The effects of parlour feeding

The effects of parlour feeding has been a topic of discussion for farmers, milking technology dealers, feed consultants and scientists for years. In general, there are proponents and opponents for the use of parlour feeding based on different experiences. Currently, there is a trend that more and more cattle farmers are choosing to adopt parlour feeding.

To get a clear picture of the effects of in-parlour feeding, a literature study was recently commissioned by Hanskamp AgroTech. This study looked at the main conclusions on the effects of parlour feeding published in various scientific studies. These studies show that there is a great financial benefit to be gained from parlour feeding through increasing Oxytocin levels and consequently increasing milk production.

Oxytocin and milk yield go hand in hand. The hormone Oxytocin causes milk to be released from the bosom of the udder. For a udder to be fully milked out, there must be a constant flow of Oxytocin. To stimulate Oxytocin production, there are several options. Milking stimulation (or suction stimulation) has a positive effect on Oxytocin production. Another option to trigger this Oxytocin release is to feed during milking. Parlour feeding stimulates Oxytocin production and when it is released, milk production also gets going. By providing concentrate feed at the start of milking, the cow will release her milk faster. With parlour feeding, milk production not only comes on faster but milk yield will also be higher and milking time is lower.

Parlour feeding also has a positive effect on 'cow traffic'. Cows enter the pit easily and faster because they are lured by the feeding. As a result, a cow enters the pit of its own accord and is not pushed up, causing stress. The operator therefore does not have to constantly enter his waiting area to collect cows, which saves him time.

Milk yield will increase by 8% on average when feeding in the milking parlour. Parlour feeding therefore provides an economic advantage. On a farm with 80 dairy cows and a milk production of 8000 litres per cow per year, parlour feeding will increase milk production per cow by over 600 litres per year. With an average milk price of €0.34, the financial benefit amounts to over €16,000. This benefit can be even higher when opting for individual parlour feeding; By controlling the concentrate feed individually, cows can be kept performing optimally.

The literature review has summarised all these published studies with source references and the overall conclusion is a positive effect of parlour feeding. Read the entire study here, or contact our staff for more information.

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