Have you ever tried to explain the mysteries of milking machines to clients, dealers or students, or wondered which machine settings are best for a particular client? If so, then help is at hand. Two founding members of the UW Milking Research and Instruction Laboratory – Graeme Mein and Doug Reinemann – have published a new technical book based on their interpretation of current scientific knowledge combined with field experience about what appears to work successfully in commercial practice. Machine Milking, Volume One comprises expanded and updated versions of three chapters from the technical book, Machine Milking and Lactation, which was published in 1992 by Insight Books (Vermont, USA) but which has been out of print for more than ten years. It describes and explains interactions between the physical forces developed within a milking machine, the physical and biological responses of teats to milking, and the influence of the milking machine on new mastitis infection rates.
The first chapter concludes with a summary of current knowledge of the mechanics of the teat and teatcup as the basis for understanding – and managing – the effects of the main machine factors on milking characteristics and teat condition. The second chapter builds on this summary of practical implications of current knowledge. It provides a methodology for choosing vacuum levels, pulsation settings and detacher settings in relation to the relevant sections of International Standard ISO 5707:2007, the US national standard ADS 5707:2011 and the US National Mastitis Council guidelines (Procedures for Evaluating Vacuum Levels and Airflows in Milking Systems).
The main purposes of the third chapter are to clarify some of the mysteries or misconceptions about the machine and to describe its likely contributions to new infection rates in commercial herds. Powerful physical forces are applied by the milking machine to a cow’s teats for 4-10 minutes, two or three times every day. The inside of a teatcup is where the business-end of a complex machine meets and interacts with biological tissues – where the rubber meets the teat. If things start to go wrong, then udder health specialists and machine technicians need to know what to look for, how to resolve problems quickly and how to minimize future risks.