This particular Fonterra supply farm had about 380 cows milking this season and still had the original refrigeration unit (about 15 years old). They also have access to bore water for precooling the milk before it enters the milk vat ( 9100 litres) where it is cooled with the refrigeration unit.
Kensington Refrigeration is a proactive and forward thinking company based in Whangarei who service this farm. Justin Storey one of the owners put the idea of a Packo ice bank to Patrick the farmer who is also forward thinking and invests in technology. The farmer liked the idea of being able to make ice at the cooler part of the day i.e. night time and have it ready for first milking at 5 am. Making ice at night means you can save energy as the refrigeration unit is more efficient. Some farmers can also save on power by using night rate electricity if they have access to it. Once the ice is made the refrigeration unit turns off and waits for the stored cooling energy to be depleted before starting up again and topping up the ice.
On this farm we measured milk entering the PHE ( Plate heat exchanger) at 25 C and going into the vat at 3.6 C. This meant the old vat refrigeration unit did not even start during milking as the set point was 5 C! This was a pleasant surprise to Patrick as he had been so used to checking the refrigeration was working after putting cups on the first lot of cows in the shed.
The Packo Ice bank on this farm was located outside so Patrick had arranged for some tin covers to be made up to keep the sun and rain off the unit which is standard practice and inexpensive. We are going to monitor this farm as we expect Patrick will have some more good news as he gets his milk pick up analysis reports in the coming weeks. As he is cooling the milk almost instantaneously to below 4 C the milk testing is likely to be improved when the tanker picks up the milk and collects the sample for lab testing.
This farm with bore water pre cooling as the main and only means of pre cooling is very typical of NZ Dairy Farms. We believe ice water based pre cooling is a simple and very effective way to instantly chill milk and improve overall milk quality. It will surpass the minimum cooling requirements as prescribed by the Ministry for Primary industries which are being implemented in stages from August 2016.
We have some similar installations in the Waikato and Rotorua regions coming up in the next few weeks and expect a few more farmers to join the list of happy Dairy Cooling Solutions customers.
The very first Packo Ice Bank has been installed in Northland by Kensington Refrigeration. The Dairy Cooling Solutions team and Benny from Packo spent a couple of days of the farm to help with the process. Watch the video to hear what Justin had to say about the install.