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Simplified milking methods in dairy herds : the end of twice-a-day milking constraints

INRA Prod. Anim., 21(1), 59-70.


1 INRA, UR1213 Herbivores, F-63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France
2 INRA, Agrocampus,UMR1080 Production Laitière, F-35590 Saint-Gilles, France
3 INRA, AgroParisTech, CEMAGREF, ENITAC, UMR1273 Metafort, F-63370 Lempdes, France
4 INRA, UR631 Amélioration Génétique des Animaux, F-31326 Castanet-Tolosan, France
5 INRA, ENITAC, USC2005, Élevage et Production des Ruminants, F-63370 Lempdes, France


For a few years, French dairy farmers have wanted to better manage their workload, specially regarding milking, which takes about halfof their working time. To do this, INRA has tested and developed innovative milking tools and methods. In cattle, studies on robotic milkinghaving shown that animals adapt easily to such systems, but lipolysis and butyric spore counts of milk are increased. However, thehigh cost of milking robots and the fact that they are difficult to use when cattle are at pasture appear as barriers for French farmers. Bycontrast, once-daily milking is cheap, can be implemented quickly, and is easily reversible to conventional (i.e. twice-daily) milking. Oncedailymilking results in a reduction in milk yield (from -15 to - 46% according to species and context) and an increase in protein and lipidcontent of milk. It shall be limited to a few weeks; otherwise, it may be detrimental to udder health and milk quality. Other alternativesto conventional milking that can improve the farmers' quality of life are the suppression of milking on Sunday evenings, changes in intervalsbetween milkings, and once a day milking combined with calf suckling. The success of such techniques depends on the possibility toselect cows that tolerate large intervals between milkings.

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