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Milking Cluster Support Bracket
Philip Metcalfe has no time to spare when he and his crew are running cows through their 72-head rotary parlor. The British dairyman recognized a problem with milker clusters not hanging evenly and falling off. Lactalign was his answer.
“Lactalign supports the clusters’ milk return and vacuum pipes,” says Metcalfe. “When not in use, it rotates out of the way.”
An unbalanced cluster puts uneven weight across the four quarters of the udder, increasing the chance of liner slip or kick-off. Even if reattached, milk letdown is interrupted, making complete emptying unlikely. This can affect milk yield and cow health. Uneven weight across the four quarters can also cause teat end damage and increase the chance of mastitis.
Metcalfe credits a local design and fabrication firm with helping him develop Lactalign. The device evens out the weight distribution of the cluster across the four quarters.
“I had the initial concept of a support using the Automatic Cup Removal (ACR) cord to pull it over,” he says. “With that in mind, I approached James Hudson, who then further developed it. It’s fantastic having someone with his experience and skills being local to do innovations like this.”
The relatively flat, high-density polyurethane support Metcalfe and Hudson came up with attaches to the parlor wall behind and below the cow udder. When the milking cluster is attached, the Lactalign support is rotated up and into place. The vacuum line and milk return pipe are placed in one of three height-appropriate optional positions. The ACR cord crosses behind the device. When milk flow stops, the ACR pulls the milking cluster off the udder, pushing against the device and rotating it out of the way.
Once Lactalign units were in place in Metcalfe’s rotary parlor, the herd recorded a 50 percent decline in mastitis in front quarters, a 59.6 percent decrease in liner slippage, a 47 percent reduction in kick-offs, and a 65 percent reduction in reattachments.
Lactalign is now available in the U.K. for £150.00 GBP ($182 U.S.) per unit. Metcalfe is hoping to establish distributors in Europe, as well as North America and elsewhere.
“Dealer inquiries are very welcome,” says Metcalfe. “As soon as we have a distributor appointed and they have a network set up, shipping could be relatively instant.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ruswick Grange, Newton Le Willows, Bedale, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom DL8 1TG, (ph 07803 765440; info@lactalign.com; www.lactalign.com).

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2022 - Volume #46, Issue #5