Tool to prevent mastitis wins Gold at LAMMA 2023
9th January 2023
Lactalign, a device that counters the often costly impact of uneven weight and vacuum distribution of a milking cluster, has won a Gold Award in the Livestock Innovation category.
Mastitis is the biggest disease cost on dairy farms, with a price tag of around £225 per case. And if individual cows have multiple mastitis cases across a lactation, the costs soon add up. Lactalign creators say the device is a simple yet effective tool for prevention.
It has now been installed on four NMR RABDF Gold Cup winning farms and completed over six million milkings to date.
Lactalign was developed after the herd management software used by Metcalfe Farms in North Yorkshire, revealed twice as many mastitis cases in front quarters compared to the rear quarters, despite the herd having below average cases overall.
The farm approached local design and agricultural engineering firm JF Hudson to help with a solution, which was trialled on the farm’s BouMatic rotary parlour.
Individual and pivoted supports at each milking point, just require the milking staff to raise the supports and quickly select one of three slots in which to place the long milk and pulsation tubes after attaching the cluster, depending on the profile of the udder. The ACR cord is slipped in or below the same slot, and when milking is complete and ACR activated, the retracting cord causes the support to pivot back to its rest position.
Lactalign was installed on all 72 points of the Metcalfe Farms rotary milking parlour at Washfold Farm in December 2020. The device has resulted in a 59% reduction in liner slip, a 47% reduction in kick-offs, a 65% reduction in re-attachments and a 50% reduction in mastitis cases in front quarters.
Problem solving for farmers
LAMMA’s Innovation Awards celebrate advances in the farming industry and highlight the contribution of agricultural manufacturers.
Entries were judged by an independent panel of industry experts according to a range of criteria including design innovation, practical impact, the sustainability of the product and its impact on the environment.
Commenting on the award, JF Hudson Ltd managing director James Hudson said: “We are delighted that LAMMA has recognised the innovation that went into developing Lactalign as at JF Hudson we pride ourselves on taking the initiative on problem solving for farmers.
“Helping farmers to maximise their operations while reducing inputs motivates us when designing products. Lactalign is a prime example of keeping that in mind to come up with a simple device that will provide the solution without adding extra time, labour or costs by using it.”
He added: “Introducing ways to reduce costs on your dairy unit is well worth it. We all know that the coming year won’t be a smooth ride. High input costs are a challenge and combined with other rising prices, it all puts pressure on margins.
“We appreciate LAMMA providing us exhibitors with a platform to highlight our commitment to supporting farmers preserve profitability as much as possible against factors they cannot control.”
Philip Metcalfe who runs the 1,300-cow dairy unit at Metcalfe Farms said Lactalign’s impact has been better than they could have hoped for.
“They have paid for themselves several times over in the reduction of mastitis but also reduce operator frustration and improved animal comfort with less liner slip, kick-offs and re-attachments. The Lactalign supports have done nearly three million milkings with only two parts requiring replacement which shows the quality of Lactalign supports.”
The award also won the Highly Commended in the Award for Innovation category at The Cream Awards 2022.
It can be retrofitted to rotary, rapid exit and herringbone configurations. The award-winning device is available to view at LAMMA on JF Hudson’s stand: 7.446 in Hall 7.