As the demand for milk increases, so does the demand to be more efficient. Today’s market volatility requires dairies to pay attention to the details – and most importantly – their costs. Simply put, milk is what pays the bills and if you aren’t paying attention to your source of income, then you might be missing some profitable opportunities.

Many producers have milk testing done monthly, but not much can be decided with information received once a month.

Other producers have milk meters in their parlors which collect individual milk weights from every cow at each milking.

These devices provide valuable data for making decisions about parlor performance, feeding and health.

Parlor performance


The milking parlor is the heartbeat of the farm. It is in the parlor that correct routines should be followed to produce the highest-quality milk.

Milk data recorded from meters and organized in reports allows producers and herd managers to see what is going on in the parlor even when they are not there. Specific reports and graphs can show:

  • Milking duration for individual cows, groups and herd
  • Total milk produced per shift or hour
  • Cows milked per hour
  • Units reattached
  • Proper preparation of cows before milking

These reports can help improve labor efficiency and milking performance. Making the milk routine better can also improve milk quality.

Additionally, some milk meters indicate liner slips, kick-offs, unit air bleed blocks, blood detection and conductivity detection – all excellent tools for improving cow health and parlor performance.


At most dairies, feed accounts for more than 50 percent of a farm’s expenses. Producers can utilize milk meters to help improve feed efficiency and costs.

For example, with individual milk weights, producers can monitor a cow’s lactation potential and decide if she should be moved to another group with a more suitable ration.

These changes can be made daily because you know the exact amount of milk being produced, and alerts can be set up so you only spend time looking at the right cows, not all the cows.


With individual milk weights, you can see health issues before it’s too late. By setting up specific reports, you can find cows that have dropped in production and should be checked.

This is a good way to monitor fresh cows and keep them on track for a successful lactation. Detecting health issues early can help prevent illness and save money.

Milk meters are an invaluable tool for dairies. The information they provide helps maximize efficiency and profitability. In this case at least, what you don’t know can hurt you. EL

Vernon Hawks