Home > News > Milking Order Impacts Milk Production

Does the order in which cows are milked really matter? Some researchers in Australia say yes. They investigated 1,200 grazing dairy cattle and found that cows milked first produced 11 more pounds of milk than those milked last. The cows at the end of the milking order were off pasture for 8 to 9 hours daily, contributing to the lower production. When they return, 40% of the pasture dry matter is gone. Researchers say the same logic can be applied to free-stall barns and total mixed ration.

To minimize potential lost production, the researchers recommended limiting the herd to about 60% pasture as cows return from milking and opening the remaining 40% when all cows are back. Delivering fresh feed when the herd is together can also encourage the first and last cows to eat more. Smaller milking groups can also limit the time spent waiting to be milked.

Read more on the production benefits of a defined milking order here.


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