Top quality milk starts now

Top quality milk starts now

1 May 2017

It might seem early to be looking ahead to the next lactation, let alone the microscopic standard of your milk for 2017/18. But 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 you can produce is a financial win-win. High milk quality is also a key indicator for several critical areas of overall farm business performance, including labour and animal health. 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 Technical Sales Representative (TSR) can be a helpful sounding board during this process; they tailor their advice and recommend products to suit your individual situation.

Some of the questions they might ask include:

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

Don’t underestimate the importance of the first question. Milking liners are the only part of your dairy plant that comes into direct contact with the cow. Every lactation she’ll typically spend between 50 and 100 hours attached to the machine via those liners, so they play an important role in milk harvesting.

Skellerup National Manager Perry Davis points out because liners are hidden inside the cups, you can’t see what happens to them when they wear out. “Instead, the first thing you might see is a cow kicking the cluster off, damaged teat ends or a surprisingly high Bulk Milk SCC on the milk docket.”

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 to grow.

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

Simply 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 Fonterra Farm Source TSR.

Article supplied by Skellerup Industries