The results are now in - and they are very good! Lactalign brings significant benefits when used in a parallel/rapid exit parlour. An independent study has shown that Lactalign substantially reduces liner slippage, kick-offs and reattachments.
In November last year, we fitted Lactalign in a rapid exit parlour. As part of that, we asked a leading milking expert to carry one pre-installation and two post-installation visits to assess the difference Lactalign made over six months.
The assessment shows that Lactalign has brought a:
57.4% Reduction in liner slippage
56% Reduction in the number of kick-offs
42% Reduction in reattachments
The overall conclusion was that Lactalign is a simple and robust device for smoother, more efficient milking.
While visual observations did not detect a measurable difference in cow behaviour, the study states that the reduction in both kick-offs and re-attachments would strongly indicate there is an improvement in milking comfort.
We are delighted at the results of the study that was carried out at Pilsdon Dairy Farm. The units are installed on a BouMatic Rapid Exit Parlour used to milk a herd of 800 cows three times a day.
The owner of the NMR Gold Cup Winning herd, Simon Bugler, is very confident with the improvements Lactalign is bringing to the herd's welfare, milking operations and the milking team. He says:
“All in all the positioning is so much better that I can only imagine in time that the teat ends will improve and the mastitis cases drop. Everyone is using them, which is good. They realise the value and I’m not having to remind anyone. The reduction in liner slip was immediately obvious within the first milking.”
Challenges of Milking Cluster Positioning in a Rapid Exit Parlour
There is widespread consensus that even milking can only be achieved when a milking cluster is presented squarely under the cow with equal weight distribution on all quarters. This can be difficult to achieve in many commercial milking systems.
An even cluster position can be particularly problematic on parlour configurations where the cow is presented at 90° to the kerb, as is the case in rapid exit parlours.
Ensuring the length of long milk and pulse tubes are correct, fully extending the ACR cord and taking time to present the milking cluster without twisting can all be help. Irrespective of these factors, achieving satisfactory cluster position can still prove challenging.
In the video below I demonstrate how Lactalign balances the weight of a cluster on a cow. You can see the uneven weight distribution across the four teats when you don't support the milking pipes, and then how you can easily even it up by using Lactalign. I do the same test for a taller cow so you can see Lactalign can have the same effect whatever the udder size.
Evaluation at Pilsdon Dairy
Poor cluster presentation and excessive liner slippage had been on-going issues on the 40/40 Boumatic Rapid Exit parlour installed at Pilsdon Dairy Farm, in Dorset. To solve this, the Lactalign cluster support devices were installed in late October 2022.
Three evaluations were carried out to assess the impact of the Lactalign cluster support, the initial assessment was undertaken early October 2022 prior to installation of Lactalign. A further two assessment visits were carried out in March and April of this year. The impact Lactalign has in a Rapid Exit parlour on mastitis requires a longer period of evaluation. Plus, for a herd with a relatively low incidence of clinical mastitis, it was not possible to demonstrate any significant change in either total cases of mastitis or index cases of a lactation origin.
The independent study was carried out by Ian Ohnstad an internationally recognised specialist in milking technology who works with dairy farm clients across the globe.
Ian says “The Lactalign devices have produced a measurable reduction in liner slippage, kick-offs and manual re-attachments. All of these factors will lead to smoother, more efficient milking.
The robustness and simplicity of the device is attractive with no reported breakages or failures during the evaluation. On-going maintenance and service costs appear to be minimal.
The farm owner and milking staff all commented how much milking has improved with less slippage and unit kick offs. Initial concern at how easily the devices would be adopted by milking staff has proven un-founded.”
Details of Ian's earlier study on the impact of Lactalign in a rotary parlour can be found here.
Retrofit Lactalign to Boost Milking Efficiencies And Maximise Margin
Independent verification is important to us as we want to know if Lactalign is doing the best possible job it can to help improve dairy farmers performance and profitability. It is therefore great to get further confirmation that the device brings significant benefits to dairy operations and cow welfare.
Lactalign supports are now fitted to Rotary, Rapid Exit and Herringbone parlours. To find out more and discuss your parlour's needs, get in touch.