Timing is everything during milk production. Research conducted over the past 30 years suggests that stimulation of at least 20 seconds, along with a total prep lag time of 60 seconds, reduces milking unit attachment time and increases milk flow rate, when compared to no stimulation at all.
Further research was conducted by Rick Watters, Hollis Erb, and David Galton, of Cornell University, and Norm Schuring of GEA Farm Technologies. This study presented at the 49th NMC Annual Meeting.
The research study involved 780 cows from a 1,800-cow dairy. Cows were divided into two pens; one pen was for early- to mid-lactation cows, from 17-170 DIM, and the second pen for late-lactation cows, from 177 to 407 DIM. Cows were milked three times daily on a 50-stall rotary parlor.
Research treatments involved forestripping or not forestripping, and milking unit attachment lag times of 0, 45, 60, 90, 120, 180 or 240 seconds. Over a nine-month
span, cows were randomly assigned to one of three of the pre-milking protocols.
Unit on-time differed across treatments and by different stages of lactation, ranging from 259 to 275 seconds (4.3 to 4.6 minutes).
• Cows that were not forestripped and were only given 0 or 45 seconds of lag time before unit attachment had the longest milking time.
• The range in milking unit on-time for early-to mid-lactation and late-lactation cows was from 275 to 291 seconds and 236 to 257 seconds, respectively.
• The percentage of milk harvested during the first two minutes was lowest for lag times of 0 and 45 seconds and highest when lag time exceeded one minute.
Forestripping proved to shorten milking unit attachment on-time, compared to not forestripping at all. Increased lag time also shortened milking unit on-time, with cows
late in lactation showing the greatest benefit.
Based on the study's results, milkers should provide proper stimulation to milking cows, including forestripping and a lag time before unit attachment, of at least 60 seconds.
This will ensure the fastest milk-out and reduce unit onetime, providing efficiency gains in the parlor and reducing the risk of mastitis.