The MaxT strategy is where cows are milked to a pre-determined time based on their milk volume, resulting in less time in the dairy for staff and cows, without affecting milk production or udder health.
There are three steps to implementing MaxT - calculate, implement and monitor.
The first step is to determine your MaxT time. The easiest way to do this is to download DairyNZ’s Milksmart app. By entering the number of litres from the tanker docket, the number of cows going in the vat and your milking start times, the app will calculate the average milk volume per cow for each milking, and the appropriate MaxT time for this volume.
Alternatively, use these tables to calculate your MaxT time manually.
Note: Farmers implementing MaxT for the first time have found it easier to start with using the morning MaxT time and monitoring at cups off as per Step 3.
Once you have your MaxT time the next step is to implement it in the dairy. Choose which system you will use to help you keep track of the MaxT time when milking. The most common options are:
- Use the first cow in the row to time the MaxT time for all the cows in row by:
- a timer visible from anywhere in the pit, or
- a phone with a timer, or
- set a maximum milking time with your Automatic Cup Removers (ACRs).
There are three key elements to a good routine when you are using the first cow to set the MaxT time for the row:
- Start the timer as you attach the cluster to the first cow in the row, and work your way down the row attaching clusters in order. By keeping a consistent routine and order of cluster attachment for every row, this first cows acts as a timer for all cows in the row.
- After cupping the row and completing all other tasks, return to the front of the pit and wait for the MaxT time to be reached. Then change cups by working down the pit in order without waiting for any cows still milking, keeping that routine consistent.
- There are two options for teat spraying depending on your dairy. Spray as you go in your normal ‘bunny hopping’ routine, or because of the consistence of the MaxT routine, some milkers find it easier to teat spray after changing all cups in the row. With a MaxT milking routine you end up with all your waiting time at the front of the pit rather than at individual slow cows, so you tend to have more time to teat spray and exit cows.
Note: if part of the herd is milked once a day, put these cows in one herd and allow them additional time.
The final step is regular monitoring. Once a week at an afternoon milking monitor five groups of 10 cows. When monitoring, look at the cows as clusters are changed (i.e. once the cluster has been on for the MaxT time).
- If most groups have fewer than two cows that are being shortened, you can reduce the MaxT time.
- If most groups have more than two cows that are being shortened, increase the MaxT time.
- If most groups have two cows in every 10 that are being shortened, you do not need to make any changes.