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Once a Day Milking vs. Twice a Day Milking at Teagasc Moorepark

Emer Kennedy, Researcher in Teagasc Moorepark discusses the Moorepark once a day herd. This herd has been running for the last number of years. The herd is part of an on-going experiment looking at once a day vs.twice a day milking.

The stats from the week of June 22nd of both the once a day and twice a day herd are:  

Twice a day Once a Day 
25 kg/day 21 kg/day
2.1 kg MS 1.8 kg MS
4.74% Fat 5.02% Fat
3.54% Protein 3.77% Protein

To date this year, the once a day cows have produced 2754 kg milk and 249 kg MS. The twice a day cows have produced 3525 kg milk and 294 kg MS. Milking the cows once a day has reduced their milk production by 22% and their milk solids by 15%, these figures lining up with what has been reported internationally.

This year, the twice a day herd peaked at 2.52 kg MS, compared to last year where they peaked at 2.3 kg/ day. In total, they have produced 511 kg MS. The once a day herd produced 396 kg across their lactation last year and peaked at 2 kg MS/ day. This year, that has increased to 2.1 kg MS/ day.

Somatic cell count is often an issue with once a day milking. This year the somatic cell count for the once a day heard is running slightly higher than the twice a day herd.

The cows are currently provided 18 kg DM Grass with 1 kg concentrates. Swards being grazed are 1400 DM/ha, and are being grazed to a post grazing height of 4.1 cm.

One of the positives of once a day milking is the increased Body Condition Score. At the moment, the once a day cows, 3.4 BCS, are almost half a BCS higher than the twice a day herd, 3 BCS.

All cows were AI’d for 6 weeks, with the bull being let run with the cows after this. The team is aiming for an approximately 11 week breeding season. The project team of Michael O’Donovan, John Paul Murphy and Emer, intend drying the herd off on December 15th, so the short term once a day treatments in late lactation will start in mid-September/ early November