Before the cows are brought in for milking, the parlour should be prepared for milking. Getting your milking routine right can be good for you, your cows and your dairy business, according to Teagasc.

Hose down the parlour and collecting yard oor and walls because this makes them easier to wash down afterwards. Check availability of teat dip (prepare if necessary), ensure that the meal hoppers, where used, are lled and that the milking plant is rinsed out and ready for milking.When this is completed, bring in the cows from the paddock or house for milking.

Droving of cows from paddock or house to the parlour should take place in a calm, relaxed manner to prevent unnecessary stress on the cows prior to milking. Cows need to be allowed walk at their own pace. Rushing the cows can lead to foot injuries such as solar ulcers and other associated injuries.

The reason for this, according to Teagasc, is that cows should have to wait in the collecting yard for the minimum amount of time before milking. Ideally, the total milking time should take no longer than 1.5 hours. Prolonged waiting in the collecting yard results in cows becoming stressed and dirty before they are milked. It will increase the risk of lameness also.

Row Filling

Fill the rows in a calm and relaxed manner.Where possible, allow the cows to enter the row without leaving the pit as this can stress them unduly. The use of a backing gate in the collecting yard will assist greatly when row filling. At times of the year when no in-parlour feeding is practised a good backing gate properly used, will encourage efficient row filling.

The reason for this, Teagasc says, is that keeping stress to a minimum will ensure that milk let down occurs.

Improve your milking skills and get more from your cows is an information booklet produced by Teagasc in collaboration with FRS and AHI.