All of you will be undertaking a static test on your parlour at least once a year. This is a vital job, undertaken between milkings, as it will pick up mechanical faults in the system and perishable parts will be replaced. This is akin to a service or MOT on a car.
Another type of assessment called a “dynamic” test can be undertaken on the milking machine whilst the cows are actually being milked to assess how the machine is actually performing and interacting with the cows. It measures some of the same parameters as a static test, such as vacuum, but under milking conditions. Using the car analogy it would be more like going for a test drive with a mechanic where different things will be picked up than during a simple MOT.
As some of you may be aware, certain milk buyers are now requesting a dynamic parlour test to be carried out once a year in addition to the static test.
We are now offering a Dynamic Parlour Testing service, which will be carried out by Sarah Wilton our Dairy Hygiene Specialist, using the latest technology in testing equipment and the results assessed in conjunction with vets Rachel Hayton and Tom Clarke who have a special interest in mastitis.
As well as the actual dynamic machine test a number of other important interactions in the parlour are recorded during a milking observation, including teat end scoring, assessment of pre and post dipping/spraying, cluster alignment and the work flow of the milking routine. There are several key areas a dynamic test can evaluate that a static test cannot measure:
Pre milking teat preparation – poor udder stimulation and delayed milk let down are highlighted by vacuum readings from different points in the cluster.
Over milking – commonly a cause of teat end damage and caused by a number of reasons including incorrect ACR takeoff settings.
Liner slippage – picked up on read outs from the testing equipment and can point to cluster alignment, vacuum or liner design issues.
The vacuum applied at the level of the teat end – assesses if vacuum is set too high/low
If you are having mastitis or high SCC issues, a dynamic assessment can help detect problems in the parlour and milking routine and should be undertaken as part of a mastitis control plan. A report will be produced from the visit and Sarah and one of the mastitis advisors will come back and discuss the points highlighted from the visit. They will make practical suggestions to help reduce the risk of mastitis from the parlour. If you are interested in more information please phone Sarah Wilton on: 07795 574088.
Rachel Hayton & Tom Clarke