Not all herds get the same response from more-frequent milking during early lactation. This was borne home recently in two separate studies presented at the Joint Animal, Dairy and Poultry Science Association annual meeting.

In one study, an analysis of DHIA data from a commercial herd in New York revealed a trend for higher milk production among 4X cows during the first nine months of lactation. However, milk-component yields were no different than cows milked 2X during early lactation. Meanwhile, a University of Arizona study showed 6X cows in a commercial herd did not produce more milk than their 3X herdmates.

Researchers speculate that management factors specific to each farm, such as walking distance from the parlor and availability of feed, may cause the responses to differ.