Cockburn M.,Agroscope Work Buildings and System Evaluation |
Savary P.,Agroscope Work Buildings and System Evaluation |
Kauke M.,Agroscope Work Buildings and System Evaluation |
Schick M.,Agroscope Work Buildings and System Evaluation |
And 3 more authors.
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2015
Milking postures have shifted from seated milking in tethered stalls to milking in a standing position in parlors. However, the musculoskeletal workload of dairy farmers remains high. Previous studies have shown that different working heights affect ergonomics, but they could not objectively evaluate and quantify the workload. The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of working height in different milking parlor types on the milker's workload during the task of attaching milking clusters. Computer-assisted recording and long-term analysis of movements were used to record positions of joints and body regions while performing certain tasks in terms of angular degrees of joints (ADJ) according to the neutral zero method. The 5th, 50th, and 95th percentiles described the distribution of angular degree values measured for each joint. The ADJ were evaluated according to international standards and other scientific literature on the issue to assess the muscular load. The workload was compared between 5 parlor types (auto tandem, herringbone 30°, herringbone 50°, parallel, and rotary) on 15 farms with 2 subjects per parlor and 1 milking period per subject. The working height was defined as a coefficient based on the milker's body height, the floor level, and the cow's udder height. The data recorded during the attachment task were analyzed using generalized linear mixed-effects models taking into account the hierarchical experimental design. The results indicated that the interaction of the cow's udder height, the milker's body height, and the parlor type had a larger effect on ergonomics than each parameter had independently. The interaction was significant in at least 1 of the 3 percentiles in 28 out of 31 ADJ. The postural differences between parlor types, however, were minor. A milking health formula was created to calculate the ideal depth of pit by considering the parlor type, the milker's height, and the mean herd udder height. This formula can be used to develop individual recommendations for future parlor construction. © 2015 American Dairy Science Association.