Influence of milking technique and lactation on the bovine teat by means of ultrasonographic examination.
The teats of Brown Swiss and Austrian Simmental cows, divided into two groups, one milked by means of an automatic milking system, the other using a conventional milking parlour, were examined monthly by ultrasonography. Aim of the study was to compare the effects of two different milking machines upon the structures of the bovine teat canal and wall by ultrasonography and thereby evaluate ultrasonography as a research tool for visualisation of different influences on the bovine teat. Length and thickness of the teat canal and teat wall thickness were measured and analysed. During lactation, teat canal length and thickness increased in both groups, teat canal length decreased in conventional milked cows at the end of lactation. Shorter and narrower teat canals were observed in automatic milked cows. Differences between the groups in teat canal length and thickness were determined in early lactation. During lactation teat wall thickness showed a slight increase. Automatic milked cows displayed thinner teat walls than cows milked in the milking parlour. Teat morphology was influenced by the number and duration of lactations, milk yield, quarter of the udder and time and date of examination. It was concluded that the effect of the two different milking machines caused significant differences in bovine teat morphology and that ultrasonography proved to be an appropriate method for visualising influences of the milking technique on the bovine teat.