Top quality milk starts here

Top quality milk starts here

22 April 2019

It might seem early to be thinking about the next lactation, let alone the microscopic standard of your milk for 2019/20.

However, the truth is there’s no better time than now to set yourself up for a high-quality, low-grade season.

Filling the vat with the best milk possible is a financial win-win. High milk quality is also a key indicator for several critical areas of overall farm business performance, including animal health and labour. As a rule, the lower your somatic cell count (SCC) and the fewer grades you incur during lactation, the better your milking system, which is good for both staff and cows alike.

Late autumn is an ideal time to review and, if necessary, fine-tune the milking system. Your local Technical Sales Rep can be a helpful sounding board during this process; they can tailor their advice and products to your individual situation. Some of the questions a TSR might ask include:

  • When were the milking liners last changed?
  • What is the correct milking liner for your shells, and are you using the best liner?
  • How often is the milk filter changed?
  • When were the air and milk tubing lines last replaced?
  • What’s your process for checking for mastitis cows?

The first question is much more important than it might seem at first glance. Milking liners are the single part of your dairy plant that come into direct contact with the cow. Every lactation she typically spends 50 to 100 hours attached to the machine via those liners, so it’s no wonder they play such an important role in milk harvesting.

Skellerup National Sales Manager, Mark England, points out the liners are hidden inside the cups so you can’t see what happens to them when they wear out. “The first thing you might see instead is a cow kicking the cluster off, damaged teat ends or a surprisingly high BSCC on the milk docket,” says Mark.

That’s because a worn, poor-fitting liner can leave milk in the udder, slip off the teat and/or leave permanent rings at the top of the teat. On top of that, any internal cracks in the rubber are an ideal environment for bacteria.

The good news is it’s easy to find out if your milking liners are due for replacement. All you have to do is grab a calculator and work out how many times they’ve been used since they were installed. If the answer comes to 2,500 or more, it’s time to change.

Multiply the number of cows being milked by the number of milkings per day. Divide this number by the number of clusters in the milking plant. Divide 2,500 by the result of the cluster calculation. The answer is the number of days between optimum liner changes.

For more advice on achieving the best possible milk quality this coming season, have a chat to your local Farm Source TSR.

Article supplied by Skellerup