Don't let hot weather increase the expense that already comes with cooling milk, says Larry Collar of California Dairies, Inc., the state's largest dairy cooperative.
In April, a few days of 90°F temperatures in California's Central Valley resulted in a rash of degraded milk that reached above 45°F, he says. That cost producers nearly $2/cwt.
"Sometimes a couple degrees are all that's needed to prevent a temperature degrade,” Collar says.
Some producers never have hot milk problems because they invest in extra cooling units that kick in automatically when necessary. Many have moved to air-cooled units due to concerns involving the amount of water use. "These newer units are very efficient but do require periodic maintenance to keep them running at peak efficiency,” Collar says.
Condensers should be cleaned at least once every couple of months to remove dirt and debris. Do this by blowing compressed air through the condensers from the fan side out; be sure to shut the fan motor off first.
"Using larger receivers or variable-speed pumps balances the flow of warm milk through cooling equipment,” Collar says. "It allows the well-water side of the plate cooler to take a couple extra degrees of heat out of the milk before it reaches the milk cooling side of the system.”