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A Farm Survey of Milking Machine Performance, Milking Management and California Mastitis Test Results

Authors: R. Fell and R.J. Richards


Milking machine performance and milking technique were measured on thirteen similar farms employing a standard hygiene procedure. A multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between these measurements and the average results of three California Mastitis Tests (CMT) on individual quarter milk samples. Overmilking time and milk flow time per cow and also poor vacuum regulator performance were positively correlated with CMT score, but overmilking time made a relatively small contribution to the multiple regression. Mean milking vacuum level was negatively correlated while two types of vacuum fluctuation measured with a low-speed recorder were unrelated to CMT score. Results were inconclusive for reserve air and pulsator balance. This set of environmental factors made a highly significant contribution (p<0.01) to the variation in CMT scores. The significance of these results to the aetiology of mastitis is discussed with particular reference to the hypothesis that milking machine characteristics which reduce the rate of milking may be those which contribute to udder irritation or mastitis.

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