Every dairy farmer appreciates the service of a good milking machine. In fact, every farmer NEEDS only the best portable milking machine at the farm. Farmers who appreciate technology use milking machines for milking cows, goats, sheep and the other dairy animals they keep at the farm.
Machine milking has many advantages for the farmer including reducing the amount of labor required for hand milking. It cuts down the costs of operation and reduces the time required for milking.
Milk harvesting involves removal of milk from animals, transporting it to the storage chamber, and keeping it safe until such a time that the milk is ready for processing.
Even though the milk storage and cooling compartments are not part of the milking machine per se, they are essential for maintaining high quality of the product.
It makes no economic sense to have the best milking machine for milking high quality milk only to end up with a deteriorated quality due to poor storage.
Features of the best portable milking machine include:
- One that is able to remove milk from the animal quickly
- Gentle and does not cause injury to the teats/udder
- Ease of cleaning and sanitation to avoid causing/spreading udder infections
- Safe to operate and does not degrade milk quality from the time of milking to delivery
- One whose design facilitates ease of use. Availability of technical assistance and/or spare parts for easy maintenance.
- Depending on the size of your herd, you may prefer to have a single or double milker.
Looking for the best portable milking machine?
Here is the list of the best portable milking machines from the industry's leading suppliers. Click on the link and you will be shown customer reviews for each machine.
This is one of the best portable milking machines out there. The vacuum power is strong enough to drain milk from the udder in record time.
The vacuum gauge lets you observe the pressure levels to avoid wounding the teats.
This milking machine has a simplistic design with the milk bucket held in place on the platform for easy transportation. It also has very durable teat cups.
Supplied by Lotustar, this milking machine features the following:
- A 2L stainless steel milking bucket
- Pulsation rate of 64 per minute
- It has an operating vacuum capacity of 0.04-0.05MPa (adjustable)
- With a motor speed of 1440 rpm/min, this milking machine draws only 0.55 KW of power and can handle about 10 - 12 cows every hour. Its speed makes it very efficient for small farms.
- Simple design makes it easy to operate, clean and maintain.
- Large sturdy wheels allow for easy handling and make the work of maintaining hygiene easier. This makes the machine ideal for producing high quality products under reduced cost.
- This milking machine has a simple piston pump for easy operation and maintenance.
- It is suitable for milking cows, sheep, and goats.
What you may not like about this milking machine
You have to change the oil very often.
Handle the rubber parts with care. They need to be replaced as soon as they start to show signs of wear.
Tulsan manufactures some of the industry's best milking machines. They are compact and come with large wheels for easy pushing around in the milking shed.
Even though it has only one milk bucket on the platform, this milking machine comes with double milking claws for rapid milking.
The parts are durable and easily interchangeable in case you develop a mechanical problem.
The manufacturer is very responsive when it comes to addressing customer issues. You are assured of getting value for the money.
This milking machine features the following:
- It has a single-phase 1430 RPM 340 HP electric motor that drives a 110V/60Hz dry pump. This milking machine has a pneumatic pulsator that enables it to milk two cows in 10 minutes and up to 17 cows in an hour.
- It has a single 30L stainless steel bucket for sturdiness and quality assurance. The stainless-steel bucket comes with a silicone liner.
- The whole setup measures 39 X 22.4 x 60 inches in dimensions and weighs only110 lbs.
- With a two-year warranty, you are guaranteed to get value for your money.
What you may not like about it
The machine does the work pretty fast but the singe bucket will be piece of work. You will have to empty it every so often when you are milking a larger herd or higher producers.
This Milking machine is the best for farmers who live in areas with unreliable supply of electricity.
It is perfect for farmers who practice mobile milking out in the field, as it has a gasoline powering option to take care of that mobility.
The double buckets mean that you can use it to milk several animals quickly without having to stop every often to empty the buckets.
It also comes with two milking claws to ensure that you can milk two cows simultaneously at any given time.
This milking machine has the following features:
- Comes with two (2) 25L milk buckets and two milking claws that can handle two cows simultaneously at any given time.
- Has a strong vacuum pump that produces between 0.04-0.05 MPa. You can adjust the vacuum levels to make the milking experience more comfortable to the cows.
- Comes with an adjustable pulsator to suit your local needs.
- The machine has a powerful 1440 rpm motor to deliver a fast milking experience (you can milk up to 24 cows every hour). Depending on your location and unique needs you can choose the most appropriate motor power and voltage rating. (there's a 50/60Hz option with 110V/220V/380V.
- The gasoline engine has a 3.5L gasoline tank and delivers between 5.5 and 6.5 horsepower.
What you may not really like about this machine
You have to contend with noise.
You are going to need some effort pushing the 90 kilos around, especially if you are going to be milking out in the fields.
Additionally, the buckets do not have a platform on the same machine, so, you are going to be carrying them around as well.
This milking machine is manufactured by Interplus, one of the leading dairy equipment manufacturers.
It has a single milk bucket on the platform and can only milk one cow at a time.
The motor generates enough vacuum to maintain a faster rate of milking for the herd.
It has larger wheels for easy movement across the milking shed. This machine has a simplistic design, which eliminates much maintenance work and makes it more durable as it is not prone to break downs.
This milking machine has the following features:
- It comes fitted with a seamless poly-carbonate bucket with a libero milking lid.
- It also has an L02 Pulsator to control the pulsation rates and a vacuum gauge to monitor the pressure. The vacuum has a regulator regulator for safety and balancing the pressure.
- Ecomilker has a 110VAC 60hz motor for the system.
- There is an option for single and a double milker. You can choose silicone sleeve goat/sheep claw, or the four teat Orbiter stainless steel cow claw.
- It measures 36 x 18 x 24 inches and weighs only 120 pounds (net) and 125 pounds (gross).
If you are looking for the best portable milking machine that is also versatile, this is your choice.
This mini version of the Tulsan portable milking machine is perfect for all farm conditions.
It has a powerful motor that is typical of Tulsan milking machines and can comfortably milk up to 50 gallons per minute despite its small size.
It is simplistic making it easy to clean maintain.
Parts are available from almost all major stockists and online on Amazon, Ebay, and other related sites.
You can easily regulate the vacuum to make it more comfortable on the teats while milking.
This milking machine has the following features:
- You can use to to comfortably milk up to 10 cows per hour
- Its simplistic design not only makes it user friendly but also very easy to maintain. It will save you a lot of time
- This milking machine is not only suitable for everyday milking but also for milking sick animals
- Its dimensions are 39”X 22" x 44 and it weighs only 112 pounds.
- Comes with a 110V-60HZ pump and a 3/4 HP single phase electric motor (1430 RPM)
- A single 8-gal stainless steel bucket with a rubber liner
- It also has a pneumatic pulsator to boot
- Do not forget that the machine has a two-year warranty.
This set of milking machine parts comes with the bucket, the hose, the pulsator and the milking unit.
It is compatible with majority of vacuum pumps in the market and makes the work of installing a working milking machine more fun.
You will have the parts and customize them the way you want to make the best portable milking machine to suit your farm needs.
You can weld the frame and bucket holding platform locally (which will significantly bring down the cost of the milking machine).
Furthermore, you can customize the frame the way you want to suit your needs.
This milking machine has the following features:
- It is compatible with almost all kinds of vacuum pumps. The 25L stainless steel bucket is sturdy and easy to clean and the food grade hoses maintain high quality of the milk.
- It has a 240cc stainless steel claw that is perfect for heavy duty milking.
- The pneumatic pulsator is an L80, 65 pulses per minute working at 60/40 rate (adjustable).
- The whole system weighs 17.6 pounds and measures 20.9 x 12.2 x 12.2 inches in dimensions.
The downside of this milking machine?
- It does not come with a vacuum pump, which you can purchase on Amazon, eBay or at the local shop.
- You will also need to fabricate a frame for carrying the machine around the farm.
Developed by Dansha Farms in Florida with a pending patent. It is perfect for milking goats and sheep.
Actually, this is the machine you should get if you are wondering how you will harvest milk from your goats.
The vacuum pump produces a stable vacuum for milking in a very short time.
It is simplistic and easy to clean and maintain. Your order will be shipped very fast.
Features of this portable milking machine:
- Very simple in design; anyone can use it.
- Has a rechargeable battery pack to power the motor. Uses both 220 V and 110 V power outlets
- Milks one to two gallons of milk with every charge cycle.
- Sealed system to maintain high standards of product hygiene.
- Portable and you can use it away from the barn, as it has a rechargeable power pack.
The downside of this milking machine?
- Some people may not like the idea that it does not have the vacuum gauge. This will force you to monitor the pressure manually during milking.
- Another feature that one may have issue with is the fact that the tubes are cemented. You cannot detach them when you are cleaning the machine. This will force you to take extra care for cleaning the tubes to ensure your products are hygienic.
Another one from Dansha Farms. This milking machine is perfect for milking the smaller stock like sheep and goats.
The vacuum pump builds sufficient pressure for speedy milking.
This brute milking kit is also small enough to facilitate easy handling and mobility at the farm.
It is easy to clean hence you can easily maintain high hygienic standards with this machine.
The Brute Milking Kit has the following features:
- Simple design that makes it suitable for use with the least technical experience.
- Comes with half a gallon receptacle that is easy to clean
- You can use a 110 V, 220 V, or even a 12 V battery power source.
- 12 V vacuum pump is suitable for milking many animals.
- Needs little maintenance and offers more protection to the milk to improve the product quality.
- You must connect the machine to the mains outlet for it to operate.
Components of the milking machine
To understand how you can tell apart the qualities of the best milking machine, we should begin by dissecting the machine to know the features to focus on.
A milking machine consists of several basic component groups that work together for an effective operation. They include:
- Milking units
- Vacuum production and control system
- Milk transport system
- Cleaning and sanitation systems
Milk Cooling and storage systems are very instrumental accessories to the milking machine, as they will enhance quality preservation. However, they are not necessary for the functionality of the milking machine.
All the parts complement each other for the functionality of the machine. The milking unit does the actual extraction of milk from the teats.
The milking unit on its own also consists of several parts that enables it to imitate the hand to extract milk. Let's have a closer look to understand how it works.
The milking unit has several parts including:
- Four teat cups for cows (and two for goats, sheep, etc.). Each of the teat cups has a soft rubber liner mounting on the metal or plastic shell; this rubber lining is the only part of the machine that comes into contact with the udder.
- The claw, which collects milk from all of the teat cups
- Pulsation chamber. The pulsator uses air and vacuum to create pulsation, which creates suction force to draw milk from the teats. (See it in action in the video below)
- Connecting tubes for both air and milk.
The other supplementary components include regulators, balance tanks, and sanitary traps. They facilitate efficient operation of the milking unit and will help you produce clean and hygienic milk.
How does the best portable milking machine work?
Understanding how the milking machine works requires a close attention of what happens at the teat cup. The teat cup has the pulsator side and the milking side. These two are separated by a membrane that ‘pulsates’ to create a suction at the teat end.
Inserting the teat into the teat cup fills the cup camber. When you switch the machine on, it creates a vacuum in the chamber. This vacuum causes milk to flow from the teat.
During the rest phase, air enters the pulsator chamber and the increased pressure causes the liner to collapse around the teat. This creates a massaging effect on the teats to promote blood flow and prevents injury to the teat end.
The necessity for pulsation
- Leaving the vacuum constantly on the teat for extended periods would lead to accumulation of blood and lymph at the end of the teat, stressing the teat and probably causing injury to the teat.
- Pulsation ensures that there is blood circulation at the end of the teat to maintain teat end health.
An animation of how the milking unit of the best portable milking machine works:
Video by Leedstone Inc
Different milking machines have different pulsation ratios but they are typically going for 60 pulses every minute. The ratios sum up to 100 percent no matter the combination.
Pulsator working ratios
Most pulsator ratios range between 50/50 and 70/30 combinations. In this ratio, the first number represents the number of times the pulsator draws milk while the second number is the number of times the atmospheric pressure massages the teat.
You can vary the working ratios to suit your operations. Here is an overview of the ratios and what they mean:
- The ratio 60/40 is the most preferred ratio for optimal operation of the milking machine. You have moderate vacuum and pulsation, which does not stress the teats because you finish milking quickly.
- Anything that goes beyond 70/30 is not advisable, as it would cause injury to the animal due to too much sucking of the teats.
- Below 50/50 and the machine will not generate enough suction to extract milk.
Some machines have dual pulsation, which allows for different ratios for hind and front quarters. 50/50 and 60/40 for front and hind quarters respectively, are preferred because the hind quarters hold more milk than the front quarters due to their larger sizes.
Test for the suction force on the teats and adjust to comfortable levels
- To test for the level of comfort on the teat, you can put your finger into the cup for about 20 seconds. The effect you feel is what the cows feel on the teats. If it is uncomfortable, you should adjust appropriately to comfortable levels.
- With time, you will notice the different sounds that can tell you of any machine malfunctions. Replace parts as soon as you notice air holes (or bleed holes) as they end up in “bathing up” of the teats, which increases the chances of milk contamination.
More details are filed under the maintenance section below.
Maintaining your best milking machine: spare parts
From time to time, you will experience breakdowns, which can be very costly if you fail to fix. Once you have bought the best portable milking machine, it will experience wear and tear as you use it. Parts will need replacement to maintain high levels of performance.
Here is the list of the spare parts you will need to maintain your best milking machine in shape.
Kozyvacu TA350 Single-Stage Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump for Milking Machine, HVAC/Auto AC Refrigerant Recharging, Wine Degassing, Medical, & Food Processing
- Single stage pump (120V/60Hz), 1720 rpm, 1/4 HP
- Size: 10.6"*8.7"*4.7" and weighs 10.6lbs (net) 12.12lbs (shipping)
- Aluminum alloy cover and copper coil (black/silver)
- Flow Rate: 3.5 CFM (100L/MIN)
- Ultimate Vacuum: 5 Pa (0.05mbar)/150Microns
- Inlet Port: 1/2" ACME 1/4" Flare
- Oil Capacity: 280ml
- Power plug: American standard
Note: Model TA350G has an inbuilt vacuum gauge. Get specification details from this datasheet.
L80 Pneumatic Pulsator for Cow Milker Milking Machine Dairy Farm Cattle Dairy Gentle Uniform Stainless Steel 50-180 Ppm
- Adjustable speed from 50 to 180 ppm
- Pulsation Rate: 60/40 (adjustable)
- Gross weight: 0.35kg
Winters PEM Series Steel Dual Scale Economy Pressure Gauge, 30″Hg Vacuum/kpa, 2″ Dial Display, +/-3-2-3% Accuracy, 1/4″ NPT Bottom Mount
- Dual scale (psi/kPa)/(Hg. vacuum/kPa) with an accuracy of + or - 3/2/3%
- Operating temperature is -40 to 150 degrees F (-40 to 65 degrees C)
- Max measurement is 0-30"Hg Vacuum/kpa
- Outside diameter is 2 inches
- Weighs 1.9 pounds
- Measures 13.2 x 10.2 x 11 inches in size
- 57 mm teat end diameter with a 24 mm opening
- 40 mm inflation diameter
- 9 mm claw end diameter
- 292.5 mm in length
- Comes in a set of four
Set of 4 SS Milk Shells Teatcups with 4 in Inflations Rubber Liners for Cow Milking Work with All Brand Name Milker
- Brand new
- Four inflations, 12-inch-long inflations
- Works with all brand name milking machines
Tulsan Cow Milker Claw Cluster Complete with Silicone Liners, Stainless Steel Shells, 240cc Milking Claw, Air Tubes, Blind Stoppers Replacement Part for Any Brand Milking Machine
- 240cc capacity with four inlets for four teat cups
- 4 soft silicone liners for comfortable teat suction
- 4 air tubes
- 4 stainless steel shells
- 2 blind stoppers
- The milking claw is compatible with any milking machine brand
Maintenance program for the best portable milking machine
If you are looking to derive value from your prized milking machine, you must ensure that you have a maintenance routine for it. Keeping it in a good working condition will go a long way in ensuring that you do not experience down time.
The best portable milking machine needs the best maintenance routine. Here are some handy tips you can implement to help you increase the service term of your milking machine:
Monthly ~ annual service
Wash the milking machine after every milking session
Check for twisted liners and their conditions.
Observe the regulator functions.
Check teats as cups come off and take note of the cow’s behavior. Falling cups during milking may indicate problems with the vacuum.
Clean all the air filters on the vacuum pump and the pulsators. Replace the clogged air filters.
Check all the tubes for wear and tear. Replace all worn out tubes and liners.
Inspect the pipelines and interceptor for any signs of milk or water. If you find any, drain and flush with chlorinated water (100 ppm)
Stick your thumb into the cups and monitor the suction force for about 20 seconds. Adjust as appropriate.
Strip the teats after machine milking to measure completeness of milking to avoid over-milking. Establish routine milking times.
Check for any water behind the teat chamber and remove if you find any. Ensure there is not a single hole on the tubes
Check the vacuum gauge to ensure that it is in a proper working condition. It should reach the working level in just five seconds.
Check the functionality of the regulators and pipe work.
Listen to the regulator to ensure that it is allowing air into the vacuum system during milking.
Maintain the right level of oil in the vacuum pump
Replace all bleeding tubes. Replace air cleaners and other faulty parts.
Watch as the milk enters the reservoir to help you establish an even flow.
Check for the air inlet on the claw and ensure there is no clogging on it
Dismantle the machine according to your manufacturer’s instructions and clean at least once a year
Read the vacuum gauge and keep a record of the results.
Check filters on pulsators or on filtered air supply lines
Consult your supplier for technical assistance and regular maintenance.
Another video to illustrate how the best portable milking machine works:
Video by ENKA TARIM
There is no way we're going to wind up this article without talking about the advantages and disadvantages of milking machines.
Advantages of using the best portable milking machine at your farm:
- Reduces labor costs in large herds, as only a fraction of the human resources will be needed.
- It is faster and can handle large volumes more efficiently than manual labor.
- Milking machines reduce the farm’s dependency on manual labor, which can be very beneficial if you have turnover issues.
- Using the best milking machine will reduce the stress on the animals and improve their health.
- Milking machines can act as a quality assurance check for the dairy harvest.
- The best portable milking machine can facilitate remote milking of the animals in the grazing fields.
Disadvantages of milking machines:
- Your older animals may take some time to get used to the machine. During this time, you may experience a temporary drop in productivity.
- The machinery is power dependent, so, you will not be able to milk during blackouts if you don't have a backup. Emergency power supply and technical staff to operate the machinery will drive up your production costs.
- The machines increase the risk of spreading udder infection among the herd. Milk sick cows last and separate their milk from the bulk; use teat dips immediately after milking. Wash and sanitize the milking machine immediately after use.
- Maintaining the machines may not be very cheap and some of the parts for the older models may not be readily available.
By following the maintenance procedure shared previously, you will be able to eliminate these disadvantages and prolong the service term of your best portable milking machine.