Page One. ” Our History of Milking Machine Testing “
Stuart Murray was born in 1945 . He started his first part time job at Coed Eva Farm, Cwmbran. aged eleven. There were 2 Manus Fullwood and Bland 4/0 pulsation bucket units and twelve cows. Sunday evening the owner would apply two milking units and then take his kids to Chapel 2 miles away, have a chat to the locals, come back and change the units over. Mastitis ? Never heard of it . Cows with lumpy milk just went in the orchard with the calves for a while, maybe a bit longer.
For his first proper job, prior to going to the Monmouthhire Institute of Agriculture aged 18 Stuart did a years practical farming at Maes-Y-Rhiw Farm Cwmbran. He milked 28 pedigree British Friesians. The herd was NMR recorded with several cows approaching the then dizzy heights of 1,000 gallons per annum. Prior to his arrival the owners had replaced the very slow Alfa black box pulsator bucket units with very wide, 4-1, ratio Wecroft-Macford Westfalia units and synthetic liners which milked very quickly. They washed each cow’s udder in hypochlorite solution and cluster dipped between cows. The best cow, one of Ben Cooper’s very expensive pedigree Normead cows went down with strep. mastitis never to recover, others followed,. At any given time we had 20% of the herd with chronic mastitis, generally the quickest and most prolific milkers. This started, in Stuart, an unfinished lifetime’s quest to improve the machine milking of dairy animals. The milking machine is a formidable appliance. Very few pieces of machinery come in direct contact with living tissue, the milking machine and the heart pacemaker are two. Each has to be respected.
Stuart then attended the Monmouthshire Institute of Agriculture at Usk in 1964, enrolled on a full time Dairying Coarse. There he met Dorothy Evan Hughes, lecturer in Dairy Practice. She introduced him to the U S A publication “Hoardes Dairyman” and it was thereafter pretty obvious that it was a world wide mastitis problem not just a local Cwmbran issue. The work of Lawrence Bouma was noted,his California Mastitis test saved many hundred cow herds from being wiped out economically. He went on to form Boumatic in the USA. They pioneered air bleeds in claws and made vast improvements in milking equipment.
Upon leaving college Stuart Joined Alfa – Laval Cwmbran as an erector. This company was still fitting 1″ vacuum lines,tiny type 20 vacuum pumps and back cords over the cows. The standard Electronic pulsation of the day, Synchropulse, was 4/0 pulsation otherwise known as simultaneous. He spent the next five years fitting stream line circulating plants, culminating in the introduction of the alternating Manus Hydropulse design. Manus was a Swedish company taken over by Alfa Laval in 1963 to obtain the Hydropulse and replace the very temperamental and unreliable black boxes
In 1968 there was a meeting called by the British Standards Institute, it was attended by the NFU, MMB, ADAS, some research workers and some commercial UK and European milking machine interests. The result was the 1968 code of practice CP3007., nothing more than a voluntary guide, but a starting point. Following on from that the International Standards Committee set up to prescribe a minimum standard. This was chaired by the late Harry Hall from the National Institute for Research in Dairying. Sadly they did not include North America or Ireland at the stage. The ISO standard 5707 and 6690 were delayed resulting in the temporary BSI 5545 and BS 5526 being in place between 1978 and 1982. These standards were adopted by the MMB and ADAS in this country but not in North America. Stuart Murray Dairy Engineering circulated a Newsletter at this time, pointing out the a cow exported from America to be milked in Chepstow the day after did not receive micro surgery at Heathrow to reduce her milkflow. We all knew these standards were inadequate in the extreme.
By October 1995 ISO 5707, 3918 and 6690 were finalized. New systems installed after July 1996 should meet and exceed the new standard. This brought together the ASAE of America and our own ISO. In theory a common basis for installing milking equipment world wide. But as Prof. Graeme Mein said in his paper number. 963017 at the International ASAE Meeting in July 1996 in Phoenix “The new standards are neither specific or comprehensive enough for adequate evaluation of the milking unit’s components.” Where did that leave us? Stuart formed Stuart Murray Dairy Engineering in 1977. In 1992 Boumatic moved into the UK milking machine market and Stuart grasped the opportunity to study Boumatic milking machine technology and testing methods under the auspices of Prof Graeme Mein, via his Boumatic Sponsorship at Madison University, and Frank Mc Lelland, Boumatic’s international training supervisor. Following evaluation and assessment, In 1993 we obtained full certification for Milking Machine layout and installation, including Static and Dynamic milk plant testing. He became the first UK dealership to obtain this level. Later the company was very fortunate to have the work of Prof. Doug Reineman’s research made available to us by Boumatic and to be able to incorporate his airlfow calculations into vacuum pump requirement.
Is that the end of the story? No. It had been noticed over the years that simultaneous pulsation plants gave far less problems regarding new infections at milking time than did alternating systems. This can be partly explained by less teat impacting during milking. Moorpark, the Nation Research Centre in Ireland have been advocating this method for several decades. Stuart has visited the centre and taken note of their milking simulator results. The one thing I find most influential in this discussion is a copy of the memo we received from Graeme Mein on 14th November 2001 regarding clause 16 of ISO 5707 and its failure to satisfy the standard. International Dairy Federation Representatives from France, Sweden, Ireland, Australia and the USA too two years to thrash out a revised recommendation. The result is very telling. For the first time the whole milking unit rather than just the cluster should be tested. Why does that make a huge difference? In layman’s terms instead of the meaningless average claw vacuum being accepted it is far more precise to measure claw vacuum during the milking phase only, after all no one is interested in a high vacuum during rest phase. The conclusions can be very different and the 2007 alterations will greatly favour simultaneous pulsation over alternating pulsation in the future. Two notable systems favouring this method are Dairymaster and Lely with it’s robots. It is clear that no-one has all the answers and clearly we still have a mountain to climb.
This company offers full certified dynamic milk plant testing to the industry’s latest standards and is still learning.