If you want more choice in your business, good money management is the bottom line. Explore options to meet your goals, understand environmental requirements, and how to influence what is happening in your region. Milk plant 4 People section shows you how to recruit quality staff, be a better manager, work within the law, grow your people and much more. Matching feed supply and demand is an underpinning principle of pasture-based dairy farming in New Zealand. Animal management is a critical component of farm profitability and sustainability.
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Milk cooling affects milk quality. The quicker the milk is cooled after milking, the better the quality when it is collected from the farm. Check the performance of your current plate heat exchanger. See 'checking the performance of the plate cooler' further down the .
Consult with your milk company to determine if your current system will meet the new milk chilling requirements. A PHE consists of a series of very thin stainless steel plates. Water flows along one side of each plate while milk flows along the other. Heat is transferred from the milk to the water via the plate.
The capacity of a plate cooler is adjusted by adding or subtracting plates. The easiest way to check the effectiveness of your plate cooler is to compare the temperature difference between the incoming temperature of the cooling water and the outgoing temperature of the milk leaving the plate cooler. One simple way to check this is to use a PVC strip thermometer. These thermometers have a paper backing on them, which is peeled off and stuck directly onto a clean, dry metal pipe Figure 1. Note: Improving the efficiency of plate cooling is likely to require the services of a skilled technician.
Cleaning the plates is not an easy task — it is time consuming and best left to experts. Inefficient systems may need resizing, extra pumping capacity, additional cooled water storage or a complete dismantle and service.
The additional capital and service costs should be considered against the annual costs of using an inefficient plate cooler. The cost of an inefficient plate cooler increases in proportion to the annual milk production of the farm. The peak flow rate of milk expected from the milk pump will determine the type of pre-cooler size of the plates and milk plant 4 plates required.
Ideally plate coolers should use the coldest available water on the farm. Industrial plate coolers are more suitable in situations where milk flow rates exceed 4, litres per hour. Here the refrigerant expands as it takes heat from the milk, is pumped out of the jackets, compressed, then pushed into the condenser. The hot refrigerant is cooled by air or water flowing through the condenser fins. The cooled gas condenses into a liquid and is pumped back in to the jackets around the bulk milk tank to start the cycle again. Direct expansion has the disadvantage of maximum power draw during and after milking which is generally peak rate.
If large electric motors are used there can be problems in areas of poor power supply.
Direct expansion refrigeration systems are pressurised, which means they require a skilled technician for maintenance. If your current plate heat exchanger and refrigeration unit combination are not capable of meeting the new milk cooling regulations you may need to consider a secondary cooling option. These can involve a large capital outlay and long payback period but may come with the benefit of heat recovery, enabling you to save on hot water costs.
Carefully evaluate all options to ensure the system is fit for purpose without over capitalising. The Genesis milk cooling tool can help you to calculate the benefits and payback periods for many of the secondary cooling systems mentioned below. Cooling towers can be very effective at cooling water especially in areas of low humidity. The most effective plants are fan forced and turn over a large store of water every hour.
Ice banks generate ice along evaporator coils using night-rate power. The ice is used to chill water for the pre-cooler. The warm water is then returned from the pre-cooler to the top of the ice bank and cooled again as it runs down the ice. These systems can require more maintenance than other systems and are not as energy efficient as a direct expansion vat.
If working on night rate electricity rates they may save money even though they use more energy. Ice banks take up less space than storage of chilled water. Glycol systems tend to use a very small volume of fluid and create the chilled fluid on demand at milking time.
Generally, these systems are a big capital expense.
Using more energy than a direct expansion tank they have advantages relating to installation and maintenance procedures. They insulate your milk from outside temperatures and weather, preventing it from heating up and reducing energy used by the refrigeration unit. Effectiveness of a vat wrap will depend on whether your vat is inside or outside and where in New Zealand you are located. Actions to take Install strip thermometers to the plate cooler water inlet and milk outlet pipes to monitor its cooling effectiveness.
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