Develop and Maintain
Proper Pre-Milking Routines
Dr. Clell V. Bagley, D.V.M.
USU Extension Veterinarian
Every dairy needs to optimize pre-milking cow prep in order to meet quality standards and to maximize productivity and efficiency. While there are basic scientific principles that govern what is acceptable cow prep procedure, every farm is different. Therefore, there is no single cow prep procedure that fits all dairy farms. Review of the following list of factors may be helpful in determining what is best for your dairy. The ideal pre-milking cow prep routine should:
How do you ensure that the best pre-milking routine is being conducted on a consistent basis on your farm?
- Minimize water use
- Focus attention on teat surfaces
- Use a sanitizer (i.e., prep-dip)
- Assure complete pre-dip coverage of teat surfaces
- Allow pre-dip 30 seconds contact time
- Provide a minimum let down stimulus (teat massage, fore-stripping, teat drying) of 10-20 seconds.
- Provide a prep-lag time of 45-90 seconds
- Remove all dirt from teat surfaces
- Minimize machine-on time
- Minimize variation between milkers
- Not slow down milking
(NMC/PDPW Milk Quality Conference Proceedings, pg 33 (April, 2001)
- Do a complete analysis of your present milking routine.
- Design a practical milking routine with due consideration of your facility, milking equipment and milking personnel.
- Develop a written milking routine protocol for use as a job description and for training new employees.
- Have regular milker meetings to train milkers, boost morale and engage in problem solving. Use available training aids.
- Establish specific standards of performance (e.g., 100,000 SCC, or less than 5,000 standard plate count) and keep milkers informed of how they are doing by charting performance measures of milk quality and mastitis. Praise milkers when they are doing a good job and challenge them to be continuously looking for ways for improvement.