Bay of Plenty couple, Andrew and Lynette Stuart from , thought it was too late in the day to reap any benefit from new dairy technology. They are revising that after their DTS Vat-Man saved two-day’s worth of milk in its first 24-hours.
Andrew says he and his wife, and their 14-herringbone shed, were all three looking forward to retirement at the end of the season. The team were reluctant about vat monitoring. “I suggested to Fonterra that they didn’t put a vat monitoring system in. I thought it was a waste of money for only 12 months or so.” But vat monitoring was all go.
The couple called DTS and installed the DTS Vat-Man. “There are a few options out there but the most important thing about any technology is the service behind it, and the people behind the service. DTS had maintained our refrigeration over the years and we thought, why change a good thing?”
Then, hello! The next day “everything happened”. A broken pipe meant the farm lost nearly all its water from the manikin tank. “Okay, we’ve got that problem. Then, this Vat-Man alert went off on the phone saying, ‘your milk is too warm’. I’m thinking, ‘yes, it is too warm – I know!’
I thought the plate-cooler wasn’t operating correctly because there wasn’t enough water flow.” The text alert prompted an unscheduled check at the shed. “I’m standing there, the stirrers are going, lights are on, but the vat wall was warm.
Then it clicked, the refrigeration unit was not running and required resetting. Everything started up. Back to normal. Excellent!”
The refrigeration had tripped, so within the first 24-hours of going live Vat-Man saved two-day’s production. Andrew says yesterday, the refrigeration went off a second time. They have tracked it down to an unrelated issue causing instability with the three-phase power supply.
“We are all busy, and things happen on farms, parts break, supply fails, people forget to switch on chillers, we are supposed to check the temperature at the end of milking. It doesn’t always happen. Vat-Man means there’s nothing to worry about and it’s never too late for a great monitoring system.”