Editor's note: The following article was included in the June 2013 issue of "Dairy Connection" through the North Dakota State University Extension Service.

Milk quality and udder health are pieces of any successful dairy operation. To produce high-quality milk, all employees need to be on the same page when they enter the parlor. A parlor routine can help create consistency between employees and different milking shifts.

Include these 10 steps in your pre-milking routine to improve milk quality:

  1. Before starting your shift, gather all of the supplies that will be needed for milking. Important equipment to remember includes clean gloves, clean milker apron, a clean nonreturn teat dip cup or automatic teat dip foamer, sprayer or dipper without leaks, and clean cloth, microfi ber or paper towels.
  2. Check milking equipment to make sure that the fi nal sanitization cycle completes properly. Making sure that all wash water has drained from the receiver jar, milk lines and the rest of the milking system is critical. When the wash cycle is completed, add a clean milk fi lter to the milk pipe.
  3. Move all pipes that connect to the bulk tank or ensure that the tanker line is connected to the milk tanker and functioning properly.
  4. Switch all control valves from the “wash” setting to the “milk” setting. Make sure that the plate cooler and/or chiller is on.
  5. Visually verify that all connections are in the proper setting and that all equipment is clean.
  6. Take all milking units out of the jetter cups and hook them up to prepare for milking.
  7. Turn the milk pump on.
  8. Perform a visual walk-through of the equipment room to be sure that everything appears and sounds normal. Listen for air leaks, pulsation rate and abnormal sounds.
  9. Check the vacuum gauge to make sure that the vacuum level corresponds to the posted vacuum level for the dairy. (The specific vacuum level will vary based on operation setup and desired levels of compression.)
  10. Just after milking begins, check the milk room to make sure you have no milk leaks or problems.

Source: Keith Engel, dairy farm hygiene and supplies specialist,GEA Farm Technologies