Farmers need to move on chiller decisions

DeLaval Compact Water Chillers

8 May 2017 - DeLaval New Zealand is urging farmers to prioritise milk chiller decisions as enforcement of new cooling regulations draws closer.

“My team is out on farm every day, and the message back is that there are still farms that aren’t compliant - even though we’re now only a season away from the regulations being enforced,” explained Justin Thompson, DeLaval’s Sales Director for Oceania. 

By June 2018 all farmers must comply with new requirements to have milk chilled to six degrees Celsius within six hours of commencement of milking, or two hours of completion of milking. The new rules, brought in by the Ministry for Primary Industries, are designed to bring New Zealand standards into line with international trading partners. 

“There’s been a fairly long lead time into this but even though awareness is pretty good, there’s definitely still a lag putting that awareness into action. As we get closer to enforcement of the regulations, the risk side becomes significant – that your milk is not compliant and isn’t picked up. That can get very expensive very quickly,” said Mr Thompson. 

He is urging farmers who haven’t yet spoken to an expert to prioritise an assessment. 

“There’s a lead time of a few months on supply and installation of our own DeLaval chillers, and we’re hearing a similar story from other manufacturers, so the time to make a decision really is now,” he said. 

He says the upside to the costs of compliance can be significant efficiency gains and energy savings. 

“We’ve calculated a payback period on a new DeLaval compact glycol chiller of around two and a half years for an average farm, with ongoing per annum savings of around $9.5k if the farm is bundling products smartly – for example, by using reduced temperature detergents in conjunction with the hot-water byproduct from the chilling system,” he explained. 

His top tips for farmers considering an upgrade or a vat replacement are: 

Farm water temperature

If farm water currently goes above 18C on the hottest day, energy efficiency gains from a new system will be greater. 

Shed older than 5 years

Product advances and general cooling improvements mean farmers who haven’t built a shed in the last five years stand to gain from recent innovations. 

Consider climate

Northland, Waikato, BoP, Manawatu and top of the South Island farmers with higher annual average temperatures will have a tougher job chilling to the lower required temperatures quickly and consistently, and could make substantial energy savings from an upgraded solution. 

Shop smart

Look for built-in heat recovery to reduce energy use, systems that do not require added hardware components as herd size increases, interest free terms, and good service provision to ensure maximum benefits from the capital outlay. 

“Our advice to farmers is pretty simple – talk to the experts, get some really robust advice, and get it as soon as possible. Do this right, and you can actually come out of a new regulatory requirement better off,” said Mr Thompson.

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