Can you milk with both hands while in the parlour?

Good practice in the parlour is as much to do with maintaining good operator posture as it has to do with the production of high-quality milk, according to Teagasc’s Padraig O’Connor.

“Regularly switching hands when it comes to holding the clusters prevents the development of repetitive strain injury in the shoulder area.

“A modern cluster weighs between 2kg and 3kg. And, if it’s a case of holding the cluster in either the right or left hand on all occasions, then health problems will arise over a number of years.

Good posture while in the parlour is just so important.

O’Connor made these comments while discussing the relevance of the current ‘Best Practice in Milking’ courses that are currently taking place around the country.

“Approximately 700 operators have completed the courses since their inception,” he said.

The courses are jointly organised by Teagasc and Farm Relief Services (FRS). Each is two days in length and addresses a number of core milking practice-related issues.

These include: preparation for milking; the milking routine; cluster attachment; milk quality; mastitis prevention; dry cow therapy and washing up.

O’Connor cited over-milking as a key challenge for Irish dairy farmers, particularly at the spring and autumn shoulders of the dairy season.

“I recognise the role that automatic cluster removers can play in this context. Modern milking parlours with sophisticated milk meters need to be hot-washed more regularly than would have been the case when jars were the norm.”

The ‘Best Practice in Milking’ course was developed in conjunction with Teagasc, FRS and Animal Health Ireland. It is certified at QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) level 6. The tutors for the course are specifically trained and are experts in the area of milking best practice. Courses are currently available in the Roscrea (Co. Tipperary) area.

“But they are being rolled out on a countrywide basis,” said O’Connor.

“The fee is €250 per person. This is net of a €250 subsidy that is paid by the Department of Agriculture.”

For further information, contact Padraig O’Connor on: 087-9389305 or Patrick Reilly at FRS on: 086-4634155.