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Date: 18/08/2017

New cooling regulation confusion potentially costing farmers

Te Awamutu dairy farmer, Brian Chick, thought the new regulations were based on the milk temperature going into the vat, and so doubted his compliance.

He contacted his local supplier whose assessment indicated he needed to install one of 2 options, ranging in cost from $25k – $40k. Seeking another quote, Brian contacted Tru-Test whose assessment showed he was already compliant.

Brian now can’t stress enough that “it really pays to understand what the regulations actually require and talk to a number of suppliers.”

Examples like this has made dairy stock performance and milk protection specialist, Tru-Test, realise there’s widespread confusion over what the new milk cooling regulations actually require.

“This confusion is resulting in some farmers spending unnecessarily or overspending to upgrade their milk cooling equipment. Given the current economic climate, it’s more important than ever farmers are only investing where they need to and in ways that will give them the best return.” says Tru-Test’s New Zealand General Manager, Verne Atmore.

“Our local Rep could have sold me a bigger unit but a 6hp Ice Bank was the best solution for us. Even better, it’s given us some future proofing.” Graham Brocklehurst, Hauraki Plains.

Actual Requirements

To assist with this, Tru-Test has sought technical clarification on the incoming regulations.

The regulations are very outcome based.

Compliance is determined by the vat milk temperature at the end of the stated timeframes. Not the temperature of milk going in. It’s also meeting the stated temperatures at the end of your milking cycle whether that’s single or blended.

Farmers need to first ask themselves am I milking under or over 4 hours. 

For those under four, there are only two things you need to worry about; that your milk is down to 6°C within 2 hours of completing milking, and that your blended temperature is no more than 10°C at the end of any additional milkings.

For those milking for over 4 hours, it’s a little more complicated. You need to have your milk down to 10°C within four hours of the commencement of milking. It must then be down to 6°C within 6 hours.

Snap chilling is only required in two instances; if milking longer than 6 hours or using a robotic milker.

Otherwise, there are no specific rules on refrigeration type. As long as you’re meeting the temperatures for your milking timeframes, how you do it should be determined by what’s best for your business, budget and infrastructure.

Tru-Test offers a full range of Milk Cooling and Tank solutions. These include icebank, water & glycolpre-cooling options along with refrigeration units, new and second hand vats and vat insulation wraps. 

We can assess your compliance and then tailor a solution once your level of compliance has been determined.

We’re also serious about on-farm support, operating a 7-day call centre, providing a nationwide service to our customers.

“Farmers have so many more cooling options now. We’ve moved beyond the one size fits all approach with solutions that meet considerations like shed size, milking frequency and water use.

As well as future proofing against further regulation changes and herd expansion”, Verne explains.

The value of shopping around

Hauraki Plains dairy farmer, Graham Brocklehurst, went into the process of upgrading his milk cooling system thinking he might have to pay for a bigger refrigeration unit.

“I looked at a few suppliers but settled onTru-Test because of their maintenance plan, which for me is a must.”

“Our local Rep could have sold me a bigger unit but a 6hp Ice Bank was the best solution for us. Even better, it’s given us some future proofing. Whilst it’s not the biggest for our operation we now have a man’s system doing a boy’s job”.

Tru-Test On-Farm Solutions Manager, Dave Gray talks Neal Conning through the results of his Milk Cooling Assessment and options for his milk cooling to meet the incoming regulations and his business goals.