Milking

“Something has changed. I just can’t figure it out – it’s not wet, and there is no mud.”

This was Jeff’s first comment when I returned his phone call couple of months ago.

Jeff* and his wife Karen* milk 650 cows through a 60 stand rotary dairy in Northern Victoria.

They had done a lot of work to get their mastitis to where they were now reasonably comfortable – Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC) sat between 100,000 and 110,000 cells/ml, and clinical case rates of mastitis were well below the Countdown trigger point of 2 cases per 100 milking cows per month.

Read more: Something has changed

“I don’t know what it is, but something isn’t quite right!”

Tim* milks about 450 cows in a rotary dairy in North East Victoria, and it had been some years since we had worked on mastitis control with him.

“The cell count is still good, but we are now getting too many cases of clinical mastitis, and I reckon the teat ends don’t look as good as they were when you were last here.”

Read more: Sometimes, things can change!

Teat disinfectant spray on teats

During the milking process in any dairy, there are a substantial number of factors which can influence the risk of mastitis infections.

The Countdown Farm Guidelines and the supporting Countdown Technotes describe these factors very well, and also how to measure and assess them.

It takes a reasonable amount of time to conduct all the necessary assessments during milking, and it may not always be possible to complete all the tasks in one milking – especially if it is a relatively short milking or there is only one adviser conducting the assessment.

Read more: Keep an open mind

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.

Read more: It is normal, isn't it?

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.

Read more: It is tiny, but it is important

Cups crawling up teats

Russell and Stuart both manage family farms milking about 450 cows in a rotary dairy without automatic cup removers.

In the couple of months leading up to and just after Christmas, both farms had seen a rise in Bulk Milk Cell Count (BMCC) and both had experienced an increased number of clinical cases of mastitis.

Interestingly, both Russell and Stuart had a suspicion that something about their milking process was influencing their risk of mastitis.

Read more: Cows, machines & people - managing the risk of mastitis

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