Milking cluster support aid

Lactalign is a new and relatively simple retro-fit device designed to counter the often costly impact of uneven weight and vacuum distribution of a milking cluster.

by Steven Vale

14 Jun 2022

Operating in conjunction with automatic cluster removal (ACR) and gently supporting the cluster, the high density polyurethane support eliminates any bias between front and rear quarters, something which may go undetected but which can be the underlying cause of many of the increased mastitis incidences in front quarters.

The product was developed after the herd management software used by  Metcalfe Farms in North Yorkshire, revealed twice as many mastitis cases in front quarters compared to the rear quarters, despite the herd having below average cases overall.

The farm approached local design and agricultural engineering firm JF Hudson to help with a solution, which was trialled on the farm’s 72 point BouMatic rotary parlour.

Individual and pivoted supports at each milking point, just require the milking staff to raise the supports and quickly select one of three slots in which to place the long milk and pulsation tubes after attaching the cluster, depending on the profile of the udder.

The ACR cord is slipped in or below the same slot, and when milking is complete and ACR activated, the retracting cord causes the support to pivot back to its rest position.

At Metcalfe Farms, the Lactalign has resulted in a 59% reduction in liner slip, a 47% reduction in kick-offs, a 65% reduction in re-attachments and a 50% reduction in mastitis cases in front quarters.

Available from JH and PM Solutions, the patented supports, cost from £150 per point, can be fitted to most types of parlour whether rotary, rapid exit or herringbone.