Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Cleaning of automatic milking systems

The cleaning of an automatic milking system is of great importance for the hygienic quality of the milk. From conventional milking several methods and procedures are known and applied to automatic milking systems. The diversity of the cleaning systems of automatic milking systems is given. Important differences do occur in procedure (circulation cleaning versus cleaning with boiling water), in time needed for cleaning and in water and energy consumption. Cleaning time differs between 37 and 130 minutes per day for standard cleaning frequencies, water consumption differs from 284 to 495l/day.

The effect of the cleaning frequency was investigated by a comparison between 2 and 3 system cleanings per day during 9 weeks each. When three system cleanings were performed, bacterial quality of the milk was significantly better for TBC, coliform, thermoduric and psychrotrofic bacteria. The difference for TBC however was small: 13 versus 10x10{3}cfu/ml. So, with both frequencies the average TBC is far within the range for first quality milk. It is concluded that two cleanings per day could be sufficient for a good quality of milk, but the cleaning system has to be optimised, well maintained and controlled. Three times cleaning however reduces the risk of increased bacterial growth in the milking system.

To prevent transfer of pathogens by the milking cluster, in AM-systems have a procedure for a cluster flush. The effect of the cluster flush on removal of pathogens is tested on one system, with cold water and with a disinfectant. 98,4 and 98,9% of the pathogens were removed, expressed as log-reduction 1,80 and 2,26. The extra removal of pathogens by using a disinfectant does not compensate for the extra risk for contamination of the milk produced.

In a test on the effect of a cluster flush on the rate of new infections, 46 cows were milked with a deliberately infected cluster. Two cross positioned liners were flushed after infection, the other two liners were not flushed. In none of the quarters an inflammation occurred. The effect of a cluster flush on new infections could not be established.

Because cluster flush does remove most of the bacteria from the liners, does not influence the milking capacity of the AMS and can be performed with small amounts of water, there are no reasons not to perform a cluster flush.

Reported by

Applied Research, Animal Sciences Group WUR
8203 AD Lelystad
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