A review of: Measuring stimulation’s effect with milk flow curves

A Lactocorder® is a monitoring and diagnostic tool useful in evaluating milking procedures, milking equipment and visualizing herd problems The device measures continuous milk flow during milking Lactocorders® have been used in Europe for over 10 years, primarily for official milk testing

A review of a paper Presented at the 2003 National Mastitis Council Meeting
by J. A. Wallace, Y. H. Schukken and F. Welcome

Milking procedures must balance the need for parlor throughput with the proper prep and attachment procedures compatible with the cow’s normal physiology that promote good udder health. These issues can sometimes be at odds with one another. A paper by J.A. Wallace et al. described how milking time key parameters can be measured and what the measurements mean.

Using a device called a Lactocorder®; accurate monitoring of flow rates from individual cows throughout milking can be monitored. It has been used on commercial dairies to determine if there are concerns or problems with prep routines and flow rates. It can also be used to monitor flow rates from cows assigned to different milking preparation routines to determine if the routines produce different outcomes for flow rate profiles, peak flows etc.

On commercial dairies where the interval between teat prep and unit attachment is too short it is common to see bimodal let down profiles. Initially the cistern milk is removed and a certain flow rate is seen. It then tapers off significantly for a period before increasing again as full letdown finally occurs and alveolar milk is released by the oxytocin effect. During this low flow period there may be increased liner slips and squawks and potential unit falloffs, all of which are negative. It also may produce teat end irritation as the liner collapses on the near empty teat for a period of time before full flow resumes.

Good prep routines should stimulate rapid milk letdown and maximum peak milk flows. Based on a controlled study comparing short prep routines (units attached less than 60 seconds after teat stimulation) with a normal routine (units attached 90 seconds after teat stimulation) they found this to be the case. Fast milkout is beneficial as long as end of milking flow rate threshold settings for detachment are high enough to permit prompt unit removal. If not, then prolonged unit on time with very low milk flow rates can lead to additional teat end irritation.

The Lactocorder enables a trained user to objectively monitor milk flow-rate profiles on a representative number of cows and evaluate what is happening. Ideally, once units are attached there should be few bi-modal flow patterns, peak flow would be reached quickly and units would be promptly removed when the low flow-rate setting was reached. Doing so improves udder health, teat-end condition and parlor throughput.

Related Links:

The National Mastitis Council


Winston Ingalls

Winston Ingalls
17 articles



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