matter that will help bacteria thrive in it. This does not mean that you can leave manure in stalls and expect the sand to take care of it. However, if you clean stalls habitually and make sure dry sand remains at curb height, there should be fewer opportunities for bacteria to enter the teat end when cows lie on top of it.
Clean and dry surface is the most important thing to endeavour for regardless of housing or bedding type.

Cows that go out to graze are often thought as producing poorer milk quality, but there is little to no scientific basis for this theory. Lush grass and ample shade allows cows to rest in a more comfortable environment outside. Many producers want cows to calve on pasture because they think of it as being a clean and comfortable area that may help during that stressful time. So why should that not be the case throughout lactation? Heat stress is a major consideration for pastured animals. Trees can provide effective shade, but cows will often compact the area around the trees, creating a mud hole, which can increase mastitis risk. Rotating fences between shady spots or providing portable shade areas can decrease this problem.

Saving on the small stuff can create big messes. The best herdsman in the world will still have things they don’t do perfectly because there are not enough hours in the day or enough money in the bank, but motivated to pay attention to as many details as possible will benefit you and your cows. There are no tricks or hidden secrets – “attention to detail” is the key to success. Mastitis management requires attention to detail in the parlour and in the housing system.
Building or renovating a housing system is usually a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so doing it right is important. When designing a new facility or improving an existing facility, remember that cow comfort plays a large role in milk quality. Build your facility for the cows, not for the workers, and you may just start to see better milk quality results.
Invest in your Cows and you will see a profit in your workers.

Understanding laboratory Jargon

TVC: Total Viable Count

A TVC is not a specific micro-organism but rather a test which estimates total numbers of viable (viable means living) individual micro-organisms present in a set volume of sample. The TVC count may include bacteria, yeasts and mould species.
Clearly it is impossible to have a set of conditions that are ideal for all organisms likely to be present in any one sample. This should be borne in mind when interpreting the results. TVC results are however very useful for trend analysis whereby changes in the numbers of microbes present in a system can be monitored over time and multiple samples. Mastitis
Mastitis is an inflammation of the udder, typically caused by a microbiological infection.

Total Bacteria Count (TBC)

Low levels (<50,000/ml) are essential to ensure the manufacture of high quality milk as directly increases the shelf life of milk and allow the Society to manufacture the highest quality final products for our customers. High levels of TBC are an indicator of on-farm general hygiene conditions, milking equipment cleanliness and milk storage (temperature and time).

Somatic Cells
Somatic cells are cells from the cow (predominantly white blood cells, otherwise known as leukocytes) that are normally present in milk. During most mastitis infections, the number of somatic cells present in the udder increases to help the cow fight the infection. There are several types of somatic cells that have different functions in fighting infection. Somatic cells can contain lipolytic and proteolytic enzymes, which degrade fats and proteins, respectively. An increase in somatic cells count during a mastitis infection increases the amount of destructive enzymes present in the milk, which increases the rate of deterioration of the milk fat and protein.

Bacteria Count
The total bacteria count is the number of bacteria in a sample that can grow and form countable colonies on Standard Methods Agar after being held at 32°C (90°F) for 48 hours.
Coliform Count
The coliform count is the number of colonies in a sample that grow and form distinctive countable colonies on Violet Red Bile Agar after being held at 32°C (90°F) for 24 hours. Coliforms are generally only present in food that has been fecally or environmentally contaminated.

have developed mechanisms to resist heat and other lethal agents such as sanitizers. Most of these bacteria have an ability to create a protective form called a spore that is very tough to kill.
The spores end up in finished products and begin growing and damaging the milk product. The most effective way to minimize the LPC count is to prevent contamination of the milk with thermoduric bacteria. This means clean cows and clean equipment. Thermoduric bacteria are common in soil and fermented feedstuffs. When cattle are exposed to contaminated material, thermoduric bacteria get on their teats. Poor udder sanitization will allow problems to develop. Milkstone buildups in the system may protect some of these bacteria and allow them to multiply in the raw milk. The LPC test is a good estimate of both cow and system cleanliness.

Common Mistakes in the Milking Parlour

Maintaining a low bulk tank somatic cell count has always been a good dairy management approach. Low somatic cell counts are associated with improved milk quality, increased shelf life and cheese yield after the milk leaves the farm, increased milk production, and reduced veterinary and drug costs.
Market changes have led to an increased importance by milk buyers toward lowering bulk tank somatic cell counts at the farm level. As a result, many dairy producers have refocused efforts to lower somatic cell count. Often, the reasons for a high bulk tank somatic cell count can be found in the milking parlour. Following are five common parlour mistakes that should be avoided to keep somatic cell counts low.

1. Milking dirty or wet teats
Poorly cleaned or dried teats result in increased incidence of mastitis and higher somatic cell counts. The first step to milking clean, dry teats is to keep cows as clean as possible before they ever enter the milking area. Clean cows are exposed to fewer environmental mastitis-causing bacteria and they are easier to clean before milking. If you feel the need to wash a high percentage of your cows, you may want to reconsider how your pastures or cowsheds are managed to improve cow cleanliness.
Dirt, manure, or debris can often be removed by hand or with a towel without the use of water. When cows are excessively dirty, some use of water may be necessary to clean the teats. However, this practice should be the exception and not the rule. Water use in the milking process should be kept to a minimum.
If water is used, be sure to only wet the teats and not the entire udder. It is nearly impossible to dry the udder and this water ends up being drawn into the inflations during the milking process. Generally, the use of water in the parlour results in increased mastitis and higher bacteria levels in milk.

All teats should be thoroughly dried with a single-service, absorbent cloth or paper towel. Never use the same towel on two cows. All debris, manure and predip residue on the teats should be removed while drying, using a gentle, twisting motion. During the drying process, pay particular attention to getting the teat ends clean and dry. If teats are not adequately dried, water, containing mastitis-causing bacteria, may end up in the teat cups during the milking process and expose the open teat ends to these bacteria.

2. Poor pre- or post-dip coverage
Pre-dipping and post-dipping are two mastitis management policies. Unfortunately, carelessness in the milking parlour often leads to insufficient teat dip coverage. Predipping with a sanitizing solution eliminates bacteria on teat ends prior to milking and helps to control mastitis caused by environmental mastitis pathogens. The predip should remain on the teats for at least 30 seconds before drying.
As soon as possible after the milking units are removed, teats should be dipped with a post-dip, which has been demonstrated to be an effective germicide through independent research. An effective post-dip kills bacteria on teats, prevents organisms from colonizing in the teat canal and reduces the rate of new infections from contagious mastitis bacteria. When pre-dipping and post-dipping, at least ¾ of the teat should be covered, with a goal of covering the entire teat. Teat dip cups should be kept clean.
Some dairy producers choose to spray teats rather than dip. While it is possible to adequately cover teats with a spray bottle, full coverage is often inadequate when spraying teats. A good way to test the effectiveness of dipping is to wrap a paper towel around the teat just after dipping.
The goal is to see a continuous streak of teat dip on the paper towel, indicating the entire teat was covered. With spraying, you will often find broken streaks of teat dip because the opposite side of the teat is often not covered.

3. Too little or too much time between teat stimulation with the cow and milker attachment
Attaching milkers too soon or too late can result in excessive milking time or reduced milk yield. The timing of milking unit attachment is a critical step in a good milking procedure. Oxytocin, which causes milk let down, reaches peak levels at 60 seconds after stimulation.
Therefore, milkers should be attached within 1 to 1.5 minutes after teat stimulation. Synchronizing attachment with milk let down helps ensure that the milkers are attached during the time frame when milk flow is highest.

4. Spreading mastitis with contaminated hands
Contagious mastitis-causing bacteria,like Staph. Aureus, may live on your hands and be transmitted between cows during milking. At minimum, hands should be thoroughly washed with soap and water before milking. Ideally, because bacteria are less likely to adhere to gloves than rough, calloused skin, nitrile or latex gloves should be worn during milking.
Gloves minimize the spread of contagious mastitis between cows during milking and help protect the milker’s skin. Gloves are also easier to disinfect than bare hands. Whether gloves are worn or not, hands should be washed sporadically throughout the milking procedure.

5. Over milking
Care should be taken to avoid over milking, which can increase the incidence of liner slips and lead to teat end damage. Damaged teat ends are more susceptible to mastitis. When automatic take-offs are used, the unit settings should be adjusted to ensure they do not stay on too long. Additionally, it is important to resist the temptation to override the automatic detachment by putting the milker back on.
The process of machine stripping, or holding down on individual teat cups or milking clusters, should be avoided. Properly stimulated cows milked with correctly functioning and attached milking units should not have excessive residual milk left in the udder. The potential losses from machine stripping far outweigh any potential benefits.