MIlking cluster

Recently, I dropped one of the family cars into the service centre in the morning for what I expected to be a normal routine service.

It was a big surprise a couple of hours later to sit listening on one end of the phone as the mechanic ran through a list of items on the car that needed attention.

But my mood seriously worsened when he told me the total estimated cost!

Read more: What is the price of risk?

Cows being milked

"We work really hard to get the cell count down, and then it just takes off on us, and we don't seem to be able to stop it."

The frustration was clearly obvious at a meeting with the farm team on this 300 cow farm.

"How can it spread so quickly?"

Read more: The power of numbers

Teat spray on teats

Dictionaries variously describe the meaning of the word “residue” as being a “remnant”, or “something which remains after a part is removed”.

Prior to July 1945, no human had radioactive residues due to nuclear weapons.

However, the situation now is dramatically different - every human on earth has some level of residue in their body from the fallout of nuclear weapons.

Read more: Remnants that count

During a recent farm visit, routine milking time testing of the milking machines in this dairy quickly showed that the system vacuum was at 39 kPa – very low for a highline swingover herringbone!

We immediately went looking for the dairy’s vacuum gauge, and after a brief Sherlock Holmes detective effort, we finally found the gauge way up high in the middle of a mass of pipework, facing towards one side of the herringbone.

Read more: How's your vacuum?

Cups & liners

Recently, I was returning home from two farm visits at which I discovered that both farms had been dutifully replacing their rubber teat cup liners every twelve months, just as they had done for many years.

While I was contemplating liner change intervals in the car, I passed a car on the side of the road accompanied by a police car with lights flashing.

Because the traffic was slow, I observed the driver and the policeman having what appeared to be an animated discussion whilst pointing to what were obviously very bald tyres on the car.

Read more: Time for a change

A wide variety of milking machine faults can result from extended use.

Udder web"Wear & tear" plus age can cause gradual changes in performance.

Because these changes are often quite subtle and occur over a period of time, they can often be difficult to notice, even though they are occuring right in front of you.

Milking plants that average 4 hours running time per day will clock up 1460 working hours in a year.

Read more: How long since your milking machines were tested?

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