Is your milking system vacuum monitored routinely and is the gauge correct? This mechanical system is used 365 days a year. We should monitor system vacuum like the gas gauge on your car or truck. Is it routine SOP for the milkers to look at the gauge prior to each shift?
These are just a few of the areas on the dairy where I have seen breakdowns lead to significant issues or production losses. Many seem really obvious, but when we find that something small was the cause of a fairly major issue on the dairy it is eye-opening. Include these “little” things as part of SOPs and checklists. Hold certain individuals responsible for monitoring each of these areas. If someone does not have direct responsibility, it is not likely to get done routinely.
Here are a few more that have recently caused an issue on some of the dairies I work with. I’m sure if you think about it for a few minutes, you can make you own list.
• Is your scale for measuring forage dry matter calibrated?
• Are your urine ketone strips expired or have they been stored incorrectly? They won’t read positive if mishandled.
• Is your on-farm herd management software routinely making backups?
Mark Thomas is a veterinarian and partner in Countryside Veterinary Clinic, LLP in Lowville, N.Y.