Milking machines also referred to as Automatic Milking Systems (AMS) or milkers are mechanical pressure based devices used for milking cows. It was invented over 10 decades ago and the first milking gadget was patented in the early 1900’s. This was the best invention created for dairy farmers that not only made milking easy, fast and hygienic but also more comfortable for the cows as well. However, finding the perfect one for your requirements can be challenging as it is very important to get a suitable machine that will provide maximum milk productivity and efficiency all year round.
This is a structure or room constructed for the mass milking of large herds of cows at the same time. Knowing your parlour setup will help you determine and choose the correct milking machine for your farm. These are most popular types of milking parlors:
- Herringbone: The suction tubes are placed at a 45 degree angle from the side of the cow.
- Tandem: Arranges cows in sequence, using the nose to the tail formation.
- Parallel: Uses the one-way system and has two rows on each side of the working area and the suction tubes are placed directly behind the cow.
- Chute: Similar to the tandem, the cows enter one after the other from one end, get milked and exited via the next stall where upon completion they are released.
- Rotary: Comprises the merry-go-round system with a rotating dais that speeds along the milking process of the suction tubes, mainly used in large dairy ranches.
- Robotic: Are programmed sets of robots stationed in the parlour that milks the cows.
- Parabone: Is a combo of the herringbone and parallel parlour with the suction tubes being placed at 70 degree angles.
Once you establish the type of parlour you have or intend to install, then you can go shopping for the machine. Prices of cow milking machines in the market vary and are mainly influenced and based on the manufacturer, type of parlour, power source, model and machinery.
Types Of Milking Machines
Most milkers have five key components: vacuum pump, vacuum regulator, pulsation system, milk transportation pipeline/tubes and a stainless steel milk container/cluster bowl. The most bought devices are either fixed or portable and are single milking – milks between 10 to 12 cows per hour or double milking – which milk 20 to 24 cows hourly. There are also a variety of milking apparatus in the dairy market with different power sources and they range from Portable Electrical, Mounted Electrical, Gasoline & Electric (Hybrid), Mini Portable, Automatic Portable, Manual/Hand Operated Electrical and Rechargeable Battery Operated machines. Now, let’s take a look at three common types of machines found:
Bucket: Are simple manual milking machines that are motorized by a combustion engine. They are easy to install and inexpensive, ideal for small to medium sized herds.
Pipeline: This continuous pipeline set up transports milk directly from the cow’s teats to a communal milk reservoir. It is suitable for commercial dairy farms that have a heavy workload.
Parlour: Have centralized equipment which is installed in milking parlours.
With the above information in mind, it is still imperative for you to do your due diligence; extensive research on the product. Always check the reviews, compare milking machines prices with other suppliers and get recommendations of the retailer/company from reputable sources/experts or other farmers before purchasing the device.
- It is faster than manual labour and requires very little human resource to operate.
- It improves the health and stress levels of the animals and provides milking consistency.
- It acts as a quality check control gadget for the farmer’s milk production therefore improving herd management and data collection.
- The portable versions make it easy to operate as you can milk the cows anywhere in the
- The machines are power driven/dependent; they require the use of electricity, batteries or a backup power supply.
- There is a risk of udder and teat infections spreading amongst the herd as a result of excessive machine usage.
- The high cost of electricity will drive up the production and utility costs of the farm.
- Spare parts for some of these machines are not readily available and are also costly to maintain.
Now that you have purchased your milking machine, after sales care and service is key. It is important to note that milking machines MUST be cleaned after every session to avoid the spread of infection.
According to Milking machines Kenya, Weekly maintenance has to be conducted to ensure a well maintained and calibrated machine. Lastly it is essential that annual service is performed by a licensed and certified technician to get the best performance from your machinery. All in all, choose the machine that best suits your pocket and your farm.