Some ways to keep your parlor in tip-top shape
Think about the environment of the parlor itself. Is your parlor a place cows want to go? Is it clean? Is it calm and inviting? Things to consider in your parlor include cleanliness, noise levels, and light. A clean parlor will help manage environmental pathogens and help keep cows and milkers healthy. A quiet, calm parlor will help stimulate milk letdown and reduce potential teat damage of milking machines pumping when little milk is coming out. Loud music or milkers yelling may cause adrenaline release in the cows, which prohibits milk letdown. Lighting in a parlor is often overlooked, but shouldn’t be underestimated. A well-lit parlor benefits the cows, as they like to clearly see where they are going and what’s going on. It also benefits employees, as they are able to see the udder well and ensure its cleanliness. Good lighting can also aid in the visual examination of milk when stripping the udder during prep.
* The teat skin surface requires 10-20 seconds of stimulation for optimum milk letdown
* Teat dip should be on the teats for 30 seconds to effectively kill bacteria on the teat surface
* Prep-lag time, or the time it takes from initial stimulation to attachment of the milking machine should be 60-120 seconds
Preparation of cows in a timely manner that allows for proper stimulation and contact time is crucial to a well-run parlor. It also has a direct impact on parlor throughput, which is especially important in herds that run the parlor nearly 24 hours a day.
The environment and management of your parlor play critical roles in ensuring it is efficient, productive, and in the end, profitable.