The anniversary of the new MPI milk cooling requirements is here, where all dairy farms were required to comply with NZCP1 at 1 June 2018.
We are aware that many suppliers have not yet been able to meet the compliance requirements, and soon, there will be some urgency to become compliant with the Ministry of Primary Industries legislation.
Adding more cooling is often seen as just another compliance cost, more expense for Dairy Farmers, not taking into account, the last few years of more money going out than coming in.
The reality is that MPI has brought this in for the export market, to quote a Fonterra Technical adviser from 2014:
“New Zealand's standards had been more relaxed than those of other countries, despite producing a higher quality of milk.
The changes were being driven by New Zealand's export markets to bring the country into line with the rest of the world. It would allow New Zealand to argue its standards were as good as those found in the European Union or Asia”.
So where to now, if you’re not compliant? Are you compliant? Alternatively, how can I tell whether I am or not?
Probably the first thing to do is familiarise yourself with NZCP1, Section 5.14 onwards.
Secondly, check what’s happening now, is your plate cooler working efficiently? The milk should be leaving within about 2ºC of the precooling water. The better this is working; the less cooling is needed when it gets to the vat. After all, Pre-Cooling is Free Cooling!
What temperature is the milk getting into the Vat? What is the actual cooling time? Are you well within the required cooling envelope?
Thirdly, what is your mixed milk temp at the afternoon milking? Is it below the required temp? This is where those who are marginal will be caught out.
All these checks should be carried out at peak loads, ideally with a data logger so that you get a clear picture.
A range of data loggers are available that can store information for the required period, under NZCP1, they range in price but are generally quite affordable.
If you are not meeting compliance, the sooner you act, you will avoid being on the penalty side of the code.
There are plenty of options available to meet compliance; if you are lucky, it may just be a Vat Refrigeration upgrade (beware of oversizing these units!), or one of many of the precooling systems out there.
While there is a wide choice of options out there, you need to be sure you get the best for your site.
Get some advice, find out what you need in the way of size. Get more than one opinion and consider the following:
- Cost (not just price) a cheap unit may suffice in the short term, but if it is of low Quality, then repairs and replacement will come around quicker than a better quality unit.
- Energy usage. Is it going to increase peak loads at the shed, leading to possible power upgrade (more cost)? Note, if all farms on the same power supply all put substantial refrigeration loads on during milking times, is the power supply able to manage the demand?
- Is the system going to save operating costs? Systems that store cooling energy by using off-peak power will not add to (will even reduce) peak shed loads by using electricity at a cheaper rate, add to that, systems with Heat Recovery for hot water (over 75ᵒC) will reduce your power bill substantially, offsetting the capital cost and pay for itself over time, turning your cost into an investment.
- Lifespan, how long will it last? Like your Vat Refrigeration, quality units will last anywhere up to 25 years. The longer it lasts means the cost of ownership per year is reduced.
- What happens if you have a breakdown? With separate Vat and precooling systems, if one or other fails your risk is minimised, Vat unit fails, milk is already cooled and probably be picked up by the dairy company. If Pre-cooler fails, then vat unit can cool it, as it does now, a bit longer to cool, but can still probably be picked up. When you have a system that does both Vat and Pre-cooling, any failure will result in milk in the vat at 18ᵒC or more, probably not going to get picked up.
- Peak season will be upon you before you know it, there will probably be the predicted rush to be compliant. This means that demand for systems will be high with a shortage of equipment and time for people to put them in. We are talking about a vast number of systems!
So when is a good time to act? NOW!
Start by finding out the right solution for your site; it’s not a one size fits all scenario. Leave it too late, and your choices may be limited, and you will face delays in getting something in time.
There are payment options available so you can order now and pay later with some reasonable offers available through Milk/Farm suppliers. These have been put in place to help farmers with compliance. When you can own a system from Around $100 per week, beat the rush and save some money at the same time.
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See the information on NZCP1 here: