Fancy milking your herd 13 times per week? Well, a study completed by Teagasc has revealed no losses in either milk or milk solids when a herd was milked 14 times per week compared to a herd milked 13 times per week – in late lactation.

Late lactation being considered from early October to the middle of December – according to Teagasc.

Milking 13 times per week involves cutting a milking out from your weekly milking routine; such as the Sunday evening milking for example.

Where losses were found, it says, was when a herd moved from being milked twice-a-day (TAD) – 14 times per week – to being milked once-a-day (OAD).

When moving from TAD to OAD – in late lactation – it found a 29% reduction in milk production or a 23% reduction in milk solid (MS) production – an overall reduction of 25kg of MS.

Although, as seen in the table below, liveweight gain was greater in those on OAD than those on TAD; causing a slight improvement in body condition score (BCS) – indicating the benefits of OAD milking on poor BCS cows.

Image source: Teagasc

The act of cutting a milking out of the week is commonly completed on farms in New Zealand – to reduce the requirement for labour on weekends.

In New Zealand, they have found that moving to 13 milkings per week has actually improved the condition of their cows and they have also saved on electricity costs.

Milking 13 times per week has been tried and tested on many farms; so, farmers should take this opportunity to cut a milking out of their milking routine.

Usually, the Sunday evening is omitted. In this case, the milking commonly takes place later on Saturday evening, late morning or midday on the Sunday and earlier on the Monday.