Herd-level variables associated with premilking stimulation time in Michigan dairy herds

R. Moore-Foster, B. Norby, R. L. Schewe, R. Thomson, P. C. Bartlett, R. J. Erskine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine the herd-level variables that were associated with total stimulation time during the premilking routine in 64 Michigan dairy herds. The mean herd size was 452 cows (range = 59 to 2,771 cows). For each herd, surveys were administered to producers to gather mastitis management practices and attitudes. Additionally, milking protocols were observed and milk flow dynamics were measured by use of digital vacuum recorders. Backward multivariate regression analysis was used to determine which of 47 herd-level milking and management variables were associated with mean total stimulation time. Mean total stimulation time was 14.2 s (range = 2.4–40.8 s) and was positively associated with increasing latency period (time interval between first stimulation and cluster attachment). Total stimulation time was negatively associated with greater herd size and number of visits to each cow in the premilking routine. In summary, increased stimulation time is more likely in herds that foster a lower sense of urgency of cow throughput during milking, as evidenced by a positive association with longer latency periods and fewer preparation visits per cow. Tactile stimulation is critical for efficient milk ejection; if inadequate, cows are at greater risk of delayed milk ejection and bimodal milk flow, which in turn has been associated with teat congestion and reduced milk flow. This study offers insight as to some of the herd factors that may be limiting adequate tactile stimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2544-2550
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • employee management
  • milking protocols
  • premilking stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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