In 2021 LUDF adopted the latest research from DairyNZ - variable milking. Milking 10 times in 7 days.

Many NZ dairy farms have been practicing variable milking for part of the season. The motivations of farmers have been to take the pressure off cows, people and the pasture demand. To confirm the impact of variable milking on milk production and cow welfare outcomes, Paul Edwards, Dairy NZ completed research and Lincoln University Dairy Research Unit.

A variable research trial was completed based on three start dates for variable milking. Day 1 of lactation, 1st December and 1st March. A control comparison of Twice a day milking (TAD) was included with cows milking the full season on TAD.

The research concluded that cows will drop 5% from the day that the farmer commences variable milking.

Most of this drop comes in the form of a drop in protein production. Cow condition at the close of the season was 0.25 CS better for full season variable milking. The response in cow condition was linear from the time you started variable milking, eg, mid season = 0.125 CS better.

The research also completed a 6 week trail to confirm the impact of the time between milking on per cow production. The initial concept of variable milking was to milk the cows 8-20-20 hours apart, resulting in some antisocial milking times. The research concluded that Milk period had no significant difference on milk production which gives us greater flexibility on milking time and staff rosters.

Variable Milking Plan 2021