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The Milking Equipment Association (MEA) is advising dairy farmers to plan carefully when implementing new technology to avoid any disruption caused by poorly fitted or maintained equipment. “Each year Dairy-Tech demonstrates the leaps the industry has made, but we are reminding farmers to support their milking related technology by using Parlour Safe trained technicians to install and maintain equipment,” says MEA Chairman John Baines.

The MEA’s Parlour Safe technician accreditation scheme started in 2015. “In just five years over 200 technicians have been assessed and accredited, reaching Parlour Safe Category 2 or 3. This demonstrates that the technician understands the needs of the dairy farm and is capable of fitting and maintaining dairy equipment to the highest standards, which is what we believe all dairies should be aspiring to,” explains Mr Baines.

Dairy equipment is expected to work longer hours with increasingly complex and automated features. “Automatic milking systems such as robots are expected to work around the clock, and downtime can mean cows aren’t milked, with implications for production and cow health. These factors make careful and attentive maintenance a crucial part of farm management,” says Mr Baines. “The popularity of automated systems is distancing farmers from the milking process. This offers the opportunity to focus on cow health, fertility, and milk yields. However, if farmers are going to rely on these systems, it is important that there are no unforeseen faults or failures,” he adds.

The ability to maintain high standards of cow health, milk quality and operator safety are paramount. The MEA wants to emphasise the importance of using Parlour Safe accredited technicians, for both new milking systems and the management of existing parlour equipment. “Parlour Safe accreditation brings assurance that the technician has been assessed independently to validate their training on all aspects of the milking system. This is why we hope farmers investing in new technology will partner with a Parlour Safe accredited technician to safeguard their herd,” concludes Mr Baines.