Dynamic Milking Machine Test / Milking Time Assessment

The milking machine can transmit infection onto teats and disturb normal teat health. Milking-time tests allow advisors to quantify the degree to which the milking machine might be contributing to the risk of new intra-mammary infection.

Cows' teat size and position have changed as have milk flow rates. Milk yields have been rising faster than unit attachment times. Milk flow rate has been shown to be positively associated with risk of new intra-mammary infection.

Vacuum traces collected during milking can illustrate problems with biphasic milk flow or over milking and pressure records can help assess liner function
Mouthpiece chamber (MPC) vacuum
A MPC vacuum level close to the teat end vacuum is likely to cause tissue changes in the teat base region. A very low MPC vacuum is associated with liner slips and unstable milking unit. The MPC vacuum is influenced by teatcup cluster properties, but also by teat properties (Borkhus and Rønningen, 2003). In a herd, the MPC vacuum will show wide variation. Research has shown (Rønningen and Rasmussen, 2008) that the proportion of cows milked with a medium MPC vacuum (10 – 30 kPa) in the peak flow period is strongly associated with the mastitis status.
Teat end vacuum
The average teat end vacuum during milking, or the average vacuum during milk flow phases of each pulsation cycle, is regarded as an important tuning parameter for milking machines. The teat end vacuum can also be used to indicate the amount of compressive load from the liner on the teat during the rest phase of the pulsation cycle (Rønningen and Rasmussen, 2008). Another aspect of the teat end vacuum is vacuum stability. This is associated with udder health, and can be quantified as irregular vacuum fluctuations (Davis and Reinemann, 2001). Still one measure found to be important for udder health is teat end vacuum instantaneously lower than the MPC vacuum (Rasmussen, 1998).
Duration of milking
The vacuum records also supply information about the duration of the whole milking of a cow and for parts of a milking, like the peak flow period or the overmilking period. Supplemented with the milk yield, duration of milking can produce figures for milk flow rate.

  • Provide good milking performance. Cows should milk out gently cleanly and in a short period of time. The milking system should not interfere with milk let-down, which could reduce yield and alter composition. Many years ago, research showed that mastitis in subclinically infected cows became clinical when cows were not milked out.
  • Prevent contamination of teat and udder tissue with increased bacteria concentrations that invade and infect the udder, causing development of new mastitis infections and higher somatic cell counts. Bacterial invasion of the teat can result from: (a) transfer of infectious organisms from cow to cow on teatcup liners, (b) cross contamination from one quarter to another on the same cow caused by pressure changes within the milking unit, (c) conditions that damage teat ends and allow organisms to colonize and multiply in damaged tissue, and (d) conditions that create teat end impacts by bacteria-laden milk droplets with sufficient velocity to enhance the ability of mastitis-causing organisms to enter the teat canal and access the udder.
  • Hyperkeratosis means “excessive keratin growth.” It is a normal physiological response to the forces applied to the teat skin during milking, either by a milking machine, a handmilker or a calf. The onset and severity of hyperkeratosis is profoundly influenced by the over-riding effects of milking management, herd milk production level and genetics of individual cows. Reports of teat-end hyperkeratosis problems are far more prevalent in high-producing herds.
  • Provide adequate collapse of teat cup liners and massage of teats during the pulsation cycle. The function of pulsation is to massage the teat at regular intervals and maintain blood circulation, preventing teat congestion. Malfunctioning pulsators and/or poor teatcup liner performance may lead to inadequate milk removal and/or damage to teat ends, causing mastitis and reduced milk production (Bray et al., 1998).
  • Operator assessment: observing techniques and practices in the parlour, correcting those which may encourage pathogen spread or teat damage.
  • Teat Barrel Congestion - This condition is the accumulation of fluid in the teat tissues in the barrel of the teat. .
  • Be easy to clean, handle, and maintain with best policy developement.

 

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    Mastitis is costing the UK dairy industry around £150 million a year and is the third most common reason for cows to be culled.Find out more

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