Milking Machine Care


2 min read

Checking your milking machine Servicing your milking machine Related causes of contamination

In typical New Zealand dairy herds, faulty milking equipment is estimated to cause as many as 40-50% of new clinical mastitis cases. Over an extended period, poorly functioning milking machines cause teat damage and increase the risk of infection. Regular maintenance is an essential component of the mastitis status of your herd.

Regular service and maintenance of your milking machine will help ensure that the speed and completeness of milking is maintained, and the risk of mastitis due to milking machine faults is minimised.

Regularly checking your milking machine

Problems are often due to inadequate maintenance of mechanical components and rubberware, so keep a regular check list and maintenance routine in place.

Guideline 6 provides practical information on:

  • Daily, weekly and monthly checks of machine function 
  • Vacuum levels and milking times 
  • When to change liners 
  • When to call the milking machine tester

Technote 6 provides technical information for farmers and advisers on:

  • The process of removing milk by machine 
  • Milking-time tests of machine function 
  • Measuring completeness of milk out 
  • Principles of liner selection

Servicing your milking machine

Regular servicing of your milking machine will help ensure that the speed and completeness of milking is maintained, and the risk of mastitis due to machine faults is minimised.

Guideline 25 provides practical information on:

  • Fully testing and servicing your milking machine
  • Signs that milking machines are performing poorly
  • Using a milking machine technician who tests to New Zealand Milking and Pumping Trade Association standards
  • Types of tests that can be performed by a milking machine technician
  • Getting the technician to provide and explain a full written report
  • Making a plan for carrying out all recommendations from the report

Technote 25 provides technical information for farmers and advisers on:

  • The findings the technician's report should include
  • The most cost-effective sequence for upgrading inadequate components.

Related causes of contamination

Bacteria are spread by milkers’ hands, teatcup liners, cross flow of milk between teatcups, and splashes or aerosols of milk that occur during stripping.

Keep your hands and the milking area under the cows as free as possible from dirt and contaminated milk to reduce the transfer of bacteria. Do not use high pressure hoses directly beneath or around cows, as these can create aerosols of bacteria-laden droplets that form and settle onto cows.

Clinical cases and chronically infected cows are a source of infection for healthy cows. If these mastitis cows are milked last, the risk of spreading infection is significantly reduced.

Guideline 8 provides practical information on:

  • The importance of wearing gloves during milking
  • Disinfecting equipment used for clinical cases
  • Identifying infected cows and milking them last.

Technote 8 provides technical information for farmers and advisers on:

  • Types of gloves available (nitrile, latex, rubber)
  • Cluster flushing systems
  • Value of segregating high SCC cows.
Last updated: Sep 2023
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