End of season maintenance

End of season maintenance

1 May 2020

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When you’re doing your end of season maintenance around the farm dairy, check your Farm Dairy Assessment report first.

Are there any structural / maintenance issues identified by the Assessor?

Now’s the time to get these sorted. Milk quality is all about being pro-active, not reactive and, a good final clean-up in the Dairy will make sure you’re ready to go next season.

Final Plant Clean of the Season Suggested Procedure:

1. Alkali Wash

A normal alkali wash should be carried out on the plant. Areas in the milk line that don’t clean well can be brushed after the alkali wash and before the acid rinse.

2. Wash Droppers

Take all the droppers off the main milk line from the long tail bend. Dismantle the droppers, taking the milk line, airline and long tail droppers off. Soak droppers in an alkali solution for a couple of days. Check and scrub any dirty droppers.

3. Check Unions

Any unions on the milk line that have been troublesome during the season need to be dismantled and checked. A milk line will move up to six millimetres (mm) between hot and cold water.

The plastic unions with cone seals in them need to be checked as the milk line tends to move within these unions. Replace any showing signs of wear.

If you have welded unions with O-ring seals, check for leaks and replace seals as necessary.

Replace any worn unions. Dirty unions in good shape can be soaked in the alkali solution then re-used.

4. Milk Releaser Pumps

Getting machines tested during the dry period is very important. It ensures that machines are running to their optimum for milk quality and animal health.

  • Diaphragm Pumps - Check all unions around the diaphragm pump and replace the diaphragms. Ensure back plates are fitted to diaphragms and check the oil level in the gear box as well as the general condition of driving belts.
  • Centrifugal Pumps - Check non-return valves and the condition of the mechanical seal. If the mechanical seal is at all suspect, replace it.
  • Rubber Impeller Pumps - Check impeller, non-return valve, and mechanical seal.

5. Filter housing

Check the seals on the filter housing. Also check the filter cage and if it is broken or out of shape get it re-welded.

6. Plate cooler

The off season is the ideal time to open your plate cooler, check for any soiling and scrub if needed. If you are unsure how to do this, call your plant fitter to assist. Always measure the plate cooler before opening it so it can be returned to the same position. Once the cooler has been loosened, pour hot water over the plates to split them open.

7. Bulk Milk Tank (silo, vats)

For the last wash, recycle a concentrated alkali. A silo recycle system should be in place for your silo or vat because you now can’t enter a silo (confined space) unless you have a current Confined Space Certificate. If you can scrub the vat walls without entering the vat, then use a neat chlorinated alkali, which you scrub onto the walls. Then rinse with hot water and sanitise. Remember to always use safety glasses and gloves.

  • Check all seals on the inlets, outlets and door seals.
  • Remove the spray ball and clear any debris that may have lodged in it over the season.

Once this procedure has been carried out, you only need a normal hot wash through the bulk milk tank before supplying milk at the start of the following season.

8. Inflations

Correct tension is essential to give proper pulsation squeeze on the end of the teat, and therefore, good milking efficiency.

It is better to start with new liners. Try to time it during the season so they need replacing at the start of the season.

Note: The extra rings on inflations are not there to improve the tension, but so the inflation can fit different shells.

By following this routine, the plant will be ready to go next season and you won’t be caught out when those inevitable early cows start appearing.

For more information on support around your milk quality needs, talk to your local Farm Source team.