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HomeFarming NewsOperating a 16-8-hour milking interval
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Operating a 16-8-hour milking interval

The following article is published in Lakeland Dairies / Teagasc Joint Development Programme’s innovative and informative 28-page booklet.

The booklet contains recommendations, tips and case studies, aimed at making farm life easier for Lakeland Dairies’ milk suppliers.

Ciaran Boylan

Milking times on my farm would be 6.30am and 3pm. I just find those milking times fit in with a modern life and with the cows performing and milking so well, I won’t be changing this system.

  1. I have a young family and my wife works aswell – I leave children to school and do pick-ups at 1pm which fits into my working day. I am able to spend evenings with my young family.
  2. Easy to get relief milkers – My relief milker never lets me down as he can milk my cows in the afternoon any time after 2.30pm. This allows him to milk other herds if he wants to.
  3. I’m prepared for the milking – I’m not rushing the milking to get finished for the evening. Starting in time makes milking part of the main workday. If a cow is sick or something breaks it means I’m not out all-night milking.
  4. Busy spring periods – Time after the afternoon milking can be used to prepare for tomorrow’s farm jobs to boost productivity.

When changing to a 16-8-hour milking interval. What effects on workload and yield will I see?


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The change to earlier milking times has the potential to save seven to 10 hours of workload a week.

Farms which have made the change to an earlier afternoon milking have a targeted finish time of 5pm-6pm. This encourages them to be more efficient between milkings. Also, the milking is being done at a time of day when the farmer is more alert and able to focus on an efficient milking routine.


Ciaran operate a 16-8-hour interval and has reported no change in milk yield or SCC on an annual basis, which many of the top 10% of Lakeland.

Image source: Lakeland Dairies / Teagasc Joint Development Programme

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