The effect of different cluster take-off levels at udder quarter in combination with feeding during milking on milk production in dairy cows : milk yield, milk composition and milking time

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Animal Nutrition and Management

Abstract: It was early stated that high take-off level at whole udder level decreases the milking time. There are, however, few studies dealing with take-off level at udder quarter level. It has also been stated that feeding of concentrate during milking can be used as a teaser to motivate the cows to visit the milking unit (MU) and to improve the milk ejection. Furthermore, has it been observed that milk yield can be negatively affected by high take-off levels but positively reinforced by feeding during milking. The aim of the present study was to evaluate different take off levels at udder quarter level in combination with or without feeding of concentrate during milking. The study was conducted at The Swedish Livestock Research Centre, Lövsta, Uppsala, Sweden, during November and December 2015. Thirty cows of the Swedish Holstein (n=9) and Swedish Red breeds (n=21) were used. Three different cluster take-off levels (100, 300 or 500g/min) on udder quarter level in combination with (f) or without feeding (nf) of concentrate during milking were tested in a six week long study in a 6x6 Latin Square model. It was found that milk yield was not affected by neither treatment, take-off level nor feeding of concentrate during milking, while milk composition was affected by both take-off level and feeding of concentrate during milking. Lactose and protein content was higher when concentrate was provided, while there was a tendency for lower fat content. The milking time was shorter with higher take-off level and when no concentrate was provided. Protein and lactose content was highest for take-off level 300 g/min, but also lower when no concentrate was provided during milking. Percent of residual milk was highest in treatment 300f while lowest for 100f and 300nf. The present study therefore suggests that a take-off level at 500 g/min in combination with no concentrate during milking is appropriate to ensure a sufficient udder empting and possible improvement of milking efficiency, with a low effect on milk composition and no effect on milk yield.

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