There’s room to save time in almost all rotary dairies. The key to milking efficiency in a rotary is to maximise the time that clusters are harvesting milk. To achieve this, it is important to keep the cows loading and the platform rotating at a speed where the majority (80%) of cows have finished milking near the exit.
Many farmers have managed to make significant savings by adopting a routine that:
- minimises missed bales and free-riders
- ensures cows are cupped efficiently as soon as they are loaded
- operates using appropriate rotation speeds.
Key elements of an efficient milking routine
- Use an efficient cupping method to suit you and your clusters.
- Cup standing as close to the bridge as possible to maximise the time the cluster is on the cow before the exit, and to help control cow flow.
- Don’t stop or back the platform up to fill empty bails, keep the platform moving unless there is a risk of a cow or human getting hurt.
- Set an appropriate platform speed, go as fast as the milker can comfortably cup.
- End milking earlier by implementing a MaxT milking strategy.
- Move the backing gate little and often to take up the free space in the yard and minimise gaps in cow flow.
- Do not leave the cupping area to enter the yard unless you really need to.
- Use exit signals to minimise the number of cows that stay on the platform after they have finished milking - train cows at the start of the season to leave the platform.
Check out this animation comparing a strategy where the number of go-around cows is minimised by slowing the platform speed with one where 20% of cows go-around, and one where the clusters are removed from these cows as a more efficient strategy of preventing go-around cows.