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Herd-level variables associated with delayed milk ejection in Michigan dairy herds

Moore-Foster, R., Norby, B., Schewe, R.L., Thomson, R., Bartlett, P.C., Erskine, R.J.
Journal of dairy science 2019 v.102 no.1 pp. 696-705
attitudes and opinions, cows, dairy herds, herd size, hydrodynamics, mastitis, milk, milk ejection, milking, models, protocols, surveys, Michigan
The objective of this study was to determine which herd-level variables were associated with delayed milk ejection (bimodal milk let-down) in 64 Michigan dairy herds. Median herd size was 294 cows (range 59 to 2,771 cows). For each herd, milking protocols were observed and milk flow dynamics were estimated by use of digital vacuum recorders. Surveys were also administered to the producers to measure mastitis management practices and attitudes. Milk flow dynamics were recorded for a total of 3,824 cow milkings, with a mean of 60 milkings per herd (range of 11 to 154). Backward multivariable analysis was used to determine which of the 47 herd-level milking and management variables were associated with delayed milk ejection (cows with milk let-down periods between milking cluster attachment and the incline phase of milk flow of >30 s). Delayed milk ejection occurred in an average of 25% of the cows in each herd (range 0 to 75%). A multivariable model found that the proportion of cows in a herd with delayed milk ejection was negatively associated with mean total time of tactile stimulation during premilking routines and positively associated with herd size.