Best milking practices checklist

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Producing quality milk to help to increase your farms income. Many Pennsylvania producers are missing out on quality milk premiums, as well as spending extra money on mastitis treatments and milk loss. This checklist will help you to pinpoint areas in your milking routine that need improvement.

  1. Observation of Cow Cleanliness. Is there manure on the udder and teats?
  2. Observation of Parlor and Equipment Cleanliness.
  3. Are employees using gloves?
  4. Proper use and coverage of Pre-dip. Test proper coverage with “Paper Towel Test”
  5. Length of time dip is on teat before drying. (Follow Label most 15-30 seconds)
  6. Is the employee stripping each teat vigorously and getting good milk flow?
  7. Is a strip cup being used? This can help to detect early cases of mastitis and decrease change of pathogen spread.
  8. Is CMT test being performed on animals that are suspected to have an infection?
  9. Is water being used to clean udder? No Water should be used. Aids in bacteria growth.
  10. What is the milking preparation procedure? Dip-Strip–Dry–Apply (Dry must be the last step before application of unit)
  11. Are teats being thoroughly dried (including teat ends) before unit attachment? (Clean Dry Towels) Test teat end cleanliness with “Alcohol Swab Test”.
  12. Are teats farthest away from milking being dried first? (reduce risk of recontamination).
  13. What is the time from first contact with the teat until the unit is fully attached? This is referred to as Lag Time. Should be between 60-90 seconds.
  14. Are units properly adjusted to squarely hang under the udder?
  15. Are employees properly using the automatic take offs? (Should not be switching to manual).
  16. What is the length of time from until attachment to unit removal? This is referred to as “Unit On Time.” This should be 3.5 to 5 minutes in length with proper milking stimulation.
  17. Observe teat ends of damage or tops of teats for purple ring.
  18. Are employees getting proper post dip teat coverage? Use the “Paper Towel Test”.
  19. Are all employees following the same procedure. Consistency is very important.
  20. Observe milk filter post milking for dirt or mastitis.

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Source: Penn State Extension College of Agricultural Services

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