Dairy cows grazing pasture and milked using automated milking systems (AMS) have lower milking frequencies than indoor fed cows milked using AMS. Therefore, milk recording intervals used for herd testing indoor fed cows may not be suitable for cows on pasture based farms. We hypothesised that accurate standardised 24 h estimates could be determined for AMS herds with milk recording intervals of less than the Gold Standard (48 hs), but that the optimum milk recording interval would depend on the herd average for milking frequency. The Gold Standard protocol was applied on five commercial dairy farms with AMS, between December 2011 and February 2013. From 12 milk recording test periods, involving 2211 cow-test days and 8049 cow milkings, standardised 24 h estimates for milk volume and milk composition were calculated for the Gold Standard protocol and compared with those collected during nine alternative sampling scenarios, including six shorter sampling periods and three in which a fixed number of milk samples per cow were collected. Results infer a 48 h milk recording protocol is unnecessarily long for collecting accurate estimates during milk recording on pasture based AMS farms. Collection of two milk samples only per cow was optimal in terms of high concordance correlation coefficients for milk volume and components and a low proportion of missed cow-test days. Further research is required to determine the effects of diurnal variations in milk composition on standardised 24 h estimates for milk volume and components, before a protocol based on a fixed number of samples could be considered. Based on the results of this study New Zealand have adopted a split protocol for herd testing based on the average milking frequency for the herd (NZ Herd Test Standard 8100:2015).