Follow these tips for your automated alley scraper system
Manage your alley scraper system to help ensure your cows are safe and clean with these tips:
- Check your control panel load sensor seasonally to monitor the scraper system’s power. Monitoring its power will limit the chance of creating extremely high cable tension and help you notice abnormal power spikes.
- Manage the control panel settings for proper sensitivity, especially during dry conditions or when you bed stalls.
- Properly adjust the tension of your scraper cable, rope or chain system to prevent scrapers from jumping around and potentially pinching a tail against the curb. Your local equipment dealer can assist you with this task if needed, or check the manual for detailed instructions.
- Leave 1 inch between your scraper wing and the curb to help prevent pinching tails.
- Consider having a scraper wing with a roller for offset alleys or if you want to keep the blade tip touching the curb.
- Choose a blade that has smooth surfaces near the stall beds as they make it more difficult to snag a loose strand of hair.
- Take care of sharp edges, protruding bolts or pinch points immediately to reduce injury to your cows.
- Be sure your brisket board is in its proper position for your herd (typically 65–72 inches ahead of the rear curb) to allow cows to move ahead in the stall. This adjustment will allow cows to have more of their body in the stall. Note: It may require more frequent cleaning of the stall bed as the chance of manure in the rear third of the stall may increase.
- Maintain a fly abatement program and ensure proper airflow to reduce the presence of flies. This reduces the likelihood of a cow to swing her tail and leave it in the alley.
- Adjust scraper run times to align with milking, feeding or pushing up feed to reduce the chance of a cow lying in the stall at scraping times.
- Alter feeding pattern to align with the scraper position in pens.
Other management considerations include having safety glasses for your employees to prevent tail switches from harming their eyes during milking. Having a tail trimming protocol that works for your dairy’s schedule is also beneficial. For example, you may consider trimming every cow’s tail when she calves.
“A clean environment is key for high-milk quality,” says Lenkaitis. “By taking care of your automated barn scraper system, you will take care of your cows and your cows will take care of you.”
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