Getting your exit design right increases work efficiency and reduces injuries.
When designing an exit race, it’s important to consider:
- The exit path should be as free from restrictions as possible.
- Exit lanes should be at least 2.5 but preferably 3 metres wide.
- Having a turn at the exit helps stabilise the exit rate of the cows (if there is a turn there should be a clear 3m passage for the cows).
- Steps are preferable to a ramp if cows exit from an elevated platform and should not be too steep. Make each step 120mm high and 800mm across the step. Do not put any slope on them other than to prevent water ponding.
In herringbones, cows entering the dairy should be able to follow directly behind those leaving, reducing dead time in the milking routine.
When using gates, the milker must have good control over cow movement and be able to intercept any cow in a single file line. Be aware that almost all exit gates have pinch and crush points.
A good exit gate should:
- Open and close quickly and be easy to operate (horizontal swing gates are harder to close from the pit).
- Be controlled from any position in the pit.
- Be aligned well with cow angle, i.e. match cluster spacing.
- Have at least 1400mm clearance (height) at the breast rail.
- Be wide enough to allow for good cow-flow.
To improve cow flow
Cows are often slow to move off the concrete exit area and onto the race. To overcome this, concrete enough space to hold at least half a row of cows at 2m2/cow. Cows will then flow out well onto the concrete and can slowly disperse while the next row is being milked.