Better organization = healthier cows and faster milkings PDF Print E-mail
El Lechero Dairy Basics - Management
Written by Tom Wall   
Thursday, 10 February 2011 10:49

0111el_wallLike most dairies across the country, Park Avenue Dairy faces the same daily challenges of keeping cows healthy and producing quality milk at the lowest costs possible.

Park Avenue Dairy, located near Merrill, Wisconsin, is a multi-generational dairy owned and operated by the Gaeu family with the help of 11 full-time employees.

Click here and here to download pdfs of more information on Park Avenue Dairy.

When we first started doing training sessions with the milking team, the dairy faced a couple of areas that needed improvement. The two areas that needed to change were parlor efficiency and mastitis treatment.

el_english_badgeIn order to improve the time it took to milk 430 cows three times a day, we focused on the general productivity of both the milkers and the cow movers. By making sure the parlor never ran out of cows and that everyone followed the same milking routine, Park Avenue’s milking team saved over 45 minutes each shift.

Besides getting cows back to their stalls and feed sooner every milking, an extra benefit of being more productive was that the milking team has more time to focus on keeping all of their tools clean. Now, the milking units and buckets are cleaner than ever before.

0111el_wallThe other area that the milking team needed to improve was the records of cows that were being treated for mastitis. Although most of the milkers knew how to properly treat cows that needed to be treated, a lot of cows were not treated when they were supposed to be.

As a result, many cows were treated for longer than necessary. We created a parlor board that allowed milkers to write down which cows were sick and also track each cow’s mastitis treatment.

Click the image at right to dowload and view the full pdf.

Not only did the milking team use this board to help communicate about sick cows sooner; they also helped get them cured faster so they could be milked back into the tank sooner.

Focusing on this one detail helped the dairy reduce the time that they dump milk of treated cows by nearly 50 percent. With better organization and communication, Park Avenue Dairy’s mastitis losses are much lower now.

So how did this dairy’s team remain focused and committed to improving their parlor’s performance?

The answer to that question lies in the word ‘performance’. Every day, dairy manager Michelle Gaeu checks the work that each person does (and doesn’t do) and gives her employees frequent feedback.

0111el_wall2She implemented a formal evaluation program that recognizes and rewards each employee’s individual performance.

During these evaluations, Michelle tells employees what they’re doing well and what they need to improve on.

Click the image at left to download and view the full pdf.

The employees that consistently do their jobs well are rewarded with a good raise, while the workers who still have a lot of things to improve receive a smaller raise.

This evaluation system recognizes each person’s contribution and has reinforced the importance of each person’s performance and attention to detail. Michelle’s goal is to get her team to perform their jobs correctly and consistently in order to earn more money as a result.

So what’s your goal? How can you improve your communication and performance so both you and your dairy can be more successful?  EL

Tom Wall

Tom Wall
President of Dairy Interactive, LLC
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