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Milk Quality is Never an Accident...
Dairy Pipeline: October 2006
Extension Agent, Augusta County
(540) 245-5750; firstname.lastname@example.org
Milk quality is never an accident...it takes careful planning and implementation.
Low cell count herds have protocols and procedures
that address dry cow management, cow
handling, facilities, milking procedures and udder
preparation. Although some of the particulars
vary, the basics are the same. Having procedures
in place that would result in milking
clean, dry, well stimulated teats is a key. There
is no magic bullet to accomplish this, but here
are some suggestions.
- Keep the cows’ environment clean. Stall
beds, bedded packs, loafing lots, pastures,
and cow alleys must be managed to
minimize the contamination of teats and
- Bring clean, calm cows into the parlor.
Clean cows will have fewer bacteria on
their teat ends to be removed during udder
preparation. Calm cows achieve better
primary oxytocin letdown and milk out
quicker, more completely, with less liner
- Clip or singe udders on a regular basis.
- Have consistent udder preparation protocols
in place that include:
- Applying an effective pre-dip
- Allowing pre-dip to remain on the
teats for 20-30 seconds
- Maintaining physical contact with
teats (cleaning, fore-stripping) for
- Thoroughly drying teats before
- Having units attached approximately
90 seconds after teats are first
touched during the udder preparation
- Adjusting milking system so that
units are removed at the completion
of milking to avoid over-milking
- Maintain milking equipment properly. Pay
close attention to the condition of inflations
and rubber hoses and change at recommended
- Provide fresh feed after milking to keep
cows on their feet to allow post-dip to dry
and teat ends to close.
- Have a well communicated and thought-out
“game plan” for problem cows and dry off
and take extra precautions to insure that
teats are cleaned thoroughly to avoid introducing
bacteria into the udder when treating
for mastitis or during dry cow treatment.
Virginia Cooperative Extension