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Automatic milking and grazing

factors and stimuli affecting cow motivation to visit the milking unit

Wredle, Ewa (2005). Automatic milking and grazing. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2005:116
ISBN 91-576-6915-5
[Doctoral thesis]

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When automatic milking is combined with grazing the cows are given a unique opportunity to choose between being indoors or outdoors. Concerns have been raised about achieving sufficient number of milkings per day since the cows’ motivation to be milked is low and cows are expected to go to milking voluntarily. The overall aim was therefore to examine how management routines affect cow motivation to visit the milking unit several times a day. First it was hypothesised that distance to pasture and level of supplements affects the milking frequency. The results demonstrated that cows with a shorter distance to pasture had a higher milking frequency during the first part of the grazing season and a higher milk yield compared with cows pasturing further from the barn. One important finding was that cows on the distant pasture changed their behaviour as the grazing season progressed and almost ceased to walk to their pasture area. A high level of silage supplements compared with a buffer feed offered in the barn had no affect on the milk yield. Also there was no affect on the number of milkings during the first part of the grazing season but during the latter part, cows with a high level of silage had a lower number of milkings. It was also hypothesized that it is possible to strengthen the cows’ perception of a feed reward in the milking unit by training the cow to respond to a conditioned stimulus, an acoustic signal. Most of the cows learnt to approach the milking unit following the signal when they were in an enclosed area of the barn, close to the milking unit. However, when receiving the signal out on pasture the response to the signal was variable and comparatively low. Finally, the hypothesis that enhanced sensory stimulation during milking by feeding or stroking the cows’ abdomen affects the level of the oxytocin and cortisol during milking was tested. Feeding during milking increased the plasma oxytocin level and milk production whereas brushing during milking depressed the milking-related release of cortisol, possibly inducing an anti-stress effect.

Authors/Creators:Wredle, Ewa
Title:Automatic milking and grazing
Subtitle:factors and stimuli affecting cow motivation to visit the milking unit
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :November 2005
Number of Pages:46
ALLI. Spörndly, E. & Wredle, E. 2004. Automatic milking and grazing – effects of distance to pasture and level of supplements on milk yield and cow behaviour. Journal of Dairy Science 87: 1702–1712. II. Wredle, E., Rushen, J., de Passillé, A.M. & Munksgaard, L. 2004. Training cattle to approach a feed source in response to auditory signals. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 84: 567–574. III. Wredle, E., Munksgaard, L. & Spörndly, E. 2005. Training cows to approach the milking unit in response to acoustic signals in an automatic milking system during the grazing season. Submitted. IV. Wredle, E., Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Bruckmaier, R. & Svennersten-Sjaunja, K. 2005. Can feeding or brushing during milking increase milk production and modify the release of oxytocin, ACTH and cortisol? Manuscript.
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:91-576-6915-5
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L02 Animal feeding
N Machinery and buildings > N20 Agricultural machinery and equipment
Subjects:Not in use, please see Agris categories
Agrovoc terms:dairy cows, milking equipment, automation, milking parlours, grazing, silage, supplementary feeding, stimuli, behaviour, motivation
Keywords:automatic milking, grazing, motivation, milking frequency, acoustic stimuli, sensory stimuli, learning
Permanent URL:
ID Code:984
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Nutrition and Management
Deposited By: Ewa Wredle
Deposited On:16 Nov 2005 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:19 Mar 2015 10:31

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