Are milking machines safe? Top tips for safe usage

milking machines

How do you milk your cows? Is it the up-close and gentle way where you get personal with your dairy animal or the hands-off milking machinery procedure? Although hand milking evokes a sense of humbleness to the ancient procedure, financial sense calls for a more sophisticated and efficient technique. Milking machines that work for cows, goats and sheep, easily customizable to your needs have proven to work effectively. However, many have been wondering about its safety.

The automatic milking machine for cows and other dairy animals is an assembly of components designed to handle as many as 200 animals in an hour (the number might vary with implemented technology). Together, they allow milk to flow into a processing plant or a simple storage unit. Is the efficient machine safe for cows, and how should you use it?

History of milking machines

milking machines
A close up of a farmer milking a dairy cow on a ethical raw milk dairy farm. The farmer is putting the udders in the milking machine.

The development of a usable milking machine took several years of trial and error. It wasn’t rapidly accepted as other dairy innovations like hygienic milking and processing.

Around 380 B.C, Egyptians inserted straws into cow’s teats to draw milk. It wasn’t until 1851 that suctions were utilized as a means of harvesting milk. However, it wasn’t successful as it drew too much blood and caused massive fluid congestion in the teat. Therefore, further innovation was encouraged.

Milking machines became common in the dairy industry in the 1920s, and it has become a norm in commercial milk production, saving numerous working hours. However, the local farmer often uses manual means, perhaps worried about the cost of milking machines.

The working system developed over a century ago has been refined and improved to meet today’s needs. That is why it is easy finding portable cow milking machines for sale.

Are milking machines safe?

Who wouldn’t fancy multitasking while milking? Farmers relish in every extra minute they gain when using milking machines, but is the process safe?

First, the bucket is entirely enclosed when using the milking machine, eliminating any contamination during milking. This way, the milk stays fresh and clean. However, farmers are worried about the suction effect of the milking machine apparatus. Can it hurt the cow?

Milking machine makers are subject to certain standards; some are self-imposed. Therefore, all the equipment is set up by trained dealers and electrical contractors that ascertain it abides by agricultural engineering standards.

On top of this, development in technology has introduced numerous innovations in milking machines. For instance, automatic detacher units connect loosely to the milking claw and give the cow a chance to move during milking. Also, there are automatic backflushing (send chemicals through pipelines and clusters) that reduces infection risk.

How to safely use milking equipment

milking machines
Milking machine suction tube on goat’s udder.

Once you access a cow milking machine for sale, the next thing is to put it into use. If you are a novice, you might injure the dairy animal. What are the best usage practices?

1. Check the machine before utilization

It is vital to confirm whether the milking machine is in good condition before milking. Therefore, facilitate basic cleaning and maintenance procedures to ensure the parts are well oiled or greased and good.

2. Secure the dairy animal’s teats

Are the teats clean? Clean and secure the teats the same way you do when milking by hands. This helps keep the milk cleans and free of contaminants.

3. Turn on the machine

Since the machine ought to build sufficient pressure, turning it on before starting the milking process is a good idea.

4. Hand milk

Hand milking is necessary to let down the milk. This process, referred to as stripping helps encourage the milk to flow from the teat.

5. Put the suction device

Place each suction device on the dairy animal’s teat after you release the machine pressure. Once you release the pressure build up on the machine, the suction begins immediately.

6. Keep the machine on

The machine’s time varies, but you need to ascertain that the dairy animal’s milk is fully drained.

7. Switch off the machine

Here, you have to follow a certain order for maximum safety. First, turn off the milking machine’s suction and remove it.

8. Clean the animal’s teats

Clean the udder as you would normally do during the manual process. It helps protect the teat from bacteria.

What is the cost of a milk machine?

The cost of milking machines in Kenya varies with technology (capability) and size. Ordinarily, robust and portable milking machines for sale in Kenya can cost you between Ksh.50,000 and Ksh.70,000.

How does a milking machine work?

Although milking machines look complex, they operate by a simple principle. The teacups attached to the dairy animal’s teats possess rubbers or silicone liners. These are worked by a pulsator valve that is connected to a vacuum pump.

Once the pulsator pulls a vacuum on the pulsation chamber, the liner opens, and the teat is exposed. This exposure causes milk to flow. Normally, the pulsator operates at a rate of 60 cycles per minute.

Is milking machine good for cows?

If you are checking out the price of milking machines in Kenya, you will likely be interested in the machine’s safety. Like any other machine, the milking equipment is built according to industry standards and conforms to certain minimum structural and safety requirements. Unless you utilize it wrongly, milking machines are safe and good for cows.

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