Modern Milking Machines Make Milking Easy

       If you’ve never milked a cow before, it can seem like a daunting and challenging task. But, milking a cow is actually a relatively simple process thanks to today’s machinery that, once a system is in place, can yield good results.

     Milking can be done one, two, sometimes three times a day during lactation periods, usually at intervals of 16 hours or less, and generally, first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon or early evening have produced high yields.

     Modern milking machines, which use vacuum suction to gather milk, have made the old, traditional human method somewhat obsolete, and are designed to remove 80 to 90% of the milk in the udder in minutes. Of course, any step in the process should be done to minimize stress to the cow, this will also produce more milk!

     It is important that every step of the process is clean, including the operator of the equipment.

1) Give the cow a heads up
Approach the cow slowly and let it know you are coming. This is especially important the first time you milk the cow, because any negative reactions will be remembered and could hamper the process for the rest of the cows life.

2) Check for mastitis, as this milk will not be usable
Look and touch the udder for signs of warm, hard, or enlarged quarters, this is called mastitis and is usually a sign of infection.

     Strip out foremilk and look for signs of pain by the cow, and for the presence of clots, stringiness or wateriness of the milk. To reduce the rate of transmission of mastitis, foremilk should never be stripped directly into the hand.

3) Wash teats with a warm sanitizing solution
Wash and massage all teats with warm water containing a mild disinfectant and wipe with cloth or paper towel.

     Use of the same cloth from one cow to the next increases the risk of contamination and transmission of mastitis-causing bacteria from cow to cow.

4) Dry teats thoroughly and massage

5) Attach teatcup within one minute

     Attach the milking unit to the teats within one minute after the start of preparation. Each teatcup should be slipped onto the teat with minimal entrance of air into the milking unit.

6) Check milk flow and adjust and monitor as needed

7) At the end of milking, shut off the vacuum before removing teatcups

     Do not overmilk. The majority of cows will milk out in 4 to 5 minutes.

     Shut off the vacuum to the milking unit before detaching the teatcups

8) Dip or spray teats with a safe and effective disinfectant (teat dip)
Dip or spray each teat with a mild disinfectant, available commercially.

9) You also may want to disinfect milking units

     Milking machines have made the process simple, clean and efficient. The relatively small expense of purchasing a machine is usually offset by the time it reduces the milking process, the amount of milk the machines draw as opposed to hand milking, and the consistency in milking yields. All of this adds up to a steadier profit margin, higher milk profits, and a more successful operation.

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