Milking by time with MaxT

October 1 2019

MaxT shortens milking times by as much as 30 percent. With no adverse   effects on milk quality, production or cow health – and less time in the dairy for staff and cows – it’s a win-win worth trying, says DairyNZ Lower North Island consulting officer Kate Stewart.

MaxT basic principles

MaxT stands for ‘maximum milking time’. This is the maximum time cows should have the cups on, when 80  percent of the cows are fully milked and 20 percent of the slowest cows are still milking. This is because MaxT defers milk to the next milking where it can be harvested more efficiently.

Contrary to common myths, using this approach and  leaving milk behind in the udder until the next milking has no negative effects on milk quality, milk production or somatic cell counts (SCC). As a result of implementing MaxT, farmers have achieved more cows per hour through the dairy, which helps to get people home earlier and cows in the paddock for longer.

Check out the MaxT concept video showing how milk is efficiently deferred – and

How MaxT works

MaxT reduces or limits the time required to milk slow- milking cows, and efficiently defers milk. MaxT time is calculated from the average milk yield (litres) being produced, with 80 percent of the cows being fully milked within this  time. New Zealand and Australian research has shown this doesn’t affect milk production, SCC or teat health, but it does speed up row or round times, getting people and cows out of the dairy earlier.

Implementing MaxT on-farm

  1. Calculate cows milked/hour to establish current performance.
  2. Implement when you have reasonable control of mastitis and SCC.
  3. Calculate MaxT time.
  4. Take cups off when the MaxT time has been reached (or, if using automatic cup removers, set the maximum milk- out time to the MaxT time).
  5. Get the whole team on board – the incentive is that they spend less time in the dairy.

Calculating MaxT – Top Tips

Rotary Implementation

Convert platform speed to its correlating round time and the time from cups on, to cups off in minutes.

Have these numbers on the dairy wall so it’s easy to look up the speed settings for each MaxT time.

Herringbone Implementation

Use the timer on your phone. Start it when the first  cow for that row is cupped.

When the MaxT time is done, start changing cups consistently down the pit (make sure you don’t miss

any cows).

Calculation example

  1. Determine the mean daily milk yield per cow: e.g. 24 litres (L)/cow/day
  2. Calculate litres accumulated per hour (h): e.g. 24L ÷ 24h = 1L/h
  3. Determine the hours between a.m. and p.m. milkings: e.g. 5 a.m. and 2 p.m. = 9h and 15h
  4. Multiply litres accumulated per hour by hours between each milking:
    • e.g. 15h x 1L/h = 15L harvested at a.m
    • e.g. 9h x 1L/h = 9L harvested at p.m.
  1. Look up these figures in the MaxT table to get your MaxT time: e.g. a.m. = 8:21 min:sec, p.m. = 5:48 min:sec

Calculate your own MaxT time and view the table at or

Find out more about MaxT and other milking efficiency approaches at


Frequently Asked Questions

1.   Can you implement MaxT in a herringbone and a rotary?

Yes – it can be implemented in either type of dairy, with or without automatic cup removers.

2.   What if my slow milkers are my highest producers?

Firstly, don’t assume slow milkers are high-yielding cows. Often these are cows with low milk-flow rates. If you have several slow milkers or high producers you want to milk  out fully, mark with paint to identify they’re not for MaxT. Then milk these cows out fully at one milking a day. In a herringbone dairy, cup them as soon as you see them. In a rotary shed, send them around twice in the afternoon.

3.   Do I need to have a different MaxT time for both milkings?

Some farmers have improved milking efficiency through adjusting the MaxT times slightly and implementing the same time for morning and afternoon milkings. This often results in less than 20 percent of cows being shortened in the afternoon, although less time will be saved compared to calculating the MaxT time for a.m. and p.m. milkings.

4.   How often should I recalculate my MaxT time?

When using before peak, calculate using last year’s peak volume. Post-peak, re-calculate weekly for maximum efficiency.


Media inquiries:

Vanessa Fever

Senior Communications and Media Specialist

Phone 027 836 6295

Lee Cowan

Senior Engagement & Communications Manager

Phone 021 930 836

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