Hannover, Germany (November 17th 2010). Closely monitoring optimal equipment performance is a very important management task in dairy farming and that is what DeLaval’s InService™ program is all about. “Regular scheduled maintenance is much more cost efficient compared with doing the same work in an emergency situation,” Tim Nicolaï, DeLaval Vice President Business Area Aftermarket & Services, said at the InService™ display of the company’s Smart Farming EuroTier showcase.

InService™ is a preventive maintenance, advisory and 24/7 emergency service for milking equipment including DeLaval voluntary milking system VMS, cooling, feeding and manure equipment.

A study recently conducted by the Bavarian FH Weihenstephan on 18 German farms to analyze maintenance and repair costs in automatic milking systems concluded that when it comes to wear parts such as liners and tubes, it is counterproductive to wait until a problem occurs. As the report states: “This ends up in higher costs for parts and labor in most of the cases [1].” As a general rule, for every dollar spent on preventive maintenance, dairy farmers can save up to five dollars in subsequent expenses [2]. A reliable agreement is crucial, particularly for dairy farmers whose equipment is in action 365 days a year and for automatic milking systems that operate around the clock.

Efficient service is also strongly linked to Sustainable Dairy Farming (SDF). Scheduled service is one of the best ways to run farms in a sustainable manner, especially as the size and complexity of dairy operations increase. Less waste is accumulated, animal health is better maintained, profits are boosted and fewer emergency call-outs made. “Our goals with InService™ are multiple, one, to guarantee that dairy farmers can benefit from improvements in herd health and milking plant performance, two , to reduce stress levels for their cows, and of course for themselves, and three to increase productivity,” Nicolaï explained. DeLaval launched InService™ in 2008. Today, the company has farmers who are on their third service agreement and are seeing clear improvements in increased productivity and improved udder health. The program is designed to encompass a variety of farming systems worldwide, with the flexibility to meet individual farm and farmer requirements.

A DeLaval farmer on his third consecutive InService™ agreement is Dwayne Neal. He and his family run Laureldene Farms in Boyanup, Western Australia, where they milk more than 200 cows in a 20-unit plant with ALPRO™ herd management. “It takes a lot of the worry out of managing the farm. We don’t have to remember to order chemicals or parts; our technician just arrives and does our servicing when it’s due. We know that the plant will be serviced and liners changed at the right time. It also helps us to manage cash flow, because we know when to expect the maintenance charges. As a result the plant works very well. We will definitely be renewing our service agreement again when it is due.” Neal says.

“InService™ offers a real partnership between the farmer and DeLaval. We want to give our customers peace of mind so they can focus on important aspects of their operation that need their attention and, maybe even, help them benefit from a lifestyle that is a little more relaxed,” Nicolaï concluded.

[1] As reported in German publication Top Agrar 11/2010. Study conducted by Norbert Schneider, FH Weihenstephan, Dr.Jan Harms, bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft, Grub
[2] Fred Fairchild, professor in the Department of Grain Science and Industry at K-State (Kansas State University, United States)