Sharemilking is going much better for us this year than it did last year, too.
When sharemilking, my cow holds back most of the cream for the calf and is resistant to letting down for me, so I use the calf to get letdown started, then milk her out as best I can, allowing the calf to clean up the last of the milk/the best of the cream <Sigh>.
Last year, her calf started cutting her teats at 3 mos old, so I decided to wean her. Within three days, I was down from almost two gallons of milk a day to little over a quart. The cow was trying to dry herself off! So I bought a foster calf, unfortunately, all I could get at the time was a Holstein. Within six weeks, he was so big I couldn't manage him, so I went back to using the original calf to get letdown started. When the cow was six months pregnant, she started kicking at her calf, so I went to milking once a day and she actually let down for me. Even though it was only for the month before I had to dry her off, I was elated.
This year, I again sharemilked. When I was really busy with preserving the harvest from the garden, it was great to have a "relief milker", as by that time the calf was big enough to handle all the milk she had. I only separated them overnight a couple of times a week to get enough milk for the house. I weaned the calf just over a week ago, as things have settled down and I'm ready to get back to cheesemaking. She held up against me as best she could, but still gave me a gallon and a quart for OAD milking. Over the past two days, she went up to a gallon and a half and a quarter of it is cream. She still has some firmness in the upper portions of her front quarters, but I am sure that I will get full letdown within the next few days.
I am very relieved that I don't have to buy another foster calf this year!