Milking dairy cows is a major and vital activity on Rethel’s High School Farm. The herd includes 70 Prim’Holstein and Jersey dairy cows. The milking parlour dates back from 1998. It’s equipped with 2 platforms each containing 6 milking units at the back.

When it comes to practical works, students and apprentices are framed by farm workers and technical teachers.
 The first step consists in lifting the cows left in the stall in order for them to walk gently to the milking parlour.
They are then gathered in the so-called waiting area before they get milked.
Between the stables and the milking parlour, the boot- washing operation is part of the essential measures to adopt in order to limit the appearance of gems inside the milking parlour.

The milk pipe (lactoduc) is set up between the milking parlour and the milk container. It needs to be well-positioned. The milk container has a 6000- liter capacity and keeps milk at 2 or 3 degrees Celsius.

Setting up a filter in the collecting system helps avoid the passage of gems into the milk container.
It’s then time to start up the milking machine in an effort to create an air gap inside the teat sleeves with the help of a vacuum pump. This pressure difference allows the teat sphincter to open and the milk to flow.
It’s compulsory to wash hands and wear gloves at that point in order to obtain a bacteriological milk quality and to maintain the teat hygiene.

Cleaning and disinfecting the teats with a premoussage. This essential stage helps reduce the bacteriological before laying out the teat cups.

Obviously the teats are cleaned with a one use paper.
The premoussage and cleaning of the teats are two mechanical actions favoring the trigger off of the ejecting of the milk.

He is drawing the first shot to encourage the milk ejection and to detect a possible mammite. In the case of a mammite, clogs or grumeaux can be seen in the milk.
This cow is wearing those red bracelets on posterior limbs. This technics helps identify a special health problem or particularity or physiological development.

The setting up of the cups starts with the less accessible teat. We turn on the tap of the claw, we straighten the cup, breaking the pipe to limit sucking up the air and dirt. With the pointing finger, we are orienting the teat so as to make it into the cup.
If the cow has a non- functional teat, he has to clog the corresponding cup with an obturator.
Being several to milk allows to earn time provided we’re well organized and tasks well distributed. The milking is approximately two hours long (it starts at about 6 o’clock in the morning and at about 4.30 in the afternoon).
Every milking unit is equipped with a milk compteur and with a system of automatic décrochage which décroche the cups and draws the claw with a cord, once milking is over.
Today, the cow has produced 11.3 kilograms of milk.

A dipping solution is applied for teats. This solution has many functions: disinfect the teats, leave a protection film which will have a barrier effect against bacteria, soften the skin and keep flies away.
As soon as the 6 cows from the same platform have been milked, we are opening the barrier. The cows are heading back to the stable and six other cows are coming into the milking parlour.
Le lait de cette traite est stocké dans un pot. En effet, il faut écarter le lait provenant d’une vache fraichement vêlée, d’une vache à mammite, d’une vache ayant reçu un traitement médicamenteux par exemple.

On réalise une injection intra-mammaire pour lutter contre une mammite.
D’ailleurs sur le thème de la santé animale, l’exploitation oriente ses pratiques vers des médecines alternatives comme l’homéopathie et l’aromathérapie.
Il arrive parfois que certaines vaches retiennent leur lait. On peut réaliser une injection d’ocytocine (hormone qui est naturellement produite par la vache) pour déclencher l’éjection du lait ou utiliser un traitement homéopathique tel que l’Urtica Urens.

Lorsque les vaches urinent ou que des bouses tombent sur le quai, il faut le nettoyer pour éviter de souiller le poste de traite.
Les vaches sont traites mais le travail n’est pas terminé pour autant ! Il faut nettoyer toute la salle de traite et lancer le lavage du système de traite.
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