Once-daily milking offers the opportunity for a quantum change in the operation of the dairy farm. In particular, once-daily milking provides the major opportunity to reduce costs and increase labour productivity. New Zealand cows (particularly Jerseys) already possess an advantage in favour of once daily milking - that they produce a relatively concentrated milk and therefore have the capacity to accumulate >24 hours-worth of milk production. Nevertheless, short-term trials indicate an average production loss of 21% for once-daily relative to twice-daily milking. Full-lactation trials suggest greater losses of 35-50%, although the productivity of commercial farms milking once-daily throughout lactation is consistent with much smaller losses. There is evidence that cows can adapt to longer milking intervals and this coupled with increased herd size and care to maximise milk removal may restrict yield losses on the farm to less than 10%. Apart from the production loss, other negative consequences of once-daily milking include changes in milk composition, a reduction in milk processing quality and increased somatic cell count. Further, it is not known to what degree, if any, cow comfort is compromised by once-daily milking. If it becomes possible to identify more tolerant breeds or individuals, it may be feasible to reduce milk yield losses still further and ameliorate the changes in milk composition.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 58, , 36-40, 1998
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