Influence of the Milking Units on the Pulsation Curve in Dairy Sheep Milking
Department of Agricultural Science, University of Sassari, 07100 Sassari, Italy
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Received: 18 June 2020 / Revised: 10 July 2020 / Accepted: 13 July 2020 / Published: 17 July 2020
In dairy farms, the mechanical milking process represents one of the most delicate activities as it may affect the quantity and quality of the milk produced and the animals’ welfare. Mechanical milking systems can be designed with different components (milking units, liners, etc.) and configured with different operative parameters (vacuum level, pulsator rate, etc.) that may significantly influence the milking performances. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze nine milking units to evaluate the effects of the volume of the pulsation chamber, the touch point pressure of the liners and the operative parameters of the milking system, on the duration of the increasing and decreasing vacuum phases of the pulsation curve. The results obtained underlined that the characteristics of the milking units affected the pulsation curve. Specifically, the pulsation chamber volume and the pulsator rate were strictly related to the duration of the phase of milking and massage. Contrary to expectations, the touch point pressure of the milking liners was not related to the length of the increasing vacuum phase and the decreasing vacuum phase (phase “a” and “c”). This study underlined how the configuration of the mechanical milking system and the characteristics of the components installed may influence the proper length of each phase of the pulsation curve.