Improved flexibility, increased staff satisfaction and content animals are just some of the benefits farmers have identified when adopting flexible milking strategies. Could flexible milking benefit your farm?
Is it right for me?
Reasons for implementing 3-in-2 milking on your farm will be specific to your circumstances. Understanding your goals and assessing whether flexible milking will help you achieve them is key to the successful adoption of this strategy.
Interviews with farmers using flexible milking approaches identified these key reasons for adopting 3-in-2 milking:
Key reasons for adopting 3-in-2
|Staff attraction and retention||Body condition||Flexibility|
|Better work hours||Lameness||Family time|
|More flexibility||Cow health||Wellbeing|
How do I choose which interval to use?
3-in-2 is short for 3 milkings in 2 days and is the most common form of flexible milking. It results in 25 percent fewer milkings than TAD. Originating as 16-hour milking, this concept has morphed into a range of different intervals to make it more attractive for staff, without impacting negatively on the cows.
Milking times are not rigid and can be moved to suit people and cows depending on individual goals or the time of the season. Work with your team to identify the best milking times to implement that plan. For example, finishing the day by 5pm, or avoiding walking cows during hot parts of the day.
The table in Figure 1 compares three different 3-in-2 milking schedules to traditional TAD. The red circles highlight that by using different intervals within 3-in-2, you can structure your milkings to fit around your desired schedule.
Depending on the time of the year, once the hours between milkings are longer than 16 hours there may be a trade-off with milk production.