Dairy cow numbers have experience substantial growth since the removal of quotas in 2015. This has led to increased parlour sizes and the need for increasing efficiency within the milking parlour.
The type of milk parlour you are operating in, will determine what areas could be improved to increase efficiency.
When milking in a herringbone parlour it is important to start from the front of parlour. You should start attaching clusters once the first few cows are in place.
During the milking you should work in batches and teat spray as you go, so in a 16-unit parlour you could work in batches of four.
When attaching clusters in the parlour it is important that you switch hands depending on the side.
On the left-hand side of the pit, hold the cluster in your right hand and attach with your left. This is reversed on the right-hand side.
For larger parlours that require two people in the pit, to make the milking more efficient, you should practice bunny hopping.
This is a more efficient way to milk in a larger parlour rather than splitting the units.
It is important that you use the backing gate efficiently to maintain a good pace during the milking.
To help maintain the pace during the milking you should open the exit gate early and allow cows to move out at their own pace.
You should have standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place, so that if someone else is milking they will be able to follow your routine.
For milking in a rotary parlour it is important that the platform is operated at an efficient speed.
You should be standing close to the bridge and attaching clusters within four seconds to keep the platform moving.
Just like in the herringbone parlour, efficient use of the backing gate is important to maintain a good pace and keep cows coming onto the platform.
It is also recommended that you swap between going around the circle and applying two cups at one time to prevent injury.
Having SOPs in place is also important in a rotary milking parlour.
Milking Parlour Efficiency
Increasing milking parlour efficiency will help you to consistently produce high quality milk.
It should also mean that less time is spent in the milking parlour, increasing the amount of time cows spread at grass.
It should also reduce the number of mastitis cases within the herd and lower herd somatic cell count (SCC), making the herd more profitable.
Something that is often not considered is repetitive strain injuries from the milking parlour. Increasing milking efficiency will reduced repetitive strain injuries.