The longer you wait, the more you lose! PDF Print E-mail
El Lechero Dairy Basics - Management
Written by Tom Wall   
Thursday, 09 December 2010 09:35

Milking nearly 1,100 cows in a Double-20 Herringbone parlor in Stangelville, Wisconsin, the milking team at Deer Run Dairy was able to reduce the milking time by 45 minutes each shift by making a few important changes to their milking routine. At Deer Run Dairy, two milkers prep twenty cows on each side, dividing them into four territories of five cows. Each milker is responsible for a total of ten cows on each side.

el_english_badgeInitially, the milkers divided the parlor into two halves, the front and the back. The front milker prepped the first ten cows in the front of the parlor, and the back milker prepped the other ten cows in the back of the parlor.

Originally both milkers loaded almost all twenty cows into the parlor before either of them started prepping their territories. Unfortunately, every time the milkers loaded the parlor this way, the cows learned to wait for the milkers to move them in. Over time, the cows got used to this extra assistance and didn’t want to walk into the parlor on their own.

One of the first changes we made was to reassign the four territories of cows. As you can see (click here to download a pdf featuring parlor stats on Deer Run Dairy) in the new routine, the first milker preps the cows in the first territory and third territory on each side of the parlor. The second milker preps the cows in the second territory and the fourth territory.

So why was it important that the milkers divide the territories differently? In the original routine, the second milker didn’t get started prepping his first five cows until there were 10-15 cows in place. But now the second milker starts prepping his first five cows as soon as there are 6-8 cows in place.

Instead of just one of the milkers prepping, both of them start prepping their territories as soon as possible. This simple change has saved the milkers approximately 50 seconds on each side of cows… that’s 45 minutes over the course of the entire shift! (1100 cows / 20 cows per side = 55 sides of cows every milking…. 50 seconds x 55 sides= 45 minutes)

And since the second milker has to start prepping the sixth cow right away, he’s no longer able to stay in the back of the parlor to help bring cows in. Now, both milkers rely on the crowd gate and have also taught the majority of cows to walk into the parlor on their own.

With this new milking routine, both milkers can focus on getting started with their first territories while the cows walk into the parlor by themselves.  EL

Tom Wall

Tom Wall
President of Dairy Interactive, LLC
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