Is your vat maintenance up to scratch?
The end of the season is a good time to start thinking about your vat maintenance and getting your plant up to scratch before you start milking again.
A little bit of work now can save a lot of headaches and reduce the chance of grades due to plant faults. A good place to start is to give the outlet and three-way milk entry tap on your milk silo a good soak in alkaline and hot water. Remove the CIP spray nozzle and clean that out also. While you are there, check the non-return valve on the three-way tap is working, and the spring inside it, which can be prone to giving way.
Follow this up with an acid wash once the outlet and three-way tap are back on the milk silo. Other things to check include the silo door wing nut and thrust washer. If they are tight, replace them. It is also good practice to start the season with a new door rubber.
Have a listen to the stirrer motor and if the bearings are getting noisy, it could be time to have it serviced or replaced. A week or two before calving, put some water in the milk silo and cover the paddle. Turn on the refrigeration and give it a good run. Check that the thermostat reading is dropping. The water should end up at 4 or 5 degrees once you’ve run it and if it’s working well.
Remove cobwebs and dirt from the condenser and brush it out or use a hose on it. Be careful not to use the full blast as you can damage the fins. Doing these simple things may eliminate issues once the season starts. All the best for a happy new season.