How Does a Milking Machine Work on a Dairy Farm?

How Does a Milking Machine Work on a Dairy Farm?

By Dairy Farming Hut

Cows, Goats, Sheep

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Ever wondered how milking machines worked? Well, we've got all the answers! Seriously, it'll blow your mind.

Milking machines work by exposing the teat of the animal to a vacuum and then extracting the milk that is induced by this process. Milking machines are designed accordingly to apply a constant vacuum to the very end of the animal’s teat and therefore draw the milk out, forwarding it to the respective milk container. The machine also squeezes the teat, now and then, so that the whole of the teat can regain full blood circulation at regular intervals. The teat itself is not subject to the vacuum on the milking side of the system, and so this causes the milk to start flowing and allows the teat time to rest. Therefore, the pump removes the air and induces a vacuum – which is how an animal is milked. 

A Step-by-Step Guide on How a Milking Machine Operates on a Dairy Farm

The liner itself creates a tight seal between the teat and the milk hose that is later used to transport the milk. The liners are operated by using a valve that is also connected to a vacuum pump. The section that is located between the liner and the outer shell is known as the Pulsation Chamber (you will find out why in the next step).

The pulsator creates a vacuum on the chamber and then forces the liner to open.

The constant vacuum that is required for the process is applied to the milk hose that is relatively short in length. The liner opens when the vacuum pressure between the milk hose and the chamber equalizes. The teat is therefore exposed to the vacuum of the hose tube, and this triggers a flow of milk.

After this, the pulsator releases the vacuum and once again exposes the liner to air. As the pressure in the chamber is now greater than that of the milk hose, the liner once again collapses and tightens around the teat of the animal and creates a massaging motion. This movement then induces full blood circulation in the cow’s teat.

Usually, the pulsator works at 60 cycles per minute.

The milk hoses connected to the cups all join together at the part of the equipment called the Claw. This is where the milk from all the teats – all four of them – mixes.

There is a longer milk hose. As a result of the vacuum, the milk is drawn in a column through the entire line.

When the milk runs through the long milk hose, it is received by a jar. If there is any air trapped in the milk column, this is where it can be released. This is also where the milk from any other cows connected to the milking units is then mixed together.

The jar fills, and a pump starts up, pushing the milk into the main tank where it is immediately refrigerated.

Most modern milking machines are designed to identify when the cow’s udder is empty, and they subsequently switch off automatically. Depending on the type of milking machine, different meter types are used to show when the milk has started to slow down.

The cups then automatically remove themselves from the cow.

At the end of this whole process, the teats of the animal should be dipped in iodine so as to reduce the risk of infection that could be caused by any contaminated milk possibly flowing back into the cow’s teats at the point when the pulsator allows the air into the cup.

The machine should always be cleaned and sterilized in preparation for further use. Otherwise, all sorts of infections could occur.

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What About Milking Goats and Sheep?

Pretty much the same process is used to milk goats and sheep. However, the milking machines used for this are smaller in size (for obvious reasons). The principle is, however, the same.

The machine cups are connected to the goat’s or sheep’s udders, and then the vacuum is created. Once the vacuum reaches the correct setting, the cups remain on the goat or sheep. At this point, you can see the milk from the goat or sheep start to flow through the hose and into the respective container.

Some modern goat and sheep milking machines will detect when the teats no longer provide milk and then switch off automatically. That said, some of the cheaper or less involved systems will require the operator to be vigilant and watch out for a decrease in milk flow.

What Types Of Milking Machines Are There For Cows?

There are actually four types of milking machines on the market for milking cows. These are the battery, electric, manual, and gas. Generally speaking, the electric option makes sense for small to medium-sized farms.

One of the best-rated milking machines for cows is the Futt 5L single-bucket vacuum pulsating milking machine with a piston operation. This can also be used for sheep too.

The Fencia Electric Milking Machine also ranks highly among dairies. This can also be used for goats, comes with a replacement milk claw cluster, and a 25 liter stainless steel bucket. 

What Types Of Milking Machines Are Available For Sheep And Goats?

Producing high-quality milk requires that healthy goats are properly nourished and cared for and also milked in an efficient and clean way. The main goal with any milking unit is to ensure that you produce a clean and wholesome product, thereby making sure that the udder is not infected.


One of the best goat milking machines is the Hantop Cow Goat Milking Machine that works with a vacuum pulsates and stops milking when the pail is full of milk, so you can get on with other jobs in the meantime.

This is closely followed by another Hantop Milking Machine for goats that is with Adjustable Dual Mode Battery Pump. Made of stainless steel, it offers a high pulsation frequency for the ultimate milking experience. The milk tank is easy-to-handle and comes in variety of capacity as 3, 5 and 14 liters . It boasts a pneumatic valve that opens the cup liner and closes the teat duct around 60 times each minute.

If you are looking for information on dairy farming equipment that you might need, read this before you set up your dairy farm.


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