Scheduled service: a main component of parlour performance

Milking equipment needs regular servicing to work properly and safeguard the health of the herd. Can you really afford to be without it?

With the volatile milk and feed prices of recent years, producers cannot afford to have their milking equipment performing at less than the highest level. The payback associated with a scheduled service programme can be seen in the form of increased production and less downtime due to unplanned interruptions in the milking process.

InService Remote image

Milking equipment needs regular servicing to work properly and safeguard the health of the herd.

Even the process of cleaning equipment underlines the need for regular, planned maintenance. Chemicals used in the cleaning process will, over time, degrade rubber, silicone and plastic components in the system. Crevices created over time by sanitizing chemicals not only provide an excellent place for bacteria to flourish, but also create air leaks. In the long run this will lead to changes in the system vacuum, which can directly affect both animal health and the length of time each cow takes to milk. The scheduled replacement of key wear and tear items, in addition to frequent pulsation and vacuum level checks, can help ensure parlour performance and improve milk quality.

Proactive vs. reactive maintenance

How much does downtime cost? We could use these simple equations as an estimate:

(Number of cows x herd average in pounds)/Milk price in hundredweights = production per hour.

(Production per hour x milk price per hundredweight)/hours of operation in a day = cost per hour of downtime.

How does this work in practice? Take the case of a dairy milking 2,000 cows with a herd average of 80 pounds. With a milk price of $18.60 per hundredweight and the dairy milking 23 hours per day, the cost per hour of downtime is $1,293. And while the dairy isn’t milking due to equipment issues, employees are still being paid and the cows are still eating.

If a producer takes a proactive approach, they can budget annual costs associated with scheduled service of the parlour. Most equipment dealers who service milking equipment will provide annual quotes for the parts and labour needed for scheduled service on a milking parlour. Often, rates charged for scheduled service are lower due to the fact that the service is a planned event and takes place during normal business hours.

The opposite side of the coin is unplanned maintenance: typically, reacting to issues when they happen. This can lead to higher costs associated with the service call and frustration on the part of the dealer and producer. After-hour service calls are inherent with operations that run 24/7, but the goal of most producers is to limit their occurrence. In an industry where efficiency is rewarded, taking a proactive approach to scheduled service is fast becoming the standard mode of operation.

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Brett Olinger

About Brett Olinger

Brett Olinger graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree focused on Agricultural Economics and Animal Sciences. He has been with DeLaval for 14 years since graduating from Missouri. His various roles and locations with DeLaval include Supplier Development in Kansas City, Missouri; DeLaval Dairy Service Regional Purchasing Manager in Lansing, Michigan; and Solution Manager - Services and Original Parts in Vernon Hills, Illinois. As a Solution Manager he focused on improving dealer services and collaborated with dealers all over North America. Currently Brett is the General Manager for DeLaval Dairy Service – Michigan in Lansing, Michigan. Brett has worked with dealers and dairymen on the service side of the business in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
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One Response to Scheduled service: a main component of parlour performance

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