Should we be Investing More in Parlours and Labour?26 October 2012
UK - Recent results from the National Mastitis Survey suggest that as herd size has increased, there has not been a corresponding increase in parlour capacity or labour, reports Charlotte Johnston, TheCattleSite editor.
Presenting the results of the recent survey at the British Mastitis Conference, Andrew Biggs from the Vale Veterinary Practice, said inadequate parlour capacity and labour can have a significant effect on intramammary infections through longer milking times and increased standing times.
Excessive milking time results in longer standing time. This can have a negative effect on cow health and productivity by limiting dry matter intake or increasing lameness.
More cows looking after per member of staff is also associated with higher bulk milk somatic cell counts (BMSCC).
The data collected from over 1600 respondents, shows that herds with higher BMSCC tended to have higher cases of clinical mastitis.
With this in mind, Mr Biggs asked at what point is it justified to increase the number of operatives in the parlour?
He argued that increasing staff in the parlour would improve cow welfare as well as that of the operatives.
The results of the survey suggest that as herds expand, the parlours in which they are milked often to not. As the litres of milk harvested per milking unit increases cow and operative welfare may deteriorate.