Swiss Federal Research Station for Agricultural Economics and Engineering, Tänikon

Milking without stress

Cows only achieve their full yield potential in an environment where they feel comfortable. The milking parlour plays an essential part in shaping this environment. Even when milking machines are installed according to ISO 5707, operators of new milking parlours often notice not only the advantages, but find signs indicative of unfavourable conditions: Cows are unwilling to enter the milking parlour, Cows defecate before entering the milking parlour or during milking, Cows are restless and knock the milking units off, Cows do not allow their udders to be emptied completely, The milker feels unwell and stressed during and after milking. The results of our measurements and studies over the past two years show that these behavioural changes can be caused by airborne noise and structure-borne sound (vibration) – phenomena to which little attention has hitherto been paid. Noise and vibration can be unpleasant for humans and animals and can even have a negative influence on the vacuum stability of the milking system.

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