A vat of milk, calving in full swing, and no power. Far from an ideal scenario for Whakatane sharemilker, Troy Doherty. At no notice, with electrics off to fix a broken line, Troy’s vat refrigeration was out of action and the power-driven digital vat thermometer was no use. A timely monitoring system from DTS made all the difference.
“I was at a loss. I wondered if we needed to call Fonterra for an early pick up. Luckily for us, we had just done some research around vat monitoring and were part-way through a Vat-Man installation with DTS.
“There were other companies, which we hadn’t heard much about, offering systems. We knew and used DTS for other technology, drafting gates, weigh systems and everything from the company had worked well. They were easy to deal with and we had good support from their technical and support people. Over the years, we had developed trust in them and their products, so it was a good fit.”
“When the power went out, only the Vat-Man hardware had been mounted at the shed. Calibration sensor testing was in process and the temperature monitoring and alerts functionality was still to get up and running.”
Banking on his earlier excellent service, Troy thought it was worth a shot to ask if DTS could fast track the calibration and monitoring.
Accurate information on milk volume and vat temperature would, at the least, allow him to tell Fonterra how much was in the vat for an early pick up.
“DTS were very efficient, had the whole job done quickly and kept us in the loop around the calibration process."
"We got hold of accurate data which meant we had confidence in our milk quality, we didn’t need a special collect from Fonterra and could wait for our usual pick up time."
The information from Vat-Man and support from DTS meant our milk wasn’t going to spoil and we weren’t going to have a financial penalty.”
Troy believes the true value of Vat-Man is more about the future savings.
“Now I can go to my phone any time of the day and see information that is timely, relevant and easy to interpret. It is so much more than compliance. The biggest benefit is the extra security of knowing that if anything goes wrong, we will know early.”
As an example, Troy notes an incident from the previous season.
“Last year we did dump milk because of a mechanical alert failure. We had a noisy siren that didn’t sound. By the time we knew there was a problem, it was a very expensive issue. That was obviously thousands of dollars. With the DTS Vat-Man in place, that won’t happen anymore. It can’t happen anymore.”