Care with milk teat spraying urged

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Since con­cern about milk qual­ity has be­come a top­i­cal sub­ject, ev­ery facet of milk har­vest­ing op­er­a­tions is be­ing scru­ti­nised.

Teat spraying is one such area.

Sup­pli­ers with Ro­tary plat­form sheds that have teat spray sys­tems that spray while the cow is on the plat­form must have an au­to­mated sys­tem to elim­i­nate or min­imise the risk of cows be­ing sprayed while still be­ing milked.

This is nec­es­sary to com­ply with Fon­terra’s Risk Man­age­ment Plan (RMP) to pro­tect the fu­ture of Dairy Food pro­duc­tion in New Zealand.

Fon­terra’s Food Safety Tech­ni­cal Ad­vi­sor Paul Dixon said: ‘‘Fon­terra’s po­si­tion is based upon Fon­terra’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of cur­rent reg­u­la­tory and RMP cri­te­ria and any obli­ga­tions for the har­vest­ing of milk for all in­tended mar­kets.’’

Teat Sprayer In­no­va­tor and De­vel­oper David Carey has iden­ti­fied two high-risk ar­eas. Firstly, cows that do not fin­ish milk­ing in the first rev­o­lu­tion of the plat­form are sprayed with the teat cups on.

Al­though there would be a short pe­riod for the spray to dry there is still the pos­si­bil­ity that the residue may brush on to the teats of the fol­low­ing cow as they are cupped.

Se­condly, cows that have kicked off their cups be­fore be­ing milked out and are re­tained on the plat­form are re-cupped af­ter hav­ing been teat sprayed on the first rev­o­lu­tion. Fon­terra re­quires th­ese sprayed cups to be washed in com­pli­ant wa­ter and sprayed teats washed and dried be­fore be­ing re-cupped.

Freerid­ing cows can be accidentally re­cupped af­ter be­ing sprayed by ma­chine or hand.

This will es­pe­cially pose a greater risk if the freerid­ers are freshly calved colostrum cows and the milk har­vester is in­ex­pe­ri­enced.

Ev­ery­body knows that th­ese cows have swollen ud­ders which look as if they have not been milked out.

Staff at this time of the year are of­ten ex­hausted from deal­ing with on-the­farm calv­ing de­mands which can also con­trib­ute to the prob­lem.

Any farmer who is spraying cows on the plat­form whether by ma­chine or hand is at risk.

Ma­chines spray ev­ery cow re­gard­less and the ca­pac­ity for hu­man er­ror is high in a repet­i­tive job like this.

The only fool-proof so­lu­tion is to spray cows af­ter they have left the milk­ing plat­form.

Mr Carey said: ‘‘For farm­ers who al­ready have their sheds set up for plat­form teat spraying and don’t want to make a change we have de­vel­oped a de­vice that in­ter­rupts the sig­nal to the teat sprayer, caus­ing it not to spray if the cow is be­ing re­tained on the plat­form for any rea­son. This can be retro-fit­ted to most ex­ist­ing au­to­matic sys­tems that have a cow re­ten­tion ap­pa­ra­tus.’’

This de­vice has been de­vel­oped in re­sponse to Fon­terra’s con­cerns re­gard­ing keep­ing farm­ers com­pli­ant with An­i­mal Prod­ucts Reg­u­la­tions 2005, while re­tain­ing a high stan­dard of milk qual­ity that is ac­cept­able the world over. All sys­tems need to fit within th­ese reg­u­la­tions, with no com­pro­mise in re­li­a­bil­ity and per­for­mance.

‘‘Ul­ti­mately teat spraying in the exit race us­ing a sys­tem such as the WETiT QD0 is the an­swer to com­pli­ance is­sues be­cause it sprays cows that have left the milk­ing en­vi­ron­ment and have no risk of be­ing re­cupped,’’ Mr Carey said.

As a leader in dairy food pro­duc­tion New Zealand has an obli­ga­tion to its con­sumers both in New Zealand and in our in­ter­na­tional mar­kets to pur­sue the best qual­ity of milk prod­ucts.

Fon­terra is set­ting a high stan­dard and we as a coun­try need to sup­port them.

Care on milk­ing teats urged

Photo: JAN MA­REE FINE ART PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

In ac­tion: A teat spraying sys­tem.

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