New milk vat technology coming soon

New milk vat technology coming soon

23 September 2019

Fonterra will be installing new milk vat monitoring technology over the next couple of years to support the production of high-quality milk and make milk collection more efficient.

Richard Allen, Group Director of Farm Source, says the new technology is part of Fonterra’s commitment to help make farming easier.

“We’re always looking for the latest tech and tools that can help our farmers, and through the Co-operative Difference we are committed to supporting them in producing high-quality milk.

“Whether you’re in the milking shed or out in the paddock, you’ll be able to monitor your vat from the palm of your hand,” says Richard.

Fonterra suppliers will be able to choose the type of monitoring solution that best suits their farm. The base model that provides volume, agitation and temperature data can be installed at no cost to you (other than power supply) or you can upgrade to an enhanced model and pay for any extra features.

A pilot programme was undertaken last season with approximately 80 farms in the Waikato and Canterbury. The feedback received helped to validate assumptions about the benefits that could be realised by farmers. Those who participated in the pilot say it helped them make more informed decisions and address issues quickly.

“I have been farming for 34 years and this makes life easier for both workers and relief milkers, especially the notifications when the vat chiller has been left off,” says Tirau farmer Adam Wainman.

Winton farmer Peter Hancox says he’d definitely recommend the system to others, while Geoff Stevenson, who farms just outside of Christchurch, says the technology was easy to use.

“Really good system, good for watching temps. I’m not a computer buff but easy enough to access,” Geoff says.

The milk vat monitoring technology will alert you to cooling challenges so you can meet the Ministry for Primary Industries’ milk cooling standards. By avoiding grades, you are also a step closer to achieving recognition under the Co-operative Difference.

With more precise information about volume and milking times, Fonterra will be able to improve collection efficiency. This also means you will save time as you will no longer need to manually update your milking time window.

Installation schedule

We’ll be installing this technology by region over the next couple of years. Below is an approximate schedule. Your local Farm Source team will provide you with more information closer to your region’s installation.

  • Canterbury Tasman Marlborough: October 2019
  • Southland Otago: January 2020
  • Northland: April 2020
  • Waikato: July 2020
  • Bay of Plenty: January 2021
  • Central Districts: April 2021
  • Tarankai: May 2021

For more information about this initiative, visit the Farm Source website.