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What's this USA Pre-treatment?

To prepare the cow for milking and let her fully participate in the milking process, pre-treatment of the cow is important for good milking performance. Pre-treatment on the Lely Astronaut is done by using pre-treatment brushes. The pre-treatment brushes have a dual function of both cleaning the teats and stimulation of milk let down from the alveoli. Clean teats result in a hygienic milking by removing dirt, manure, bedding material, udder care residues, and bacteria from the teats and lower udder. Sufficient stimulation and lag time results in a good start of the milking process by preventing bimodality. Hereby, the pre-treatment concept contributes to a clean, comfortable, and complete milking.

For successful application of pre-treatment, Lely recommends a minimum of 2 cleaning treatments per teat to ensure clean teats. A higher number of treatments is proven more effective compared to one treatment with a longer duration. For a sufficient lag time, the advice is to have at least 2x3 seconds on the Astronaut A3 and A4. To accommodate milk secretion at the A5, the advice is to have at least 2x4 seconds since the A5 attaches the teat cups more accurately. Quality and cleanliness of the brushes are important parameters for good pre-treatment. Therefore, it is advised to regularly check the wear and tear of the pre-treatment brushes and replace these after 30.000 milking's. Besides, several settings on the Astronaut influence pre-treatment performance, e.g., brush height or USA pre-treatment. In this article, the setting USA pre-treatment will be covered.

USA pre-treatment

An additional pre-treatment routine is added when the USA pre-treatment method is enabled, which is required by USA regulations. Outside the USA, USA pre-treatment is sometimes enabled in case of extreme udder health challenges. Enabling USA pre-treatment changes the pre-treatment routine and:

  • Requires changes to Horizon pre-treatment settings;

  • Increases consumables consumption.

With the USA pre-treatment method enabled, the cleaning routine of the brushes is different. The USA pre-treatment is a fixed routine in the robot software. This method cleans the brushes after the Horizon routines of teat cleaning. Horizon settings regarding the pre-treatment are used during the first pre-treatment routine. In the second pre-treatment routine, the brush time duration is a fixed value as well as the number of treatments (1 treatment). During this routine, there is no movement in the X direction at the teat. Settings need to be changed on the E-link. When USA pre-treatment is enabled, this is turned on for all cows on that specific Astronaut since it is a robot setting.

Verify that the drying nozzle is connected and working after turning on the USA pre-treatment. The USA pre-treatment option without the teat drying function can result in milking wet teats and therefore increase the risk of suboptimal milking performance. USA pre-treatment also takes longer, and might require changes in Horizon settings as well.

USA pre-treatment settings

The following settings are available in the E-Link:

  • Pre teat treatment USA: Enable or disable USA pre-treatment

  • Brush dry time 1: The time that the pre-treatment brushes are cleaned between the first pre-treatment (as set in Horizon) and the second extra pre-treatment routine (USA pre-treatment). 2 seconds are recommended

  • Brush dry time 2: Dry time of the brushes before the second extra pre-treatment routine starts. 4 seconds are recommended.

  • Dry teats: Time to dry teats with air. 3 seconds are recommended

Note that up to 30 seconds can be added to the USA pre-treatment cleaning routine. Hereby, USA pre-treatment can add more variation to the pre-treatment routines between farms or robots due to more settings that can be adjusted compared to the pre-treatment settings in Horizon only.

Pre-treatment time with USA pre-treatment

Enabling USA pre-treatment adds extra time to the pre-treatment. It is known that increasing pre-treatment time can reduce bimodality and thus can have a positive effect on milking performance. Pre-treatment times below 60 seconds are suboptimal and are related to higher incidences of bimodality. Pre-treatment times with 2 pre-treatment routines and USA-pre-treatment enabled are around 70 seconds or longer. When improved milking performance is observed after enabling USA pre-treatment, this can be linked to longer lag times and reduced bimodality. Especially when pre-treatment times were too short in first instance, adding time to the pre-treatment routine will benefit cows immediately. Extending pre-treatment settings in Horizon offers the same possibility without additional consumables or a hardware update.

Below is an example of bimodal milking

Example of Bimodal milking

If you have any questions, contact your FMS specialist

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