Step 4: The final step in the preparation process is to remove the pre-dip and dry the teats. To prevent the spread of mastitis-causing bacteria from one cow to another, always use a clean towel (paper or cloth) for each animal. Milking wet, dirty teats increases the standard plate and coliform counts in milk, both of which are indications of poor milk quality and milking parlor hygiene.
Steps 5 and 6: To get the most out of milk letdown, attach milking units within 60 to 90 seconds after first stimulation for optimal oxytocin release. Remember, stimulation for milk let-down can begin when the cows enter the parlor or when the teats are stripped, so it is important to have a consistent routine. At this point, it’s important to properly align the milking unit under the cow when attaching the teat cups.
Step 7: When using automatic take-off machines, ensure they are adjusted properly to remove at low milk flow. If take off is done manually, always remember to shut off the vacuum prior to removing the milking unit.
Step 8: Dip or spray every teat after milking with an effective post-dip product, ensuring total coverage of the teats. The teat ends are still open at this point, allowing easy access of bacteria into the udder. This post-application is her best defense against invading mastitis-causing bacteria. It is also advisable to have fresh feed available to cows when they return to their pen after milking. Cows should stand for 30 to 60 minutes to allow the muscles surrounding the teat opening to close the teat end. It is important that the cows return to a clean environment, for example, clean, well-bedded free stalls.
Key Points to Remember:
- Keep milking pleasant for the cows; procedures and milking equipment should allow for rapid milk out. Be sure the milking equipment is operating properly and the liners are in proper condition. Be consistent with milking procedures, as cows are creatures of habit.
- If sprinkler pens are used, the cows should be dry before entering the parlor. The goal is to always milk clean, dry cows that are properly stimulated.
- Keep a clean, low stress environment!
Source: California Dairy Newsletter