The tell-tale squeaking during milking, normally liner slip, is not just downright annoying but moreover it is not good for your cows.
Along with being very uncomfortable for the cows, slippage can also be a significant factor in the spread of mastitis during milking. Most operators are probably already doing something to combat it, plus kick-offs and reattachments, given they all contribute to teat end damage and
increased mastitis infections. But it is well-worthwhile giving attention to the role cluster attachment plays in the milking routine. The aim is to align clusters consistently and reliably as relaxed, comfortable cows are more likely to milk out fully.
How liner slips and kick-offs spread mastitis
Liner slip occurs when the liner loses contact with the teat skin, allowing for entry of air into the milking system. The resulting sudden drop in vacuum facilitates reverse flow of milk which itself increases the risk of mastitis.
Causes of liner slip include heavy cluster weight and/or poor distribution of that weight. Slips occur with greater frequency near the end of milking posing two risks. Firstly, there is little resistance at the teat end because the canal is at its most open. Secondly, if bacteria penetrate because there is very little milk left to flush through the teat canal, it is more likely that the bacteria will remain in the udder until the next milking. This will allow time for multiplication and possible development of infection.
A cow kicking a milking cluster once could mean a one-off moment of irritation, but if the same cow continues to do it every milking, discomfort is likely to be the reason. Cluster positioning can be uneven when heavy milk and vacuum pipes are unsupported. These can pull the claw backward, so taking weight off front teats and adding disproportionate weight to back quarters. It also means the claw is not hanging level and the teat-cups not hanging vertically. If a cow is going to experience discomfort during milking, she will not let down readily and this can lead to incomplete milking out.
Infection aside, re-attaching kick-offs and slips adds time, labour and annoyance for milkers.
All in all, improving cow comfort and milking performance increases profits for a dairy farm.
Lactalign was designed to provide a simple way to provide effective comfortable front-rear cluster alignment for the cow while reducing labour for operators and giving a consistent routine across the milking team.
Lactalign can help ensure your clusters are working at the optimum and make both cows and milkers calmer and more relaxed!
Details of the reduction that Lactalign has brought to liner slip, reattachments, and kick-offs can be found using the link below.