LAKELAND DAIRIES MEMBER RELATIONS ADVICE FOR SUPPLIERS
For those at all year around milking or liquid or winter milk, taking steps to keeping your parlour running is important. To reduce the risk of ice forming in milking machines:
- Make sure that all doors into the parlour are kept closed
- Install a thermostatically controlled heater in the plant room which should cut in when the temperature falls to 1°C
- Keep items such as the power washer in the plant room to prevent the pump from freezing
- Let the machine run a little bit longer to ensure that all excess water is removed from the plant after the final rinse
- Open the machine at the low points, particularly at the filter sock - some machines may also have a drain at the base of the receiver jar
- Remove the jetters from the claw pieces and let them hang down
- Circulate a saline/ salt solution through the milking machine, having first made sure that all the detergent has been rinsed out of the plant
- This solution is made by mixing half a kg of salt in five gallons (22 litres) of water. Salt will drop the freezing point of water. Rinse before milking to remove salt traces. If the rinse is inclined to freeze, start milking without rinsing and let the first few gallons go to waste or feed to calves
- Diaphragm milk pumps can also cause problems. Open the locking nuts to allow any excess water to escape or alternatively place an infra-red light over it.
As well as having your parlour running over the cold snap, it’s also important to ensure that your haulier can collect milk safely.
- Clear and grit the area outside the dairy door to help reduce the risk of slippage
- Make sure that access to the dairy from the road is clear, gritted and ice-free.
FROZEN WATER PIPES
Milking cows need access to water at all times. A cow producing 20 litres of milk off a silage and concentrate diet needs between 75 and 90 litres of water per day.
Therefore, it is crucial to keep water flowing.
- Where there is an on-farm supply from a deep well, the deep submersible pump should not freeze but pipes and fittings from the pump to the pressure vessel (tank) and from there to the sheds need to be kept free of ice.
- Have a thermostatically controlled fan heater in the pump-house.
In very low temperatures, pipes have frozen at the entrance to the shed and inside the shed in the supply to the troughs. In such situations, even when thawed out they are likely to freeze again. The supply pipe to the troughs could be extended on further out of the house to a tap. This tap can be left to run at a low rate to keep water flowing where there is an on-farm supply source.
MAINTAINING FARM MACHINERY
You can take a number of steps to keep machinery in good condition.
Clear snow from outdoor scrapers at the entrance to the tank. Keep the ratchet mechanism and tracks free of frozen slurry.
Keep tractors in the shed when not in use. Have adequate anti-freeze in the cooling system. It can become diluted if being topped up during the year. Traces of water in fuel lines can freeze and block flow. Have batteries fully charged to cope with the extra demands of starting in freezing conditions.
PERSONAL SAFETY IN THE WINTER
There is an increased risk of injury during severe weather conditions. Most injuries result from slips and falls causing fractures and head injuries;
- Clear tracks around the farmyard, treat with de-icing salt and keep to these safe walkways
- Grit sloped yards and roadways to facilitate traffic
- Keep away from hazardous areas and rough terrain
- Bring a mobile phone when going out herding or on other journeys.
LAKELAND DAIRIES MEMBER RELATIONS
Please contact Lakeland Dairies Member Relations on 0818 47 47 20 or 028 3026 231 if you have any questions about the cold snap and getting your farm ready.