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From Farmers Guardian – August 2008

ADF can bring huge time and cost savings

NEW research has shown that automatic dipping and flushing (ADF) can cut milking times by as much as 62 minutes. A time and motion study measuring milking routine efficiency on five forms before and after an ADF system was installed showed a minimum saving of 15 minutes per milking, worth £7-£31 per cow a year.

An ADF ensures coverage of teats with disinfectant after milking and replaces the need to manually dip dusters between cows.
Ian Ohnstad, one of the Dairy Group milking specialists who carried out the study, said milking times were reduced because workers could carry out other jobs at the same time, notably cow loading.

The five farms were observed for two consecutive millrings, with and without the system. The total time taken to carry out each task in the milking routine was calculated and, although the overall milking time consistently fell, how it affected other elements of the work routine varied Mr Ohnstad said Farm B for instance, took 28 minutes to load cows before ADF and 19 minutes after, whereas Farm D spent 29 minutes on teat preparation before and 25 minutes after”.

Farm B had the most significant gain from fitting ADF through saving cluster disinfection and reducing disruption to the milking routine, and almost 50 per cent of the overall reduction in milking time was directly attributed to automatic teat dipping and cluster flushing.

Overall milking routines were more structured and less erratic for all forms with the ADF system. Study co-ordinators said quantifying the financial benefits in labour saving was difficult when staff were paid a salary and thought quicker milking should be viewed as an opportunity to improve working conditions and staff morale, unless labour could be released to spend time on more quantifiable work such as paperwork, heat detection or foot trimming.