Parlor tools

American Comedian Mitch Hedberg once said “This shirt is dry clean only. Which means…it’s dirty.” It would appear that Mitch was one of us who determined cleaning, especially when it took special measures, wasn’t a high priority.

I can’t help but think of this thought process when I visit farms. Cleaning cow’s teats is hard work.  Cleaning dirty cows teats is even harder.  From the beginning of discussing milk quality, people have spoken about milking clean dry teats.  People have tried numerous tools to produce different results but in the end cleaning teats, especially ones brought to the parlor dirty, is hard work.

Tools are available to aid the process, better dips, better towels and even machines promising the ability to reduce labor and improve consistency are readily available. Since the beginning of history man has developed tools to aid in the process of doing the work.  As a matter of fact the development of tools is one of the things that differentiate human beings as a species.

The issue I most often see then is not the development or access to tools; it is the implementation of them into the existing routine. Take a look at what you are asking the milkers to do; is it realistic to expect them to deliver clean dry teats in the time they are allowed?  Can they consistently deliver the three rules of cow preparation, 15 secs of stimulation, 30 seconds of contact time and 90 secs of lag time?

Tools will always exist; tools will likely always improve, the job of managers and support people then is to properly implement them into the daily tasks with the best likelihood of success.


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