Do not OVER milk dairy cows

Do not OVER milk dairy cows!
Veterinary Medical Center
August 2007
Dr. Sara M. Barber

Many people think that ALL the milk needs to be removed from the cow’s udder at milking time.  If all the milk is removed, the cow will actually take longer to milk, develop damage to her teat end, and be more likely to develop mastitis! 

How do you know if cows are being overmilked?
1. The teats may be red and sore after the milking unit comes off.
2. Cows may be nervous or kicking near the end of milking.
3. First lactation cows (heifers) may be very nervous.
4. There is no milk flowing in the claw or hose at the end of milking.

How much milk should be left in the cow at the end of milking?
 ½ cup – 1 cup of milk (Total volume of all four quarters) (120-240 mL)

How can overmilking be prevented?
1. Make sure there is a consistent premilking cow preparation routine so the cow lets down her milk.
2. Keep cows relaxed by handling them calming and consistently.
3. Watch the unit take-offs to make sure the milking units are not staying on cows too long.
4. Do not place cows on manual takeoff (vs automatic takeoff) unless absolutely necessary.
5. Be careful about reattaching units so that you do not overmilk the cows.   

Remember, by leaving ½ to 1 cup of milk in the udder, the cows will milk out faster, have healthier teat ends, and decrease their chance to develop mastitis!

Be the first to rate this post