There’s room to save time in almost all herringbone dairies, the key to improving efficiency is to use a consistent milking routine for all milkers.
Many farmers have managed to make significant savings by adopting a routine that:
- eliminates unnecessary idle (waiting) time from the routine
- minimises distance walked/steps taken by the milker/s
- enables the exit gate to be opened at the earliest opportunity.
Key elements of an efficient milking routine
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.
- Don’t wait for all the cows to row up – start cupping once the first batch of cows is loaded.
- Aim to cup first cow in the row within 30 seconds of her being in position and the adjacent cow being finished.
- Use an efficient cupping technique. Check out the attaching clusters page for more information.
- Work in batches of 5-10 cows, completing all tasks as you go starting at the exit end of the pit.
- Avoid leaving cows to come back to, or waiting for cows to finish milking. Implement a MaxT milking strategy.
- Open the head gate when 50-75% of the cows have had their clusters removed. This gives cows time to start exiting while you finish the rest of the row.
- Move the backing gate little and often to take up the free space in the yard. By moving it little and often you minimise gaps in cow flow.
- Don’t leave the pit unless you really need to.
- Hose under cows with cups on. Hosing as a row is exiting and the next row is loading slows down cow flow by spraying water in cows faces and also risks splashing teats with dirty water prior to milking.
- Ensure meal is fed after the row is loaded.