Dairy Australia - Dairy information for Australian Dairy Farmers and the industry

Primary content

Read about managing milk quality and the impacts of milk quality on milk pricing and dairy farm profitability.

  • Dairy cleaning practices

    Dairy cleaning practices

    Many dairy farmers have moved from hot water sanitising to chemical sanitising in recent years, especially in Gippsland and West Vic, where approx 50% of farmers now use a chemical sanitiser at least once a day, according to a study funded by Dairy Australia.

    If not managed carefully, this can pose a risk to market access. Farmers need to be aware that unless chemical sanitisers are rinsed thoroughly from the plant before the next milking, traces of the chemical can be left on the pipework.

    Although all of the chemical sanitisers being used in dairies have been evaluated for safety, this does not stop international customers and regulators putting their own requirements on the products that they wish to purchase.

    For example, some markets are very sensitive to residues of quaternary ammonium compounds / benzalkonium chloride, contained in some dairy sanitisers.

    This means some dairy companies are working with their farmer suppliers minimise the risk of residues in their milk supply. Depending on the milk company, some farmers may be asked to review their dairy cleaning practices.

  • Frequently Asked Questions abotu Use of QACs on Farms

    Frequently Asked Questions - Use of QACs on Farms

    What is a QAC?

    Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are a group of chemicals widely used as biocides and disinfectants in the home, industry and in food manufacture. Products containing QACs are used to clean and sanitise the milking machine and/or vat on some dairy farms. Benzalkonium Chloride (BAC) is the specific type of QAC of most interest, and is present in a number of products registered for use on dairy farms.

    Do I need to change my current practices? Why?

    Some international customers have placed strict requirements on the level of BAC residues they are prepared to accept in the products they import. Consequently, some milk companies are requiring their suppliers to change the way they currently use QAC-based dairy sanitisers to ensure these high value markets remain open to them.

    How do I know if the dairy chemicals I am using contain QACs?

    QACs are used to kill (sanitise) bacteria in the milking machine and vat. They are found in a number of products registered for use on dairy farms. Look for the following compounds listed as one of the €˜active constituents€™ on the front panel of the product label BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE€™, QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND€™ or €˜N-ALKYL DIMETHYL BENZYL AMMONIUM CHLORIDE€™.

    An indicative list of products registered with the APVMA is available here.

    What do I do if my wash program is automated?

    Changes to automated wash controllers should be done in association with the company supplying the controller. Your dairy chemical adviser should be able to assist with these changes too.

    What alternatives do I have to change my current cleaning practices to minimise QAC residues?

    There are 3 main options to minimise the risk of QAC residues – rinse the sanitiser out after use, use hot water in place of a sanitiser, or change the type of chemical you use to sanitise the milking machine and/or vat. The most appropriate option will depend on your farm situation and on your milk company’s requirements, which may vary. A decision tree has been created to help you work through the various options in association with your milk company or dairy detergent adviser.

    Decsion Tree - do you use a chemical sanitiser in your vat or milking machine cleaning program

    Option 1. Rinse out QAC-based sanitisers

    How soon should I rinse out the plant after QAC use?

    QAC-based sanitisers only need a few minutes to do their work, so can be rinsed from the plant immediately after their use, or preferably immediately prior to the next milking. Use warm or cold water at the same volume as used for the sanitising rinse. Good quality water is needed to avoid re-introducing bacteria into the milking machine or vat. Ensure the equipment is well drained so minimal water is collected with the next milk.

    Option 2. Use hot water to sanitise the plant instead

    How hot does the hot water need to be?

    Water needs to be at or above pasteurization temperature at every point in the pipework for at least 20 seconds to effectively sanitise the pipework. This means that the hot water temperature in the wash barrel should be at 90-93oC as it enters the milking plant. Use the same volume as used for the other detergent and sanitising cycles. Hot water is unsuitable for sanitizing vats.

    Option 3. Use an alternative chemical to sanitise the plant instead

    What other sanitising chemicals are available?

    There are many registered dairy sanitiser products available that do not contain QACs. Alternative chemicals may not suit your water quality so the decision to change over needs to be taken together with your dairy chemical adviser. Note that some alternative chemicals also need to be rinsed out after use (to avoid other residue issues) but there are some acid-based sanitisers that have been approved by the APVMA to be left in the plant €˜to drain€™.

    Are the alternative chemicals more expensive?

    The total cost of cleaning and sanitising the milking machine and vat each day are largely determined by the costs of heating water (power costs) and the cost of the chemical. Although a drum of an alternative chemical may cost more than a drum of QAC-based chemical, in many circumstances the total costs (power+chemical) of using an alternative chemical will be similar or less than either rinsing out the QAC-based sanitiser or using hot water to sanitise the plant instead.

    What do I do with any leftover QAC chemical?

    If the decision is made to stop using QAC-based sanitisers, leftover chemical should not be returned to the place of purchase, stored or disposed of on farm. Existing product should be used according to the current wash program, ensuring it is thoroughly rinsed from the plant after use. This may mean some delay before the new cleaning program can be implemented.

  • House keeping tips for Milking machine and vat hygiene

    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.

  • Products registered with the APVMA

    Products registered with the APVMA containing QACs as an active constituent as at 15 July 2013

    Note that this list is indicative only. There may be other dairy cleanser products containing QACs that are no longer registered as they are being phased out, or products that contain QACs as an ingredient, but not an active constituent. For more information talk to your dairy detergent adviser.

    APVMA No Company name Product Name Actives
    52522 ADVANCE CHEMICALS ADVANCE WERTHEIM TWIN CLEAN LOW FOAMING ACID DETERGENT SANITISER BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / PHOSPHORIC ACID / SULFAMIC ACID / SULFURIC ACID
    52566 AGVANTAGE PTY LTD / CATTLEKARE EXCEL ACID PLUS ACID MILKSTONE REMOVER PHOSPHORIC ACID / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND
    30030 DASCO KLEER X LIQUID ACID DETERGENT PHOSPHORIC ACID / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND
    53876 DASCO MULTI-TEMP ACID DAIRY DETERGENT SANITIZER BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / PHOSPHORIC ACID / SULFAMIC ACID / SULFURIC ACID
    60692 DELAVAL DELAVAL ACIDET ACID MILKING MACHINE AND BULK MILK TANK DETERGENT SANITISER GLYCOLIC ACID / PHOSPHORIC ACID / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND
    65106 ECOLAB DAIRY POWER ALKASAN ALKALINE DAIRY DETERGENT & SANITISER GLYCOLIC ACID / PHOSPHORIC ACID / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND
    51288 ECOLAB DAIRY POWER FLEXI-TEMP ACID DAIRY DETERGENT & SANITISER BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / GLYCOLIC ACID / ORTHO PHOSPHORIC ACID
    49188 ECOLAB DAIRY POWER HYSAN ALKALINE DAIRY DETERGENT & SANITISER BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / SODIUM CARBONATE / SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE
    45901 ECOLAB KLENZ-ALLTEMP ACID DETERGENT SANITISER BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / PHOSPHORIC ACID / SULFAMIC ACID / SULFURIC ACID
    52986 MILESTONE CHEMICALS MILESTONE DAIRY CLEANING SYSTEMS DAIRY PROOF ALKALINE SALTS / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND
    51152 RUAKURA SANIKLENZ LOW FOAMING ACID DETERGENT SANITIZER BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / PHOSPHORIC ACID / SULFURIC ACID
    45318 TASMAN CHEMICALS TANK AID PLUS BULK TANK CLEANER ACID SANITISER BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / PHOSPHORIC ACID
    55486 TASMAN CHEMICALS THERMOFLUSH MULTI ACID DAIRY DETERGENT SANITISER GLYCOLIC ACID / PHOSPHORIC ACID / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM CHLORIDE
    30205 TRENT VALLEY / QUALCHEM DIA-SAN DAIRY SANITISER N-ALKYL DIMETHYL BENZYL AMMONIUM CHLORIDE
    30000 TRENT VALLEY / QUALCHEM DUPLEX MULTI-PURPOSE ACID DAIRY DETERGENT SANITISER BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / SULFAMIC ACID
    Source: APVMA PUBCRIS database of agricultural and veterinary chemical products registered for use in Australia: https://portal.apvma.gov.au/pubcris. Accessed: 15 July 2013.

Major Initiatives

Focus Farms

Dairy Australia has established a network of Focus Farms to support farmer decision making.

DairyBase

DairyBase is a web-based tool that enables dairy farmers to measure and compare their farm business performance over time.

More Initiatives