Measuring Success

How do you measure success regarding milk quality? Check out these key performance indicators for milking systems & performance to see how your farm is performing.

Selected key performance indicators (KPI) for milking systems and milking performance


Milking Machine








Milking Process


Average claw vacuum    

Maximum claw vacuum fluctuation

Average milk flow

Use of manual mode of milking (when automatic detachers are used)

“D” phase of the pulsation cycle

Premilking teat dip contact time

Prep-lag time (time from stimulation to milking unit attachment)

Milking unit attachment time

% of teats with at least 75% coverage with post-milking teat dip

Suggested Goal

35 – 42 kPa

< 10 kPa


2.3 – 4.1 kgs/min

< 5% of milkings



At least 150 – 200 ms

30 seconds before dry offa

60 to 120 seconds



3 to 8 minutes (depending on milk production)

> 90%

Other key performance indicators include:
• Qualitative bulk milk cultures
• Milking systems & performance
• Subclinical mastitis UW-Milk Quality promotes an integrated, team-based approach to best manage udder health and milk quality.  Producing high quality milk is not a one-person job.  It takes farmers and their local dairy advisors to be able to evaluate, manage and improve milk quality. At UW-Milk Quality, we develop tools and resources to help dairy producers meet their milk quality goals and increase farm profitability.For more information regarding milk quality, please visit UW-Milk Quality or contact UW-Extension Milk Quality Specialist Pam Ruegg.  For more information regarding milking systems, please visit UW Milking Research and Instruction Laboratory or contact UW-Extension Milking Systems Specialist Doug Reinemann

From: Ruegg, P.L. 2011. Managing Mastitis and Producing High Quality Milk. Chapter 18 in Dairy Cattle Production Medicine. C. Risco and P. Melendez, (editors), Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, LTD.










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