What makes up a milking routine?
The table below is an example of key tasks milkers must complete; you will see that milking is a job of seconds and a one-second saving during a milking routine can add up to big time savings overall.
Note: there are more tasks to complete in a herringbone, and removing clusters and teat spraying are either completed by a cups-off operator or are automated.
(seconds per cow)
(seconds per cow)
|Load cows||2||Ad-hoc clean dirty teats||1|
|Ad-hoc clean dirty teats||1||Attach clusters||6|
|Attach clusters||7||Activating ACR||1|
|Waiting for slow milkers||2||Other tasks (backing gate etc)||1|
|Other tasks (backing gate etc)||1|
|Idle time||2||Idle time||1|
|Row time for 20 bails||9 minutes||Rotation time for 54 bails||9 minutes|
How much time you can save
Saving just one second adds up to a lot of time over a milking and a season. The numbers in the table below show the increase in cows milked per hour by saving one second on a nine minute rotation time. Typically in a rotary, savings of 1-2 seconds per cow are easily achievable and while the savings for herringbones may appear smaller in cows milked per hour, it is easy to save 5 seconds per cow or more.
|Herringbone size||Increase in cows/hour||Rotary size||Increase in cows/hour|
What good looks like and how to improve
|Herringbone||27-30 s/cow||22-25 s/cow||16-18 s/cow|
|Rotary||12-14 s/cow||8-10 s/cow||6-8 s/cow|
To move from average to efficient
- Make sure you are using an efficient cupping technique that reduces muscle fatigue.
- Organise the tasks in the most efficient order to minimise unnecessary body movement:
- Herringbone: completing tasks in batches to allow early head-gate release, implement MaxT to remove waiting for slow cows and the added walking this creates
- Rotary: setting an appropriate rotation time
To move from efficient to maximum
- Implement MaxT milking strategy
- Herringbone: makes the milking routine simpler and more efficient with no slow cows holding up the row
- Rotary: sets a consistent platform speed, increases efficiency as all cows exit at every rotation and typically improves cow behaviour.
- Smart use of automation technology
Technology use in rotary dairies is common, with 77% having ACRs and 70% having automatic teat sprayers. This compares with 21% ACRs and 10% automatic teat spraying in herringbones. Looking at the list of tasks in the herringbone routine, in most cases the technology that will prove the greatest return is an automatic teat sprayer in the exit race. This eliminates a task from the routine and costs considerably less than ACRs which only reduce part of the task of swing the cluster over from one row to the next.
- Reduce cow milking duration
This can be done in a number of ways without compromising milk production, quality, or udder health. Find out more in milking duration.