Investing in milk quality pays off

Investing in milk quality pays off

1 November 2016

The first year sharemilking can be challenging for anyone, but one thing Waikato couple Friedemann and Miriam Deuschle did not have to worry about was milk quality.

Despite being at the very start of their sharemilking career, with a mixed-breed herd of 465 cows drawn from a variety of sources, the couple achieved an average bulk somatic cell count (SCC) for the season of just 115,000.

It’s a great achievement and one they say comes down to following careful, consistent procedures every milking and using the right dairy rubberware in their 36 aside high line dairy.

With 495 cows due to calve this spring, the Deuschles run a Type 2 farm system on a 165 hectare (ha) milking platform located on the side of Mt Pirongia. The total production for 2015/16, their first season on the farm, was 162,000 kilograms milk solids (kg MS), slightly over the budget of 160,000 kg.

They employ 1.5 labour units but Friedemann and Miriam do most of the work themselves, Friedmann on the farm and Miriam in administration. Miriam also helps with relief milking when she’s not busy with their three young children (a fourth is due very soon).

The hardworking pair have been in the New Zealand dairy industry for nearly 11 years. It was on a previous farm that Friedemann and Miriam first experienced the difference the right milking liner could make, not only in terms of cow behaviour and wellbeing, but also milk quality.

Since then they’ve stuck to just one brand – Skellerup VacPlus Square Liners.

“We had a major issue with slipping cups, subsequent teat issues and SCC’s that were higher than we wanted,” Friedemann explains. “When we changed over to VacPlus Square liners, the cup slippage dropped to almost nothing, and so too did the teat issues and SCC problems.”

At that stage, they were milking through an older 48 bale internal rotary and experimented by putting VacPlus Squares in half the shed, and normal liners in the other half.

The VacPlus squares outperformed the normal liners, so they fitted squares and new Skellerup shells.

The couple tried several different liners over the years, but nothing has matched the squares, Friedemann says. “They’re top quality, highly durable and kind to the cows’ teats.

“To be quite honest, for the price you pay you get quality and durability and there is also the flow-on effect of reduced costs for animal health treatment. So in our opinion, it is a win:win situation.”

The square liners, which feature a unique design to improve milk out while protecting cow teats, are just part of a routine Friedemann and Miriam have set up to minimise potential milk quality issues throughout their milking process.

Other steps include teat spraying at every milking throughout the season with a glycerine/iodine mix; and putting a hot wash through the plant at morning and afternoon milkings.

“It’s also important to keep overall shed hygiene to a high standard,” Friedemann adds. “So we hose down the whole yard after each milking, and hose down the pit in between most rows.”

Friedemann started out managing at Lichfield, then Tokoroa. The last four seasons at this property they had a unique arrangement with their then employer on a 400 cow farm where they sharemilked half the herd, and managed the remaining half.

He says they’ve always aimed to go sharemilking and when they secured the Mt Pirongia job in a very competitive environment, they had no second thoughts about making the move this season.

For more information on VacPlus Square liners talk to your local Technical Sales Rep or visit your Fonterra Farm Source or RD1 store.

Article supplied by Skellerup