Milking the cows or is it milking the cow? Many times over the years we have progressed beyond our ability to fully understand. In the instance of milking cows we now have the ability to milk hundreds of cows per hour on facilities large enough to truly be called small factories. The ability to remove large volumes of milk from cows is impressive, but like the superman quote goes “with great power comes great responsibility.
When we are milking the cows we need to be especially conscious of milking each cow. I believe the difference between milking the cow and milking the cows can be dramatic. All cows have specific needs and the dairy that comes closest to meeting them all finds success.
Every cow wants at least 10 secs of manual stimulation, towel cleaning, automatic brush cleaning and/or stripping the teats counts, but 10 secs is a must, more would be better
Every cow needs time from start of stimulation to attach. It would appear that for the interest of discussion this needs to be a minimum of 60 seconds with 90 seconds commonly needed to deliver sufficient oxytocin for calm, comfortable, complete milk removal.
Teat dips need sufficient time to be effective, 30 seconds of contact time is a good starting point, depending on soil load and germicide. More time can be needed but shortening this step can be really detrimental to good teat hygiene.
Progress is inevitable, sometimes it comes quickly and sometimes it moves far too slow. We now have capabilities to harvest milk at astounding rates, make sure the cow is still the focus of the process.