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Here you’ll learn about ways to make your herringbone dairy more effective, often for little or no extra cost. The swing-over herringbone is the most common dairy type in New Zealand, used on 69% of dairy farms. Simple changes save seconds per cow, and that quickly adds up. There are ways to save time in almost all herringbone milking sheds. The key to improving efficiency is to use a consistent milking routine for all milkers. Shorter milkings have several benefits - improving staff satisfaction, lessening mastitis and reducing lameness. Making changes is simple and reversible, so you don’t have to wait until the end of the season to assess the impact of changes. If something hasn't worked, it's easy to change back at the next milking.
There are a number of ways to compile an efficient milking routine depending on individual dairy design. However, the following elements have been identified as key elements that good routines have in common.
In summary, many farmers have managed to make significant savings by adopting a routine that:
Compare the territorial or zone method to the more efficient bunny-hopping method. Bunny-hopping allows the head gate to be released earlier and minimises the time spent waiting for the row to exit. A well-designed shed with good cow flow is needed to get the most from the bunny-hopping method.
See how the location of key controls affects the amount of walking in the pit. Re-locating the backing gate switch is a common low-cost change to improve efficiency, whereas changing the swing head gate to one that can be opened and closed from the majority of the pit is a more significant investment.