Milking routine changes can make a big difference

SUE O'DOWD
Last updated 10:55 22/11/2012

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Taranaki dairy farmers will have the opportunity to refine the way they milk their cows at a workshop in Hawera next week.

DairyNZ's Milksmart workshop is being held at the Westpac Taranaki Agricultural Research Station at Hawera next Thursday.

Inglewood veterinarian Neil Chesterton will be among the three expert presenters at the workshop, one of 10 being held around the country to improve milking efficiency on dairy farms.

Taranaki farmers John and Linda le Fleming, who have previously hosted Milksmart workshops, mentioned the importance of clear instructions for mixing teat spray when they were at a discussion group.

Their neighbour then realised his mastitis problem was partly caused by the fact that his staff did not understand the instructions for mixing teat spray. After he made changes, the cows' somatic cell count, normally about 390,000 this time of year, fell to below 200,000.

After hosting a workshop, Tariki dairy farmer Chris Knowles introduced changes that immediately improved his cow flow and reduced the time it takes to milk his cows.

DairyNZ Milksmart project manager Chris Leach said that even small changes to a milking routine added up.

"Some pretty big savings, in both time and money, have been achieved by our previous participants."

He said the workshops were designed for the whole farm team, with practical hands-on sessions for junior staff and higher-level strategic sessions for managers, owners and rural professionals.

The workshops are part of a four-year programme aimed at improving the efficiency of the milking process, from collecting the cows from the paddock and milking, through to cleanup.

Topics include understanding and working with cows, planning for efficient milking, cow flow, cupping techniques, teat spray use, efficient routines, and milker comfort.

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