Fonterra is beginning to install new milk vat monitoring systems over the next couple of years.
The co-op accepts that some farms had had to make changes to meet new standards effective June 1.
Many farmers had already upgraded their dairy systems over the years to comply with the new rules.
From June 1 last year raw milk has had to conform as follows:
• Be cooled to 10°C or below within four hours of the start of milking
• Be cooled to 6°C or below within the sooner of six hours from the start of milking or two hours from the completion of milking
• Be held at or below 6°C without freezing until collection or the next milking
• Must not exceed 10°C during subsequent milkings until collection.
Fonterra says where there is continuous or extended milking — such as through automated milking systems — the milk must enter the bulk milk tank at 6.0°C or below (‘continuous or extended milking’ is defined as milking for six hours or longer from the time that milk first enters any bulk milk tank).
To confirm the capability of milk cooling equipment, farm dairy operators are required to have an auditable system that confirms milk cooling requirements are met.
As a minimum, milk cooling performance must be monitored and recorded on at least two occasions per dairy season, including:
• About the time of expected peak milk production, and
• February each year.
Each performance check must cover at least two consecutive milkings and the records must include:
• The temperature of the milk in each bulk milk tank immediately prior to the start of milking (if any)
• The time that milking started
• The time milking is completed
• The temperature of the milk in the bulk milk tank at the completion of milking, and
• The time that the milk is confirmed as meeting the requirements.
Temperature measurements and recording can be accomplished using:
• An electronic monitoring system
• A chart recorder
• A tiny tag or similar temperature logging device
• Manual measurements using an electronic thermometer (non-glass), or
• Any other equivalent method.
The accuracy of the temperature measurement device must be known because the data collected is an official record.
All milk cooling systems must comply with the requirements of the Ministry for Primary Industries NZ Code of Practice 1: Design and Operation of Farm Dairies.
Coolants which are not water (eg glycol) must be food safe and a MPI-approved dairy maintenance compound.
Farmers are required to inform Fonterra if they are using a coolant other than water in a primary cooling system.
Seek approval for modifications
If farmers wish to make any modifications to any Fonterra owned equipment they are required to obtain Fonterra’s prior written approval.
This includes (without limitation) operating glycol or water in the refrigeration base of the vat, attaching any sensor or monitoring systems to a vat, any welding to a vat or components (including, without limitation, valves, stirrer, ladder, strongbacks, etc) and attaching any items that may affect the use of a vat or come into contact with the milk.
If you insulate a milk vat you are required to:
• Ensure the insulation is adhesive free and maintained in a satisfactory state
• If the vat is changed you must remove (at your cost) all insulation, clean off any glue deposits and repair any damage or corrosion to the vat.
If you damage any Fonterra-owned vat, agitator, sensor or RFID equipment or lose or modify (including theft) Fonterra equipment or components you will be responsible for the cost of any repairs or replacement.
To ensure Fonterra operates efficiently at all levels, management of milk vats requires forward planning and regular maintenance.
Fonterra undertakes to:
• Provide farmers with a milk vat (or vats) appropriate to the farming operation and efficient milk collection. Vats may have a device installed that determines the volume of milk and in-line temperature sensors that could transmit data, provided they meet the requirements of the Ministry for Primary Industries New Zealand Code of Practice 1: Design and Operation of Farm Dairies, and are approved by Fonterra
• Attach a radio frequency identification device to the vat. Each device is unique to the vat and is essential to the milk collection operation and sample accuracy. The device should always remain attached to the vat
• Be responsible for all maintenance costs associated with the vat and other Fonterra-owned equipment (except if the vat is damaged by the farmer)
• Provide a free farm dairy Milk Vat & Cooling System Maintenance Guide to assist with the correct use of the farm vat and cooling system.
• This article first appeared in Getting the Basics Right 2019.