Take clusters off cows without adding to strain

Break, wait, twist and drop are the key steps in taking clusters off cows.

It is crucial that clusters are not pulled off under vacuum because this creates air impacts that contribute to teat-end damage, and can drive potentially bug-laden milk up the teat canal, leading to new cases of mastitis.

You may have clusters that are hard to remove, or are not releasing correctly, or equipment is not working properly. If so make sure that buttons on the claws are working perfectly. Check air admission holes regularly.

Don’t just think about cow health: consider your own health too. Too many milkers suffer repetitive strain injuries (RSI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome, from years of putting on and taking off clusters incorrectly.

Have you ever stopped to think how many times in your milking career you will put clusters on cows? And how many times you’ll take them off? If you’re milking 90 cows twice a day, with an average lactation length of 280 days, you’ll put them on over 50,000 times a year.

Over a lifetime of milking that repetitive action adds up.

* Break: use the button on the claw bowl, or kink the long milk tube to break the vacuum.

* Wait for one or two seconds.

* Twist: gently twist the cluster (by 30 to 60 degrees), this helps to make sure that all four liners release at the same time.

* Drop: clusters should drop freely off.


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