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Parlor towel cost comes down to cents
From Dairy Herd Management

The economic difference between using individual cloth or disposable towels in your parlor is less than 1 cent per cow per day, according to research from Washington State University.

The researchers factored in equipment cost, cloth towel cost and operating cost to determine that a 200-cow dairy on 2X milking would spend about $790 annually to use cloth towels in the parlor. That figure equates to just more than a penny per cow per day. Therefore, the authors say, any alternative to cloth towels must cost approximately a penny or less per cow per day to be more economical.

For the complete study click here:  Washington State University Study - "Cloth vs Paper Towels"

Managing for Milk Quality

Pamela L. Ruegg, DVM, MPVM - University of Wisconsin–Madison


Adequate Drying - Effective drying of teats is probably the most important step in hygienic pre-milking preparation. 


In Wisconsin freestall operations, 65% reported the use of 1 cloth towel per cow, 27% used 1 disposable paper towel per cow and 8% used 1 paper or cloth towel to dry udders on 2 cows. There are a wide variety of paper and cloth towels that are used to dry teats and recently the use of wet towels to dry teats has become popular. Moisture is an important growth requirement for bacteria and wet towels do not adequately remove moisture. Cloth towels have the advantage of being more absorbent than paper towels but should be disinfected by washing with bleach or very hot water and drying at high temperature in an automatic dryer (Fox, 1997). Cloth towels should be of adequate size, monitored for wear and replaced when worn. The buildup of chemical residues on some towels made of synthetic fibers can reduce the absorbency and effectiveness of the towel.

For the complete study click here:  University of Wisconsin-Madison Study - "Managing for Milk Quality"

Ask the Expert - How can we ensure our udder prep towels are truly clean and sanitized?

ABS Newsletter - Dr Roger Thomson, Team Management Concepts

ABS Ask the Expert - Part 1 of 2

ABS Ask the Expert - Part 1 of 2

Click below to see other research studies on Cloth Dairy Towels

Virginia Cooperative Extension Study - "Cent-sible Udder Prep"

Virginia Cooperative Extension Study - "What does clean mean?"