Teat disinfection is a key element when milking, according to Teagasc, which recently issued a guide for dairy famers on how to milk better.

When a batch of 4-6 units has been removed, teat spray or dip the batch of cows in the same sequence. Ensure that at least 15 or 10 mls of the spray or dip respectively are applied evenly to the teats of each cow after milking. Ideally this should be done as soon as possible after cluster removal and the goal is to cover the entire teat from tip to top.

According to Teagasc, aiming to get complete coverage of the teat will kill the maximum number of bacteria, and use a disinfectant containing an emollient to improve teat condition.

Teagasc goes on to say that another key element of the milking process is row exit. In larger parlours, the milker may open the row exit gate while removing clusters and teat spraying/dipping the last couple of cows in the row. This will also ensure that smooth entry into and out of the milking parlour takes place and minimises the filling delays that can occur between rows.

Maximising the use of natural light will facilitate improved cow flow through the parlour.Where the jetter cups are positioned on one side of the milking pit, always ensure that the last row is milked on the opposite side. This protects the milker from possible injury by the cows when attaching the clusters to the jetter cups when the plant is being prepared for washing up.

Parlour Hose Down

Parlour hose down should take place after the last row of cows has left the parlour and plant sterilisation has commenced.vThe reason for this, Teagasc says is that a prompt washdown will ensure that faecal contamination of the milking premises is minimised. This minimises the risk of contamination of the milk produced.

Improve your milking skills and get more from your cows, is an information booklet produced by Teagasc in collaboration with FRS and AHI is available from Teagasc.