Virtually all infections enter the udder through the teat openings. Your milking machine spends 50 - 100 hours attached to each teat in a lactation. Machine malfunctions cause teat damage and increase the risk of infection.
Regular service and maintenance of your milking machine will help ensure that:
- Speed and completeness of milking is maintained
- Risk of mastitis due to milking machine faults is minimised.
25.1 - Fully test and service your milking machine twice per year
Your milking machine should be monitored, tested and adjusted as often as necessary during lactation.
Don't rely on an annual service.
Additional testing and service is recommended if any of the following are observed:
- Cows appear to milk slowly or incompletely
- Teatcups slip or fall frequently
- Teat condition is poor; or
- Cows appear nervous or uncomfortable.
Machine testing Conduct a complete NZMPTA test when:
- A new milking system has been installed, before acceptance and supplying final payment
- Major service work or an upgrade on an existing installation has been completed
- At least once per year.
See Guideline 6 - for practical tips on checking milking machine function.
25.2 - Use a milking machine technician who tests to NZMPTA standards
Make sure your technician performs tests according to NZMPTA (NZ Milking & Pumping Trade Association) standards.
Confirm this before making the booking; the technician should have a current NZMPTA certification. A full list of current certified technicians can be found online at www.nzmpta.co.nz.
There are 5 different types of tests that most milking machine testers can undertake:
- Physical measurements
- Dry tests
- Wet tests
- Milking-time tests
- Cleaning-time tests
25.3 - Insist that the technician provides and explains a full written report
An NZMPTA test report form provides a summary on the first 3 pages, and full details of milking machine performance, before and after adjustment. The report will compare your machine performance against the current NZMPTA recommendations.
The technician should explain the details of the report to you.
See Technote 25 for more information on interpreting a milking machine test report.
25.4 - Carry out all recommendations
Make sure that the report describes which recommendations are:
- Urgent and require immediate action
- Important but not urgent
- Ideal or cosmetic changes
Make a plan with a schedule that will fit in with other work commitments and cash flow. Don’t put off making the plan until some other time.
You may find it useful to discuss the plan with other milk quality advisers (your milk quality advisor, veterinarian or other milk harvesting specialist).