Animal welfare and milk quality go hand-in-hand, says Jim Reynolds, service chief at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and ResearchCenter in Tulare, Calif.  For example, he says anything that makes a cow afraid or hesitant during the milking process can result in injury, interfere with milk letdown, reduce feed intake and negatively impact milk quality. These are things that should be avoided, he told audiences at the recent NMC annual meeting.

“Your goal,” he says, “is to get this expensive animal you have been taking good care of into the parlor in a good mood so she will let her milk down and milk out quickly and completely. You want to keep her from getting mastitis and get her back to feed and housing in a timely fashion.”