Article: Proper Milking Routine – Less Strain, More Efficiency

Last year proved to be a great success for the Best Practice in Milking course with, 400 farmers having completed the course and upskilling their milking practices nationwide. The course which is in conjunction with FRS, Teagasc and AHI is well underway this year, with great interest being shown once again.
Martin Davin, a farmer from Eglish in Rathdowney County Laois, successfully completed the Milking Course last year. Martin himself admitted that prior to completing the milking course, he suffered constant strain to his shoulders and wrists due to the style of milking he had adopted over the years.
“Before completing the milking course I always had pain in my shoulders and wrists from the way I was milking. Now my shoulders and wrists don’t get sore anymore. Once you have done the course, you start milking the way it should be done” said Martin.
For Martin, the course opened his eyes to how a proper milking routine should be carried out. Even though it takes a couple of weeks to adjust to the new milking routine, he found he got very use to it and clearly sees how well it works.
One of the benefits of the actual milking routine would be the fact that I can milk each row with alternative hands now. It’s a huge benefit.” said Martin.
The course shows farmers how to make life easier by learning how to milk effectively and efficiently. Martin was completely satisfied with how the course went for him and how he adapted it so well on his own farm.
“The biggest thing I got out of the milking course was the whole milking routine, learning how to milk the cows and the proper way to do it. Also keeping your area clean and yourself clean is vital, even down to wearing gloves at all times. It’s all hugely important. For me, a proper milking routine is very important because you will be doing it for 20 or 30 years of your life. If you don’t have it at the start get it and pass it on.” said Martin.
Having seen the difference between how he once milked in comparison to now, Martin has seen all the benefits and could recommends others to do the milking course.
“The practical side of milking is great, there’s so much to learn if you want to learn, if you don’t want to learn then you never will”.

The training is designed to make life that little bit easier for the farmer. Putting less strain on both the Farmer’s life and Body. From start to finish the milking routine has an important bearing on the efficient and hygienic removal of milk from the udder. The course itself is designed to develop the skills of the milker to ensure that all cows are milked effectively and efficiently and reduce preventable waste by producing lower somatic cell counts (SCC) and better milk quality.
“The importance of routine cannot be over emphasised. Cows are creatures of habit and the more you can make each day exactly the same as the previous day the more relaxed and productive they’ll be. So, good milking technique begins by following a predictable routine.” (Teagasc)
The Milking course teaches the components of an efficient milking process or routine, which are:
• Preparation for Milking
• Parlour Preparation
• Row filling
• Preparation in batches and maximising milk let down
• Cluster attachment
• Cluster removal
• Teat disinfection
• Row exit
• Parlour hose down
When employing an efficient milking routine, milkers can achieve somatic cell count (SCC) and total bacterial count (TBC) levels of less than 100,000 and less than 10,000 cells per ml respectively and milking row times of less than 9 minutes. (Teagasc)
From the farmers who have completed the course, it is obvious that one of the main problems that constantly arise from farmers milking habits is strain. Due to habits which have developed over their years of milking, farmers complain of suffering with back pain, shoulder pain and wrist pain.
Successful completion of the ‘Best Practice in Milking Course’ results in a FETAC/QQI level 6 certificate. Martin along with all those who completed the course will be receiving their certificates of completion at the end of August. The course involves two days training followed by an assessment and includes practical on-farm milking sessions.
For those who are interested in doing the course visit http://www.frstraining.com/milkingcourse , alternatively call Kevin Fitzpatrick at 086 0280450 or email info@frstraining.com. Like and share http://www.facebook.com/milkingcourse

Using pesticides safely for good weed control

 

This is the time of year when weed growth is at its best, so farmers need to be vigilant in controlling their spread before they go to seed.

Two main control methods are available.  In both cases, timing is essential.

  1. Topping
  2. Use of Pesticides

Grassland weeds must be sprayed at what’s called the Rosette stage (3 – 4 “high (75-100mm) and similar width for best control when using pesticides.  This means a full array of leaves to absorb maximum amount of the pesticide applied, if the plant is too advanced the pesticide product will not be as effective.  If it is already too late to spray, it may be advisable to top grassland and then spray in 4-6 weeks time to the new growth.

FRS have the perfect weed solution to help with your weed issues and FRS Training provide the sprayer training courses to ensure you are compliant with the new department of Agriculture directive called the SUD (Sustainable Use of Pesticide Directive).

Grassland Weeds

Weeds compete with grass for nutrients and space.  In turn, these weeds are reducing the amount of grass available to the grazing animals.  For most common grassland weeds a product called MCPA will suffice.  Always reads the label and supplementary information for the correct pesticide application rate before using.  You may have to decide on what volume of water suits your situation, as very often volume rates on labels are determined by the grass cover or level of weed infestation.

Some Typical grassland weeds and products available:

Buttercup

There are many sprays on the market which will eliminate buttercups from grassland.  Spraying with Forefront or Pastor will solve this problem as well as the growth of other weeds.

Rushes

Rushes tend to cause a big problem for farmers.  With the amount of rainfall we get in Ireland there is always a significant increase in the amount of rushes on the land.  A combination of  2 4 D based products and Torpedo 2 appears to be quite effective in killing it off as due to it’s vigorous nature it can be quite difficult to dispose of.

Docks

Docks are a constant scourge on most farms however they are relatively easy to control.  There a number of effective sprays on the market.  The only problem which underlies is there reoccurrence.  Many products are available to counteract against docks, however many are very severe on clover therefore it is best to consult with your supplier on the appropriate product to suit your needs.

Products available: Doxstar – Fore front – Eagle

Typical Rate of Application:  2L/ha in 200L of water/ha

(Eagle is granulated so rate measure in grams/ha)

Weeds and Briars under fences

Weeds and briars become a major problem with electric fences around farm boundaries.  The major problem which arises is the strength in the power of the electric fencing diminishing dramatically.  The best way to control this is by using weed killer.  Grazon 90 is one of the best on the market and is preferred by many farmers.

Boom Sprayer Pesticide Application Courses

The department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine announced the implementation of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD).  This directive stipulates that professional users, ie farmers and distributers of plant protection products will be required to be trained and registered with the department by November 26th 2015.  Farmers need to be compliant and the training courses required are commonly known as Boom Sprayers and Knapsack Sprayers.

Course Title:                                                    Duration:                     QQI Level

Boom Sprayer Pesticide Applicator             2 days ( 1 week apart)         5

Hand Held Pesticide Applicator                   2 days  ( 1 week apart)        5

Boom sprayers include, Weed lickers, self-propelled, mounted, trailed and quad sprayers once over 3 meter boom width.

FRS Training is a QQI approved professional pesticide user training provider and has tailored its courses to suit farming life. Once you have successfully completed the Boom Sprayer and/or the Hand Held Pesticide Applicator course/s. Farmer must register with the department of Agriculture via their online system and then you will receive your PU Number (Pesticide User).  This is an excellent hands on practical course where you will be safely trained on handling and applying correct rates of product and know how to calculate the output from your sprayer.

Further information on registration and training requirements visit:www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie

Contact FRS Training on 1890 20 1000 to book your course or visit http://www.frstraining.com.  FRS courses are available Nationwide at competitive pricing and group discounts.