Animal Health & Welfare
- Dairy cow welfare strategy
- Dairy cow welfare strategy 2014 review and update
- Biosecurity and diseases
- Cow Culling
- Pathogens - The cause of mastitis
- Symptoms of Mastitis
- Working Arena - prevention of infection
- Welfare assessment
- Breeding & Genetics
- Business Management
- Grassland Management
- People Management
- Planning for Profit
Modern parlours can be highly computerised and technically complex, with a large degree of automated functions. New technological developments can be of great use in improving parlour throughput, aiding management by computerised recording systems and by automating some routine processes to ensure more hygienic and efficient milk production.
The milking machine is obviously an essential part of dairy production - the only part of the farm's equipment to come into everyday contact with the cow - and thus also a means by which mastitis infections can be spread, and it plays an important role in good teat health, maintaining a good defence against pathogens. Like most other equipment on the farm, it requires routine servicing and maintenance to function correctly and reliably. With increasing complexity there may be increased potential for malfunctions and inconvenient breakdowns to occur if servicing and maintenance schedules are not followed.
Where parlour equipment is not looked after properly or misused the probability of it failing increases, and the inherent aspects of the milking process, such as maintaining correct vacuum and pulsation levels, when not maintained within manufacturers' specifications may contribute greatly to mastitis levels within the herd. Short term malfunctions may affect milking speed and cause relatively-minor problems, but in the longer-term irreversible damage to teats can occur through incorrect vacuum levels, poor pulsation characteristics or overmilking from badly-adjusted Automatic Cluster Removers.