The poor weather over the last few days has possibly meant a few jobs have been put on the long finger until the weather gets better again.

However, one job that can be carried out regardless of what the weather is like is changing the milk liners.

Milk liners are the only part of the milking machine that comes into direct contact with the cow twice-a-day, seven days per week, for the whole milking season. 

Therefore, it is crucial that they are changed in order to control mastitis and to ensure an efficient milking process.

It is recommended that milk liners are changed every 2,000 milkings or every six months – whichever comes first.

As well as changing them, it’s important to check the condition of the liners in-between changes for deterioration, such as cracking.

What happens if I don’t change them?

Over time the milk liners lose their elasticity and can become damaged. This loss in elasticity can be due to a number of reasons.

These include:

  • Fat absorption;
  • Stiffening, due to milk stone accumulation;
  • Rubber denaturing – due to the action of dairy detergents.

The interior of the liner can also become rough; so it can be more difficult to clean and disinfect and can then harbour pathogens. This can then increase the potential of cross-contamination between cows.

Furthermore, the deterioration in the milk liners is sufficient to reduce the speed and completeness of milking – as once they lose their elasticity they can become oval in shape.

This, in turn, means that the milk liner then takes longer to open and does not close fully around the teat – which increases the times it takes to milk.

Moreover, this can lead to a reduction in milk yield as the cows are under-milked. Also, on top of that, it can also cause teat-end damage and mastitis.