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Preparing for our first milk collection of the season

August 7, 2008

We've phoned Fonterra and arranged for them to start collecting our milk as of saturday morning. They'll start off on every-second-day collection as our initial volumes are low but we should be able to pass the minimum collection volume of 400 litres ok.

This morning we did our first big clean of the milking plant (on our own) in preparation for the commencement of sending milk to the vat for supply to the factory. Fonterra are extra strict on milk quality during the first 10 milkings so it's essential to have everything cleaned thoroughly.

Barrels of cleaning chemicals

Going forward we'll have to clean the plant with cold water followed by hot water and acid each morning, and just cold water and acid each evening. Twice a week we'll also run a powdered alkali mixed with water through the cleaning plant before the sanitising acid wash. Once a fortnight we need to add another chemical to the alkaline mixture to prevent build-ups of any of the chemicals in the pipes.

We'll have four milkings going into the vat before the first tanker arrives - thursday night, friday morning and night, and saturday morning. Since we only have around 20 cows ready to supply the vat, we might not have enough milk to cover the vat chiller on the first milking. We've been warned that this can lead to a grade for having excess water in the milk if you turn the vat chiller on too soon (since ice may form on the non-covered parts), so we have to be extra careful in managing the cooling system until there is additional milk in the vat on friday. Let's hope that everything goes well!

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