Reducing the risk of bovine mastitis involves high quality milking routine
Once we have all the information about the correct vacuum levels we can now know if the milking equipment is performing its function correctly. However, there is one very important factor that we should not forget at milking time: the milking routine. An efficient milking routine should not only focus on reducing the total milking time, but also on producing high quality milk, and this involves reducing the risk of bovine mastitis.
Why having an efficient milking routine is so important to reduce bovine mastitis?
The production of high quality milk depends on the hygiene conditions of cows during the milking process, the udder health programme, and on the efficient cooling of raw milk.
During the milking process, some of the critical factors influencing the risk of new bovine mastitis are:
- Cleanliness of udders and teats.
- Cow handling procedures.
- The functioning of milking equipment.
Therefore, the main objectives of an efficient milking routine are to produce high quality milk, to reduce the risk of new bovine mastitis infections and total milking time, to minimize stress to cows and to milkers, as well as to improve dairy farm profitability.
Management of the milking parlour
Efficient management of the milking parlour depends on the specific milking routine and on the parlour configuration. After deciding which routine should be used, milkers should be trained and constantly assessed on the degree of implementation of milking procedures. Choosing the appropriate milking routine will reduce the risk of bovine mastitis.
Milking routine refers to how milkers move through a milking parlour, whilst milking procedures refer to each specific step during milking that is performed by milkers.
Traditionally, milking routine can be classified as territorial or sequential.
A territorial milking routine occurs when one milker is responsible for all procedures on a set of cows for a specific territory. On the other hand, a sequential milking routine is based on a sequence of milking procedures performed on the same cow by different milkers (for example, one milker performs forestripping and predipping and another milker wipes teats and attaches milking units).
A complete milking routine includes procedures such as: forestripping, predipping, drying of teats, timely attachment of milking units and the use of effective post-dipping teat disinfection.
In the nexts post we will check step by step the milking routine, so be prepared to review it with your milkers!
Content originally created for “the Mastipedia”.
Authors: Marcos Veiga (Professor of Animal Nutrition and Production at São Paulo University).