The effect of milking frequency on milk yield and milk composition in ewes

https://doi.org/10.17221/254/2019-CJASCitation:Mačuhová L., Tančin V., Mačuhová J. (2020): The effect of milking frequency on milk yield and milk composition in ewes. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 65: 41-50.
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Milking frequency is the main factor regulating milk yield and milk quality if feeding, welfare, health, and environmental conditions are adequate. Milk yield and composition are substantially influenced by breed, and consequently the breed has an impact on both factors at a different frequency of milking. Further, the size of cisternal compartment plays an important role in accommodating secreted milk between milkings. Thus, ewes with large cisterns (i.e. large cisternal area, high cisternal milk percentage, and delayed tight junction opening during milk stasis) adapt themselves better to longer milking intervals than ewes with a small cistern. The increase of milking frequency from two to three times a day can lead to an increase of milk yield in the range of 3 to 36%. On the other hand, the reduction of milking frequency from twice to once a day can decrease milk yield from 9 to 67%. Two milkings per week could be omitted with no negative effects on milk yield, milk composition, and somatic cell count in ewes with large cisterns. However, besides the breed and cistern storage capacity, the results in literature show that the effects of milking frequency on milk yield and milk composition can vary according to the stage of lactation, individual animal, production level, practice of stripping, and duration of changed frequency. The right use of different milking frequency strategies can result in increased milk yield or in significant savings in labour and time spent in the milking parlour with negligible or no negative effects on milk yield and composition.

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