Comparison of the effects of quarter-individual and conventional milking systems on milkability traits
Abstract. This study was carried out to investigate a new quarter-individual milking system called MultiLactor® (Siliconform GmbH, Türkheim, Germany). The MultiLactor enables milking on quarter level basis with low vacuum (37 kPa), sequential pulsation and periodic air inlet. Within the same dairy farm, the influence of this quarter-individual milking system (MULTI) on milkability traits was compared with a conventional milking system (CON). CON was equipped with a conventional milking cluster and used alternating pulsation. Vacuum level was adjusted to 40 kPa. For the study, 84 Holstein Friesian cows were randomly selected and uniformly divided into two herds. During the 30-week survey, the milk flow curves were recorded every other week by using a LactoCorder (WMB, Balgach, Switzerland). Significant differences (P<0.05) between both milking systems were found for all milk flow traits, except for milk yield and decline phase. Concerning the incline (tAN) and plateau (tPL) phase, large differences existed between MULTI and CON. The estimated value of tAN calculated for MULTI (29.4 s) took only half of the time when calculated for CON (56.4 s). The estimated value of tPL at CON was reduced by 1.43 min (35 %) compared to MULTI. Milking process at MULTI (8.49 min) took longer time than for CON (7.43 min). From the study, it was concluded that the effect of shorter tAN in the quarter-individual milked cows may be related to additional prestimulation by an actuator. In contrast, the longer milking time in MULTI is possibly caused by lower vacuum level and periodic air inlet.