On the majority of spring-calving farms the milking machine hasn’t been used for a number of weeks, and won’t be for another few weeks yet.

Having the milking machine/parlour working properly is extremely important for any dairy farm.

A milking machine not working properly may cause increased cases of mastitis and/or increased cell counts, along with a number of other issues.

Milking machine

As we gear up for the lactation that lies ahead it is important to ensure that your milking machine is in good order.

A milking machine should be serviced at least once a year; if a service is due it should be done before cows start calving.

Some checks that you can complete yourself ahead of the calving season include:

  • The vacuum – this should be a maximum of 48 kilopascal (kPa);
  • The liners – research has indicated that they should be changed every 2,000 milkings;
  • The short pulse tubes and long milk tubes – for cracks and wear and tear;
  • The claw bowl seals and shut off valve seals – replace if necessary;
  • The claw bowls – for cracks or chips.

While you are completing checks in the milking parlour, you should also inspect the meal feeders.

You can complete a simple weight test to determine if the feed rate is correct; is 1kg of meal actually 1kg of meal?

You could potentially be over or under-feeding your cows and not be aware of it.


At this time of the year it is also a good idea to stock up on some extra pieces of the milking parlour that you may require.

These could include claw bowls, pulsation tubes, liners and vacuum pump oil and belts.

Having these supplies on hand if anything was to go wrong, could be a big time saver and get you back up and going quickly.