Boyce, Nelson/Marlborough FarmWise consultant
– this is not going to be a scientific article. It’s not steeped in peer-reviewed data and statistics. It is an article based on observations and
experiences over decades and the desire to push and prod our way out of what
has become a claustrophobic corner of the dairying envelope.
I have spent much of the last two decades
looking at milking frequency options. Can
we do less milkings and still maintain production and profit?
desire to find workable options to the traditional twice a day (2AD) and once a
day (OAD) milking regimes has been around for decades. The need has often been exacerbated by
climatic conditions, and critically by the ongoing labour crisis in our
In November 2001 (with a
horrifically wet spring in Murchison), my first serious meddling with the
inflexible hours of the straight 16 hour milking regime occurred. This evolved to the 14-16-18 hour regime over
the following 3-4 seasons. As more was
learnt, greater changes to the length of hours between milking occurred. The system has further evolved to be renamed
3in2 (3 milkings in 2 days).
the architect and namer of 14-16-18, and latterly 3in2, I guess I have to
shoulder a fair amount of the blame for wrecking a lot of peoples weekends (both
in New Zealand and overseas). With 3in2;
there are 10.5 milkings/week (or 21 milkings a fortnight). Evening milkings happen on alternate days;
which tended to confuse weekends and milking rosters.
Everyone loves the sleep-ins; but the weekend
night milkings really messed up routines (especially family). However – on the plus side – farmers report
that by doing 3in2, they can maintain (or even increase) milk production from mid-lactation
over summer. And they have been able to
farm as profitably as when they were on 2AD all season. Doing less is good.
reality is that we work in a 7 day a week industry; but we live in a weekend
based society. It is often hard to
maintain a work/life compatibility between the two for both employers and
OAD milking (with just 7
milkings/week) is an obvious option to better manage work/life
expectations. However, not all farming
businesses wish to adopt OAD (for many and varied reasons). 2AD milking still involves 14 milking per
week; and exacerbates the work/life conundrum.
what are we missing here? These are our
current standard options: