Dynamic milking machine test: improving performance, not just ticking boxes

The value in dynamic milk testing

By Rosina Monk

The average milking machine is working at least twice a day, seven days a week and has an intimate role in cow health and how they perform.

Over 98% of farmers will currently have a static test carried out to maintain this machine and to meet the requirements of farm assurance, but is that enough? When we think about just how hard a milking machine works, surely it makes sense to ensure any test carried out will go beyond the basics and evaluate if the milking and parlour routine is optimised for your cows?

Getting to the heart of the milking machine

This is where a dynamic milking machine test comes in. It’ll help get to the heart of the milking process, identify where improvements can be made and how time can be saved.

You only need to look at the facts to see the value in this.

It will not only identify if components are in working order but can also highlight how effective the milking machine is at harvesting milk and any impact it might have on cow health.

For example, the teat trauma resulting in a reddened and distended teat, leading to teat end damage, could be caused by a number of factors including incorrectly set ACRs and the vacuum. A dynamic test will pinpoint the exact cause.

This is where this test really scores. It looks at the whole milking process and the interactions between the machine, the cow and the operator. It gives detailed insight into how all three interact and allows measurement of actual teat end vacuum levels, whether correct pre-milking preparation has been exercised to ensure speedy let down, the degree of under/over milking, and whether milk flooding in the claw and tubing is adversely effecting the teat end vacuum.

Looking at liner slippage

Liner slippage is another problem that the test will highlight. This occurs when the liner wall comes away from the teat, allowing air to be drawn into the mouthpiece of the liner. This causes a sudden pressure drop and can result in small droplets of milk being propelled at high speed towards the open teat orifice, taking any pathogens present in the liner with them and potentially infecting the cow.

Ensuring correct vacuum levels can play a big part in improving udder health and reducing the need for antibiotics either during the lactation or at drying off.

Improve milking performance

Given the fundamental importance of the milking machine to a business, it’s strongly advisable farmers have a regular milking machine test including a dynamic test. Milking machine testing by a qualified person is about ensuring the parlour is doing the best for your business and your cows, and many of the changes identified can be quickly and cost-effectively rectified.

By improving milking machine operation, cell counts can be maintained or improved while teat end condition and udder health is protected.  Furthermore, milking time could be reduced saving on electricity and other expenses, which together could add up to a reduction in production costs.

The milking specialists at Genus ABS are on hand to undertake a full dynamic milking test, providing insight into your milking machine, cattle and operators.

Email farmdirect@genusplc.com or call 01270 616816 for a quote.

For further guidance on cow comfort and how to create the best conditions for your cattle, get in touch with our farming consultancy team. They’re on hand to help you make informed decisions about caring for your dairy cows.