Cheesemakers who milk a cow...

suziedd, Aug 4, 1:51am
...come in please !

uli, Aug 4, 2:31am
I used to - does that count?

suziedd, Aug 4, 6:14am
Thanks uli. The milk is not setting as it usually does. I am following the same process as always. Cow due to calve in Sept/Oct. Yield slowly decreasing. Any idea why I am having this bother? Is it typical of late lactation?

uli, Aug 4, 6:26am
It actually can be a sign of the late lactation.

When I had a house cow I was advised by an old farmer to let her go dry for at least 2 to 3 months to give the lining in the udder (that produces the milk) a chance to renew itself before the next calf was due.

He said that the milk can get quite bad towards the end as some of the cells start to die off and will be in the milk (sounded quite yucky) and basically prevent the milk from setting. This can also change the smell and taste of the milk.

While I have never tried to confirm this via reading up about it - it seemed to work and we always had very good milk early on in the season and when it become a bit later in the season I had to use more rennet to set it.

So we usually milked her from March/April when she calved until about Christmas.

Hope that helps.

suziedd, Aug 4, 11:33am
Answers my question. I am trying everything I know to reduce the yield. Hay only, extending time between milking... but I think now she is doing it all herself anyway. Just being careful, as she had some clots in her milk a few days ago and don't want a mastitis problem. Last year she was well dry 2 months prior to calving, on her own account. Best wishes, uli and thank you for your response.

griffo4, Aug 4, 8:36pm
She should be dry by now they need 2 months off minimum to build up for the next calving and if you overdo it and milk too long then next years yield could be affected
We always dry ours off at least 8 weeks before calving and the cow also starts building her udder for the next calving about a month before calving that is why the colostrum is so good

griffo4, Aug 4, 8:40pm
Just read your post about drying her off you milk them as normal and then when ready to stop you just stop if you keep milking at odd times you open the teats up and also infection gets in
Reduce feed then dry off and leave on reduced feed for a few more days and check the udder but do not squirt milk out
The udder will tighten up but leave it and just feel to make sure that it is not going hard or hot
We use dry cow therapy to reduce the likelihood(sp) of mastitis during the dry time but that is up to you

uli, Aug 4, 8:53pm
I know that only too well. Dairy cows are so overbred nowadays for extreme milk yields that they rather milk their backs off and look like walking skeletons from india rather than stop.

This was one of the reasons we decided not get a pure bred dairy cow again, as it was always a struggle to feed her properly and to dry her off on time.

So now we will try some dual purpose cows which will give much less milk - but lets face it - I do not need 15 liters of milk a day anyway...

Good luck!

ashanti, Feb 2, 7:02pm
agree with what griff04 wrote. i also had a problem earlier this year and it tuned out to be mastitis in my really old jersey cow, wasn't an extreme case but enough to affect the cheese making process.