Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chillin' in the Milk Barn

It seemed fitting on the first day of summer during June Dairy Month that we would host a tour for dairy farmers and community members  to showcase our new milk chillin'  plate cooler. After completing an energy audit of our dairy farm  in 2011, the plate cooler was one of the energy saving suggestions. A Conservation Innovation Grant from NRCS made it possible for us to invest in this project for our farm.   Although cooling the milk is necessary year round, a hot first day of summer  was  perfect for talking about chillin' the milk!

Milk cooling costs are usually one of the largest energy operating expenses on the dairy because it  takes a lot of electricity to cool the cow's milk from 98 degrees when it leaves the cow to 38 degrees in the bulk storage tank. The plate cooler, also known as a Milk Pre-Cooler, is a series of steel plates installed in the milk line before the bulk tank. Cold water passes through a plate cooler in one direction and absorbs heat from the warm milk pumped through the plate cooler in the opposite direction. The plate cooler can reduce the temperature of the milk entering the bulk storage tank to within 4 degrees of the incoming cold water temperature.

Besides saving electricity and money with faster cooling, Milk Pre-Coolers also create these benefits:
  • Increases the milk quality by inhibiting bacterial growth through faster cooling.
  • Extends refrigeration equipment life by reducing load and run time.
  • Daily milk production can also be increased when the warm water exiting the Pre-Cooler is used for watering the cows.

The installation of the Milk Pre-Cooler also required an addition of a variable speed milk pump and a water system to recycle the water used by the plate cooler for our dairy cows to drink in the pasture.

Our showcase tour also included a visit to the newly installed rubber tire water tanks.

Chillin' the milk and recycling water on our dairy farm are perfect examples of how we  continue our commitment to producing high-quality  milk while caring for and conserving  our natural resources!

No comments:

Post a Comment