Milk cooling system a model for other farms to follow

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15 Oct, 2019


I think it’s always important to look at what potentially could change in the future. Don’t just go for a system which is the bare minimum.

Dairy farmers planning to upgrade or install new milk cooling units need to think long-term rather than putting in a system which is the “bare minimum”. 

That’s the approach Luxmore Farm took when they enlisted the help of Waikato Milking Systems and Cowley Electrical Dairy and Pumps to install its new dairy plant, which included a 60-bail Orbit Concrete Rotary parlour and a brand-new milk cooling system.

Waikato Milking Systems partnered with its Gore and Balclutha-based dealer Cowley Electrical Dairy and Pumps, to install the new milk cooling system for the farm, owned by Gerard Vallely in Waipahi, South Otago.

Cowley Electrical Dairy and Pumps Balclutha-based Manager, Jared Cowley, took a lead on the project, supported by Waikato Milking Systems Head of Milk Cooling, New Zealand, Craig Gibbons.

Jared said the milk cooling system was specifically designed for Luxmore Farm and it stands as a model for others to follow. 

He said the company can design milk cooling systems tailored for the unique conditions of each farm.

“At Luxmore, we installed two Tank chiller units, one on each of the two milk silos at the farm.” 

The units also came with a heat recovery feature. It meant heat could be removed from the units during operation, so they work more efficiently. Hot water could be put back into the hot water cylinder at around 55-60 degrees Celsius.

One unit runs the base refrigeration of the large tank and the smaller unit runs the side wall of the large tank, to cool the milk during peak milk flows.

When the unit isn’t required for the side wall, it can be used to cool calf milk in the smaller silo.

“The smaller silo is designed to be used at the start of the season for cooling calf milk,” Jared said.

“That’s something more customers are looking to do, to cool their calf milk so it lasts longer,” Jared said.

He said the calf milk can be cooled at a temperature determined by the farmer. When calving is finished, the silo can be washed out and reconfigured to store supply milk.

“So the main advantage is the ability to use that silo for two different purposes, and two different times of the year, fully utilising the equipment on farm.” 

The Luxmore milk cooling system was installed before the start of the 2019-2020 milking season.

Jared said he had one refrigeration engineer and a stainless fitter work on the project.

The project is now being used as an example for other farmers to follow.

Jared said efficiency and longevity are two key factors farmers should focus on when installing a new milk cooling system.

“I think it’s always important to look at what potentially could change in the future. Don’t just go for a system which is the bare minimum.

“You’ve got to have some redundancy in there so you’ve got capacity for any changes to regulations or increases in production volumes.”

Jared said having the right information during the planning stages of a new project was important to ensure an efficient system was installed.

“That comes back to Craig and I providing the right info to the farmer, so we can deliver the correct specifications and options.

“We need to make sure we’re getting it right for the customer.”

Jared said installing a data logger on to a farm’s current milk cooling system provided a picture of how well it was working.

“First of all, we can use a temperature probe on the milk inlet to the silo to get a temperature reading of the milk entering the existing system.

“We can put another probe on the water going into the plate cooler, to see what the temperate of the water is.

“We can also have a probe on the silo, to show us how quickly the unit is cooling the temperature in the silo.

“From those three readings, we can determine what needs to be done to improve.”

Jared said farmers are aware of how important it is to comply with milk cooling regulations.

“But there is a lot of information out there and some of it not in the best interest of farmers.

“Organisations like Dairy NZ, Fonterra, your own dairy co-op, they are best placed to give you the right information you need to understand what the regulations are and the implications for your farm.”

Source: Rural News