Top 10 milkers' mistakes in milking parlors: Towel Accidents
We continue the section on the most common issues during cow milking. In fifth place among all issues is “Towel Accidents.” It occurs with a frequency of 8.74% among all mistakes made on farms, which means an average of 2 issues per hour and about 5 towels used per hour. On rotary parlors, this issue occurs less frequently: 1.3 issues per hour with 2.2 towels used.
The more towels workers use, the more often the “Towel Accidents” issue happens. Therefore, as soon as we start working with a client and notice an increase in the “One towel for several cows” issue, we also observe a rise in the number of “Towel Accidents” occurrences at the beginning.
So, what is the “Towel Accidents” issue? It is indicated when, instead of following the standard procedure from the common bucket of clean towels through the worker's hands to the cow, the towel is involved in the following activities:
The towel falls on the floor and is then used to wipe the cow.
The towel is used to clean equipment and then used to wipe the cow.
The towel is used to clean a worker's face and then used to wipe the cow.
And other instances when the correct path, from the bucket to the cow, is disrupted.
Using a dirty towel to handle cow udders poses significant risks to both milk quality and cow health. When a dirty towel comes into contact with the udder, it can introduce harmful bacteria and pathogens, leading to potential milk contamination and an increased risk of mastitis. Moreover, using a dirty towel on multiple cows can facilitate the spread of infections between animals, creating a potential health hazard for the entire herd.
In addition to the health implications, the use of dirty towels can also affect milk quality. Bacteria and contaminants transferred from the towel to the udder can lead to an increase in somatic cell count (SCC) in milk, indicating potential inflammation or infection. High SCC levels are undesirable in milk as they can result in reduced shelf life and affect the quality of dairy products produced from such milk. This does not mean that the employee cannot use a towel to wipe their face, but after doing so, the towel should be sent to the other dirty towels.
To maintain milk quality and ensure the well-being of cows, it is crucial to adhere to proper milking practices, which include using only clean towels for udder preparation. Regularly replacing and properly sanitizing towels helps prevent the risk of contamination and contributes to the production of high-quality, safe milk.
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