A Fresh Look at Milking Time

Everyday- regardless if it’s a Sunday, holiday or birthday- Dan and Debbie are out milking our cows. By 7 AM they are in the barn, herding cows and prepping the milking parlor. We currently have a swing-sixteen milking parlor, which means it can hold 32 cows at a time (16 on each side of the parlor). Because Debbie works with the cows every day, she can identify each of our cow’s names just by looking at their udders! Cows are creatures of habit and most days the cows will line up in the same order on their way into the milking parlor- without being prompted!

As each cow enters the parlor for her turn to milk we clean off each udder and hook up the milker. After approximately 8-10 minutes, the pulsating vacuum has what we call automatic takeoffs which senses when the cow is done milking. The milker will automatically lose suction of the cow’s udder and we pass through one more time to dip each teat with an iodine solution that helps to ensure the best udder health possible. After nearly two hours of milking the entire herd, we clean up the parlor – scraping manure, hosing down the floors, rising off the equipment and then finally running a complete wash system through the pipes, milkers and various pieces of equipment.

This entire process is done twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. In between that time Debbie is busy checking our expectant mothers group, feeding baby calves and once the work on the farm comes to a stop Debbie makes her way over to the creamery to make ice cream, while Dan usually stays back on the farm to handle fieldwork, trim hooves or handle any other routine maintenance that is needed on the farm. 

With the upcoming new addition of our robotic milkers, the whole milking process will change. Our robotic milkers will be stationed in the main barn with the cows- so we won’t have a ‘milking parlor’ building anymore. Our cows will choose when they want to be milked, and line up outside the robot to be milked. This new style of milking is centered around the ultimate cow comfort. Since the robot is entirely automatic, there will no longer be a need for someone to spend 6+ hours a day milking in the parlor. A cow will be able to be milked any time of day, whether that’s 2 AM or 2 PM or anytime in between. This doesn’t mean we can leave the farm, it just allows greater flexibility for our will allow Dan and Debbie to have more time in the day to focus on cows that need greater care, creating the best nutrition plan for the herd and ensuring that crops get in the ground at the perfect time and out at the best possible time.

  • Posted by Elizabeth Uthoff
  • On August 26, 2019
Tags: dairy, famers, farm, milking, robotic, robotic milkers, work