The adoption of milking technologies in farming makes dairy farming seamless while boosting profit margins for farmers. This makes farm milking machines a crucial technology that farmers need for their dairy business.
However, some farmers may struggle when selecting the best machines for their needs. Therefore, this article will offer the key factors to consider when buying milking machines. It will also give a rundown of the main types of milking machines to help buyers make the right decision.
Global market overview of farm milking machines
The global farm milking machine market in 2023 is worth US$ 888 million. The market is projected to have a valuation of US$ 1.989 billion by 2033, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4%. The vast need for milk products globally will influence the market share for milking machines. Hence, farmers need to produce milk in large numbers.
As a result of this, farmers are investing in milking machines that reduce production costs and improve milk quality to meet high milk demands.
7 factors to consider when choosing farm milking machines
Food grade quality
When buying a milking machine, the food grade quality is an essential aspect buyers need to keep in mind. Buyers must invest in a machine free from any rough welding spots, old rubber parts, seams, and rust. A milker that has any of these defects affects the quality of milk.
Research on metallic corrosion in dairy equipment concludes that corroded metal affects milk flavor. Rust causes a metallic taste in dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese, and sour milk. Buyers must also confirm that the seals are stainless steel with high rust resistance.
Whether it has a pulsator
Buyers should prioritize buying a milking machine with a pulsator. A pulsator is a device in a milking machine that creates pressure to squeeze and release the udder. The absence of a pulsator makes the machine create a vacuum, which may cause discomfort when milking.
The pulsation cycle involves milking and massaging the cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s udders. A pulsator should help the farmer adjust and set the pulsation rate depending on the animal. For instance, the recommended pulsation rate in cattle ranges between 40 to 80 pulsations per minute, while a sheep rate is double at around 160 ppm. Adjusting to the wrong ppm rate may cause damage to the animals’ udders and teats.
Type of vacuum pump
Businesses should be aware of the type of vacuum pump as a consideration when choosing farm milking equipment. Vacuum pumps help to eliminate air in the milking system.
Different models have different types of vacuum pumps. The types of vacuum pumps used in milking machines are rotating vane pumps and blower pumps, which are standard pumps applied in systems like air conditioning systems and superchargers.
Some milking machine models have two vacuum pumps, where one acts as a backup option if one fails. Buyers should always confirm with the manufacturer to make sure they buy a milking machine with the vacuum pump design they prefer.
The amount of noise from the milking machine can be a concern to most people. Milking machines produce noise from the motors powering the vacuum pumps. Diesel-powered milkers make a loud noise and vigorous vibrations, while electric milking machines make low noise. Since the machine models work differently and produce different noise levels, businesses should choose a milking machine with less noise and vibrations.
Moving parts and spare parts
Businesses should consider the moving components and their spare parts before investing in milking machines. Moving parts of machines eventually break down after some time. If they break down, they should have spare parts to replace the worn-out parts of the machine.
Buyers should purchase a milking machine whose moving parts last long for consistent milk production at a low cost. Also, if parts break, they should be easy to replace.
The warranty period is also crucial when choosing a milking machine. Buyers should ensure that the milking machine manufacturer offers an extended warranty for their products. Also, buyers should confirm with the manufacturer whether the warranty covers the complete milking machine or just specific parts of the equipment. The farmer can enjoy the convenience of a farm milking machine with an extended performance guarantee.
The milking rate of the machine is also essential for businesses to consider. How many cows can the machine milk per hour? What is the capacity of the reservoir in the milk machine? If it is a portable machine, how long can it operate on a full charge? These are some questions that businesses should keep in mind related to the productivity of the machine. A good milking machine should be fast and offer a large reservoir to accommodate large amounts of milk.
Types of farm milking machines
Portable milking machines
Portable milking machines provide an easy and convenient milking process by offering a mobile option if a stationary machine is not viable. It suits milking in a barn or field, at agricultural shows, or for small herds and sick animals in inaccessible pens. Farmers can swap the vacuum pump powered by electric motors for a diesel motor.
- Transporting portable milking machines to any location on a large farm is a huge advantage.
- It suits small-scale milking.
- Not ideal for large-scale commercial milk collecting.
- Milk collection depends on the bucket capacity, thus not maximizing milk output.
Pipeline milking machines
Pipeline milking machines are machines installed in a sizable milking barn as an alternative to milking buckets to collect milk.
- No need to change milking buckets because all the milk is collected in one cooling unit
- The milking process is easy and convenient.
- It suits milking many cows at once.
- Adaptation to machine milking by older cows can be stressful for them, thus reducing milk quality.
- It can be hard to clean the machines.
Parlour milking machines
Parlor milking systems are equipment installed in milking parlors where cow milking takes place. Cows are brought for milking in the parlor and returned for grazing or resting.
- They’re economical and increase milking efficiency.
- The machines reduce injury risks and animal stress.
- The machines require a high level of care and maintenance.
- Machines require a lot of electricity.
To make the milking process simple, farmers should acquire farm milking machines. They are less labor intensive than milking by hand, and are suitable for milking many cows at once. The points above provide a comprehensive guide for businesses interested in buying the best farm milking machines.
For more about the key products on the market see “Machinery Selection Tips for the Agriculture Business.”