The relationship between stockperson behaviour, measured as verbal and physical interactions with the dairy cows (no. ¼ 210), during milking and the subsequent milk yield obtained was examined. The numbers of steps and kicks made by the cows during milking was recorded. The behaviour of two stockteams, each consisting of two stockmen, were recorded over 10 weekend sessions. The two teams varied in the types of interactions and when the stockteam that performed more positive interactions worked with the cows (team A), the cows had a significantly higher milk yield (P , 0·05) although this difference was small (17·54 v. 17·44 kg). When team A was milking the cows also stepped and kicked on the platform significantly more ( P , 0·05) compared with team B. The results also indicated that while each stockteam tended to interact with the same cows each session, different stockpersons interacted with different cows. These findings highlight the importance of the role of the stockperson in milk output and dairy cow behaviour in a commercial setting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology