Milking routine and milk quality

Technical Articles

The main objective of a milking routine is to milk clean and dry ceilings, using regulated equipment and in proper operation according to technical standards. With the increase and continuous improvement of herds, attention to details may go unnoticed, but it is the daily care that guarantees maximum efficiency in milking, milk with excellent quality and minimized risks to the health and udders of the herd. To assist the producer, we highlight some key points for producing good quality milk and minimizing the risk of mastitis.

Dairy industries are the ones who determine acceptable levels of milk quality, so the milking parlor is a food factory, which requires high standards of hygiene. It is these same patterns that cause the producer to adopt measures that help to minimize the risks of mastitis and other diseases.

Preparation of the ceiling

For the preparation of the ceiling, the idea is to leave it clean and dry before placing the milking set. In cases where cows often arrive dirty to be milked, attention should be paid to the environment to note factors that can be changed and that improve the situation. Udder hair can also be trimmed to help keep the teats clean, as well as the tail broom, which can be trimmed to prevent dirt from spreading.

For the preparation of the ceiling, the use of clean gloves by the milkers is very important, being forbidden to use a common cloth to dry the ceilings of all animals. Pre-dipping has become popular on dairy farms and consists of applying a disinfectant or foam solution, which should be maintained for about 20 to 30 seconds. This time helps to remove dirt and disinfect, which is enough time for the solution to act. The cleaning solution can then be removed and the ceilings dried with a paper towel for every two ceilings. The result is a clean, dry and disinfected ceiling.

During milking

Cows like routine and the milking parlor is an environment where cows should be relaxed, so for best results, there must be a defined routine.

When placing the milking cluster, the milker must have already made sure that the cow does not have clinical mastitis and the roof is already clean and dry. The milking set can now be placed, it is important to check that at the time of placing each liner, no roof has been folded, making sure that it is not milked.

After milking

The milking cluster can be removed when the milk flow stops, then the roof must be submerged in a disinfectant solution to protect the roof, thus minimizing the risk of contamination by any bacteria that may have been transmitted during the milking process. This procedure is called post-dipping.

Even with a good milking routine, even a minimal spread of bacteria takes place. The purpose of post-dipping is to avoid these contaminations and, for that, there are a variety of solutions that can be used. The application normally takes place with a non-returnable immersion cup, spray or automatic applicators.

The other function of post-dipping is to keep the roof skin hydrated and protected. There is also a recommendation that cows remain upright 20 to 30 minutes after milking for the roof channel to close.

In the end, to minimize risks of contamination, cleaning the room and the milking cluster is very important so that everything is disinfected and sterile for the next milking.

Management of cows with clinical mastitis

Correct milking management is an important factor in preventing clinical mastitis, and it is a general rule that low-risk cows should be milked first. For the management to be carried out correctly, it is advised to be followed as follows: newborn, high production, low production, high somatic cell count and, finally, animals being treated. Treatment cows must be milked last for several reasons; reduce the risk of cross-contamination and antibiotic residues entering the milk tank, and allowing the milker more time to carry out treatments.

The additional time spent with the systematic performance of these procedures will be rewarded with a lower incidence of mastitis, less bacterial contamination and greater milk production, greater satisfaction for the milker and greater comfort for the cow.

Source: Revista Leite Integral.