House-keeping tips - Milking machine and vat hygiene

 Wash program and chemical use

1. Review your milking machine and vat wash program to ensure it still meets the program(s) recommended by the equipment manufacturer or your dairy chemical adviser.
2. Check/measure the volume of water used in each cycle of the wash program. Does it comply with the wash program?
3. Check the solution temperature of each cycle. Do these match the program?
4. Check automatic chemical dosing pumps or manual chemical measuring procedures to ensure the correct volume of chemical is being used at each wash cycle.
5. Double check this. Does the volume of chemical you calculate equate with the volume of chemical you are purchasing over a given period of time?

Dairy hygiene

1. Review the source of water used for cleaning the milking machine and vat. Is a better quality water available, requiring less chemical to achieve the same result?
2. Review milk quality results looking at Bactoscan / total plate count and thermoduric counts over time. Are these indicators well within target ranges?
3. Check plant cleanliness. Are the milk contact surfaces clean? Check inside the bowl of the clusters furthest away from the receiver. Inside of the receiver and milk lines are also good places to check for deposits.
4. Does the plant require frequent ‘bomb’ treatments to remain hygienic? If so, your routine cleaning program needs improvement.

Minimising residues

1. Ensure the milking machine and vat drain completely after every cleaning. Cleaning solutions trapped in the pipework compromise hygiene and reduce milk quality at the next milking. Drainage issues may need investigating with your milking machine technician.
2. Check and follow the label directions of dairy cleaning chemicals, particularly rinsing chemical sanitisers from the plant prior to the next milking.
3. Consult with your dairy chemical adviser to choose dairy cleaning chemicals that have a low risk of residues. Some customers are very sensitive to particular cleaning chemicals.