In a herringbone milking parlour, teat cup liners were deliberately contaminated in turn with Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus agalactiae and Sterp uberis. Contamination was achieved by filling the liners with milk that contained 10(6) test organisms per ml. After the clusters had been back-flushed with water at 85 degrees C for five seconds, normal swabbing methods failed to recover any contaminating organisms from the teat liners in 56 tests out of 64. After 10 seconds back-flushing no recoveries were made in the same number of tests. The apparatus developed to effect this back-flushing for a particular herringbone parlour is described, with details of its routine use during milking. For a 100-cow herd, the running cost of such equipment using a five-second back-flush is estimated at no more than 4 pounds per week and, in its present form, would not add more than 10 seconds to the total milking time for each cow. Improvements in design of the apparatus, and in milking techniques arising from the routine use of the device, are also considered.
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