The importance of a consistent and comprehensive milking routine as a critical component of any mastitis control program is well documented. However, as pressure on time increases, farmers are faced with 3 options: (1) adjust the milking routine to suit the time available, (2) undertake the task less thoroughly, or (3) examine which elements of the milking routine can be automated and substitute capital expenditure for labor. A study was undertaken on 5 farms in the United Kingdom in October and November 2007 to assess the effect on milking time of installing a commercial automatic postmilking teat disinfection and cluster back flushing system (ADF). Two of the farms recruited for the study were intending to purchase the ADF system in the near future and 3 farms had already invested in the technology The farms ranged in size from 120 to 550 cows and included three 90 degrees rapid exit parlors, a herringbone parlor, and an abreast parlor. All 5 farms were visited for 2 successive milkings before the ADF was installed or disabled, and a detailed time and motion analysis was undertaken. After ADF was installed or the system reactivated, a further 2 rankings were monitored. All monitored farms showed a measurable reduction in milking time after the ADF system was installed. However, the magnitude of the reduction was greater than would be expected by simply removing the elements of postmilking teat disinfection and cluster sanitization. The benefits of ADF are greater than simply disinfecting teats and back flushing clusters and the time saving obtained may allow a more structured milking routine that may have additional benefits in terms of mastitis prevention and control.
Ohnstad, I., Riekerink, R. G. M. O., Hogewerf, P. H., de Koning, C. J. A. M., & Barkema, H. W. (2012). Short communication: Effect of automatic postmilking teat disinfection and cluster flushing on the milking work routine. Journal of Dairy Science, 95(5), 2567-2570. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2011-4946