A small change in milking systems has brought big benefits to both cow health and milk quality on a busy, intensive Dairy Best Practice Testimonials G Barlow A
autumn-calving farm in the Waikato.
 
Graham and Rebecca Barlow milk 350 autumn-calving Jersey cows on 67 ha with the help of two staff at Gordonton. Graham is a member
of the Fonterra Shareholders Council.

Total milksolids production for 2012/13 was 160,000 kg, harvested through a 40 aside herringbone. Each milking takes two hours for two people.

While good hygiene, teat condition and milk quality have always been priorities, and previous somatic cell counts were very close to
industry averages at 190,000 to 200,000, the Barlows brought in PureMilk consultant and vet Adrian Joe last year to help fine tune the milking process further.

Results have been very positive: "Teat damage has drastically reduced, and our SCC last year was down to 130,000 to 180,000."

Changes included moving to manual teat spraying instead of using the existing walkover system, introducing new milking liners for the cups and changing these every six months instead of once a year.

Graham says one of the most immediate differences with VacPlus Square liners meant the milking plant vaccum could be lowered from 36 kva, which was required for their previous standard liners, to 32 kva.

Changing the liners every six months, meantime, ensures they remain in optimal condition and are removed before they exceed their lifespan of 2500 milkings.