Helping dairy farms increase milking efficiencies and improve the milking experience for cows

Employee milker training programs standardize processes used on many farms.

Dairy farms

Employee milker training programs standardize processes used on many farms. These trainings teach employees how to milk and the importance of using a standardized procedure to ensure the cows being milked respond with prompt milk letdown and that milking machine on-time is managed.

Michigan State University Extension educators and MSU faculty assessed milking procedures, both planned and practiced, on 26 dairy herds representing over 19,000 cows in Michigan as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant project to improve milk quality and reduce antibiotic use. Data recorders used to measure vacuum level during milking scored milking protocols.

Results from the tests noted that often units are being attached too early and left on too long. These findings were used to create educational programming to help dairy farms increase milk production and decrease udder infections. 

  • Farms reached through this educational program represented more than 21,000 cows, and outreach to agribusiness professionals reached up to 2,500 farms.
  • 68 individuals attended the educational program either in person or virtually. Of the attendees, 52 responded to an on-site evaluation.
  • 82% of owners and managers replied that they intend to make changes as a result of what they learned at the program.

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