There is a good reason that rubberware in the dairy shed needs to be changed annually, says Skellerup’s National Sales Manager, Mark England.
Mark says while there is a lot of awareness about the importance of changing milking liners every 2500 milkings, it is also critical to remember the rest of the rubber in the dairy shed.
“Every day of its life rubber tubing is exposed to tension, milk fat, acid, alkali, hot and cold water, debris and detritus” Mark said.
He says, detergent choices and water temperatures are key components, which also help extend, or shorten, the lifespan of rubberware. Increasing the strength of detergent solutions beyond manufacturers recommendations has an adverse impact on rubber.
“That includes tubing, bends, elbows, sleeves, and the milk filter keepers. “While the tubing may look perfectly fine outwardly, it can be eroded and pitted where the interior surface comes into contact with milk. By the time you see or feel cause for concern externally, the inside has almost always been damaged by milk fat and cleaning compounds.
“But – until a milk quality problem crops up – you may have no reason to suspect there’s a risk associated with it.”
Therein lies the unseen risk.
“That’s why we support the best practice of replacing all rubberware that touches milk every year, rather than waiting until you see signs of splits, wear or perishing on the outside,” Mark says.
He advises farmers to watch for splits and holes – which can cause vacuum loss and changed pulsation characteristics – including issues with cup slippage.
Mark recommends checking air tubing too, in addition to claw and pulse tubes. Mark says as a general rule of thumb, air tubing should routinely be replaced every two years. All changes should be noted.
“We all appreciate it’s a bit of a chore, but following a simple maintenance and replacement schedule for all dairy rubberware helps your plant remain efficient and productive for a relatively low outlay.
“Plus, it’s another thing you don’t have to worry about, because these are the problems you don’t always see coming.
“It’s peace of mind when you know your plant is well-maintained.”