litres of milk per dairy cow per day, on average.
Milking: 2 to 3 times per days, every day of the year
Milking the herd consists of 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening
The lactation period lasts 10 months per year, on average.
Milking takes place every day !
Milking sets the rhythm of the dairy farmer’s life: 2 times a day, 7 days a week.
It is no longer done by hand, but rather, with a milking machine. The regularity of the schedule, as well as the calm demeanour and repetitive movements of the dairy farmer, pacifies the cattle so that the milking process can go smoothly. Before they enter the milking parlour, the cattle pass through a waiting area and as soon as the door opens, they move forward as a group; usually in the same order every time.
It’s a special occasion for the farmer and each of the cows — an opportunity to check up on the animal’s health. Before milking, the farmer cleans the cow’s teats, dries the udder and extracts a few spurts manually, to ensure the fluidity and quality of the milk output. After that, the machine’s “milking cups” are positioned on the teats and the automatic milking process begins. Milking lasts between 6 and 9 minutes per cow, on average. Once the milking has been completed, the farmer applies disinfectant and moisturiser on the teats, in order to protect them.
For hygenic reasons, the milking parlour, as well as all of the equipment (tubes, etc.) are fully cleaned at the end of each milking session. The milk is conveyed to a refrigerated tank to be chilled from 37°C (its temperature in the cow’s udder) to 4°C (the temperature at which it is stored).
A new process of automated milking is currently being introduced: the milking robot. With this, the cows themselves choose when they go in for milking. At least 8% of dairy farms in France are equipped with a milking robot. That does not, however, exempt the farmer from the task of inspecting the cows… the robot analyses and produces measurements of the cow’s health and well-being in real-time.