Milking

  • Culling Considerations

    I never really liked 2036.

    She was the wild one as a calf. Then as a heifer she had a “spooky” look in her eye and she was always the one who went the wrong way when trying to get a mob through a gate.

    After having calved she caused our sharemilker some grief trying to break her in, so it was no surprise that when it was my turn to milk at the weekend, he warned me to “be a bit careful” with her.

    Both Saturday milkings had been uneventful, so maybe my guard was down, but on a cold frosty Sunday morning, she got me with a well-timed and savage kick, flush on my frozen fingers.

    As tears welled up in my eyes, I muttered “That’s it, you’re gone!”, but probably using a lot more colourful language and at high volume!

  • Heat increases mastitis risk

    Hot & dry

    Once again, this could be a long, hot summer.

    Farms expecting these conditions will now be making plans to help the cows cope with the heat, especially in those regions where temperatures and/or humidity can be extreme.

    For those farms wanting more information, or to check their current strategy, Dairy Australia's Cool Cows website (www.coolcows.com.au) is a fabulous resource with a large amount of information to assist herds in managing heat stress.

  • How's your vacuum?

    During a recent farm visit, routine milking time testing of the milking machines in this dairy quickly showed that the system vacuum was at 39 kPa – very low for a highline swingover herringbone!

    We immediately went looking for the dairy’s vacuum gauge, and after a brief Sherlock Holmes detective effort, we finally found the gauge way up high in the middle of a mass of pipework, facing towards one side of the herringbone.

  • It is normal, isn't it?

    Automatic cup remover hanging on removal

    Recent milking time visits to a number of different dairy sheds have reminded me that “normal” means different things to different people.

    Cup removal is always an interesting part of the milking routine to observe – in both manual and automatic systems.

  • It is tiny, but it is important

    air admission hole in claw body

    It is only a tiny part of your milking plant, and it can sometimes be very unobtrusively placed, but it is critical to the ability of your milking plant to function correctly.

    Naturally this tiny part of your plant is the claw air admission hole.

  • Managing Mastitis Risk during Milking

    We have now scored nearly 100 dairy sheds around Australia using the Dairy Focus Mastitis Risk Assessment,

    The results show the key factors most commonly associated with increased risk of mastitis in our herds.

    We have summarised these findings in a newsletter - Managing Mastitis Risk in Lactation - The Dairy.

  • Milking efficiency

    Many herds could be taking advantage of simple, proven techniques for more efficient milk harvesting.

    A skilled appraisal of the milking process to see which are applicable to your herd could have you milking quicker and more efficiently, without increasing the risk of mastitis.

  • Must we accept more mastitis in wet weather?

    Clinical case of mastitis

    Some of our dairy regions have experienced a wet winter for the first time in a number of years, and many farms have found it a test of their patience as well as a test of their infrastructure and systems.

    One of the issues associated with the wet weather has been an increase in milk quality problems in terms of both mastitis and Bactoscan results on some farms.

    As the spring calving winds down, it is an ideal opportunity for each farm to consider that calving period in terms of milk quality outcomes.

    How many cases of mastitis occurred during that calving period? How many is too many?

  • The power of numbers

    Cows being milked

    "We work really hard to get the cell count down, and then it just takes off on us, and we don't seem to be able to stop it."

    The frustration was clearly obvious at a meeting with the farm team on this 300 cow farm.

    "How can it spread so quickly?"

  • Time for a change

    Cups & liners

    Recently, I was returning home from two farm visits at which I discovered that both farms had been dutifully replacing their rubber teat cup liners every twelve months, just as they had done for many years.

    While I was contemplating liner change intervals in the car, I passed a car on the side of the road accompanied by a police car with lights flashing.

    Because the traffic was slow, I observed the driver and the policeman having what appeared to be an animated discussion whilst pointing to what were obviously very bald tyres on the car.

  • Two hints to reduce the risk of mastitis at calving

    Many herds have either just started spring calving or are just about to, and in many cases that will be in wet & muddy conditions.fresh cow and calf small

    For each cow, the calving period (2 weeks before calving until 2 weeks after) is the highest risk period for new mastitis infections, and wet conditions significantly increase that risk of mastitis.

    Most new mastitis infections in this calving period are likely to be environmental (commonly Strep uberis), and for this infection to occur, the teat must come into contact with contaminated material (generally mud and/or faeces).

  • What is the price of risk?

    MIlking cluster

    Recently, I dropped one of the family cars into the service centre in the morning for what I expected to be a normal routine service.

    It was a big surprise a couple of hours later to sit listening on one end of the phone as the mechanic ran through a list of items on the car that needed attention.

    But my mood seriously worsened when he told me the total estimated cost!

  • Will "it" happen to you this mating season?

    Drying teats

    “It” happened last year.

    Actually, “it” has happened each year for a number of years.

    So “it” will probably happen again this year!

    What is “it”? Will you be affected by “it” this year?

    Each year we see a number of farms where a mating synchrony program has been accompanied by an outbreak of clinical mastitis – either during the mating program, or immediately after.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Go to top