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Typically, one hears the term surcingle applied only to horses. In earlier times stretching into the 1960's and before the advent of more modern milking systems, many dairy farmers used a special type of surcingle to suspend the milking machine from the cow. This type of surcingle was a wide--usually leather--belt which was placed across the cow's back slightly in front of the udder. One end of the belt had a series of brass-grommeted holes to accommodate different size cows. Attached to the other end of the belt was a slightly-arched steel rod with an indent to hold the milker in position. When milking, the farmer would approach the cow from the cow's right side, place the belt on her back, bend down, reach under the cow to grab the metal rod and hook it in an appropriate hole, hang the milker on the surcingle, apply the teat cups to the cow's teats and let the pulsating suction action of the milk machine do the actual milking. When the cow was finished--in perhaps four minutes--it was time to repeat the process with the next cow. kw

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Q: Surcingle is a belly band for milking cows?
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