recent research on over milking

The practice of milking and stripping all cows completely during each milking could be leading to teat damage in your herd.

Over milking can damage teat ends and compromise udder health ‘putting cows at greater risk for infection. But a simple test can help you determine if you are over- or under milking.

The recommendation to milk all cows completely ‚every time ‘has been reviewed due to recent research and field experience. It is impossible to milk a cow completely dry. There will always be some milk in the udder, even after “complete” milk out, because she is constantly making milk.

In the past, it was believed that all milk needed to be removed from the udder to maximize milk yield. However, breeding for high milk yields has provided cows with a high alveolar capacity. Due to this, cows are more efficient as milk producers.

Over milking starts when the milk flow to the teat cistern is less than the flow out of the teat canal. Fluctuations within the mouthpiece chamber vacuum can occur. If the vacuum in the cistern is higher than beneath the teat, reverse pressure across the teat canal may increase bacterial infection.

Reverse pressure gradients occur only during milking of empty teats, and over milking will therefore increase the possibility of bacteria entering the teat.

Teat-end health is also greatly affected by over milking. Hyperkeratosis of the teat, which is a thickening of the skin that lines the teat canal and external orifice, is often experienced in herds with long unit-on times.

Hyperkeratosis doesn’t allow for teats to be thoroughly cleaned and can lead to bacteria being left behind‚which also can lead to an increased somatic cell count.

many factors could be at fault. Milking machines must be properly maintained, and if automatic detachers are being used, adjust for timely removal of the milking unit. If your farm manually detaches units, employees must be more consistent in removing the unit as soon as “end of milking” is reached for each animal.

Timely unit attachment and proper let down, quiet cow handling and timely unit adjustment, and proper alignment are also critical.

A few simple steps can prevent over milking and can help decrease your overall herd somatic cell count. By following these guidelines, your herd can reach optimum udder health.