Dairy Equipment: Barrow Type Milking Machine

Milk machines are evidently the turn around all milk farmers longed for. The advent of milk machines made dairy farming both profitable and enjoyable. One of the milk machines that have warmed farmers’ hearts is the barrow milking machine. Let’s learn more about these incredible machines.

The History Behind Barrow Milking Machines

Research has it that primitive milking machines were in use around 300 BC. These were mainly used by Egyptians. Egyptians were quite innovative and had devised a way of using wheat stems to milk their cows. The milk stems were inserted in cow teats to ease milking.

In the U.S, hand milking remained to be the popular milking method until around 1860’s. In the early 1860’s, American inventors discovered efficient milking methods. One of the notable inventions was the hand held milk pump. Lee Colvin was the first to invent a hand held milking machine in 1860. In 1879, the first milking machine that used a large rubber cup was patented by Anna Baldwin.

One of the major challenges that inventors faced in the 1800’s was continuous udder suction. This resulted in major damages resulting to continuous kicks from the cow. Their inventions were however quite vital in laying the background for the current milking machines. The modern milkers that are fitted with computerized vacuum suction ride on these primitive inventions.

What You Need To Know About Barrow Type Milk Machines

Milking is one thing and transporting the milk is another. Bucket milking machines were very efficient in milking the cows but left the milker with the task of transporting the milk. To ease the task of transporting the milk, barrow milking machines were introduced.

The milk barrow was not only efficient in transporting milk to collection and storage centers but also feeding calves. The bucket can comfortably handle 120 liters of milk. The trolley is designed in such a way that the bucket will be well balanced over the axle.

Pivot Design In Barrow Milking Machines

Some designs have gone further to consider steep ascends. The bucket cage sits on a pivot allowing it to remain upright.

Advantages of the pivot design

  • Allows bucket to be tipped completely when emptying and cleaning
  • Sealing cover keeps the milk warm
  • Galvanized hot dipping finish gives them long life
  • Finely balanced to reduce splash

Caring For A Barrow Milking Machine

  1. Barrow milkers need to be supervised when milking.
  2. The switchboard on which the power cable connected to its electric motor needs to be fitted with a minimum voltage switch.
  3. Avoid getting into contact with the electric pump muffler. It can get extremely hot.
  4. Normally, the trolley is designed to be operated by one person. It’s the operator’s responsibility to ensure that the trolley and the milk are safe.
  5. Avoid making any changes or adjustments to the electrical or mechanical connections especially on the electric pump.
  6. Make a point of integrating the electric pump with a reliable bonding system
  7. Ensure that the electrical system is compatible with the machine.
  8. Do not operate the electric pump if the milking machine’s suction is blocked
  9. When undertaking any maintenance on the milk machine, disconnect it from the power supply.
  10. Avoid obstructing air flow to the electric motor cooling system. The fan that cools the motor functions independently.
  11. Protect motors installed upright with their air intake facing upwards.
  12. Ensure that the fan’s ventilation holes are kept clean.
  13. Protect the electric pumps from extreme weather conditions. They should also be shielded from direct sunlight.

How To Use A Barrow Milker

Learning how to operate a barrow milking machine has some similarities with learning how to drive a car. At first, it will seem very difficult and require you to pay close attention to all that you do. This changes as you perfect your operations.

Here are the basic steps that you should follow;

  • Clean the cow udder and teats thoroughly. This should preferably be done by hand.
  • Squeeze the teats to squirt three times. The fore-milk can go to waste or collected in a small jar. These squirts will help you check for signs of mastitis in dairy cows.
  • Hook your vacuum line to the vacuum pump port. Turn on the vacuum pump.
  • Place the barrow milk machine next to the dairy cow. Place it next to the rib cage. Ensure that you leave enough room to access the cow udder.
  • Hold the claw under the udder with the hose pointing towards the front of the claw.
  • Open the vacuum and confirm that the pulsator is working properly.
  • Carefully put the inflations on cow teats. Place the inflation at a time. Start with the hind quarter. Start with the farthest quarter.
  • Ensure that the claws are hanging straight downwards from the udder. Avoid twisting while milking.
  • Once all the milk is done, repeat the whole procedure in reverse order.

With time, you will develop the much needed confidence. Always operate the milking machine in a relaxed manner. You need to be comfortable around the machine. The cow too needs to be comfortable.

The first few days of introducing a milking machine to a dairy cow may be stressful. The cow may even kick. Milk production will also be low. Give the cow enough time to get used to the milking machine. You can learn more on how to introduce a milk machines to a cow on our post on the same.


Barrow milking machines rank among the first milk machines to be introduced in the dairy industry. These machines have evolved over the years. Today, barrow type milk machines are efficient, cow friendly and affordable.

The number of dairy farms using bucket milking machines has increased rapidly since 1990. Machine milking is becoming popular in areas where there is labor scarcity and areas where labor costs are quite high.

Milk machines save on costs and make milking more enjoyable not only to the cow but also the owner. Invest in a good bucket milking machine. Your milking experience will never be the same again.