An innovative milk chilling system that will help Canterbury farmers meet new cooling regulations and save on energy costs was on shown at the Ashburton A & P Show.
New cooling regulations, which come into effect from mid- 2016, will require milk to be chilled to 6 degrees Celsius within two hours of milking. Around 40 percent of Canterbury’s dairy farms (440 farms) will need to take action to meet the new standards, with some requiring a total upgrade of their milk chilling systems.
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority has co- funded the installation of the new plant at Rylib Dairies Fairmont Farm at Hinds. Designed to save on farmer’s energy costs, the project is part of EECA’s technology demonstration programme.
Developed by Hamilton based refrigeration equipment specialist, Coolsense, the new system allows compliance with the 2016 cooling standards, but it also means lower power consumption on the farm. Not only does the smart plant reduce electricity costs by chilling the milk more efficiently, it also produces hot water as a by-product.
With the average New Zealand dairy spending over $20,000 a year on electricity, EECA Projects and Relations Manager, Kirk Archibald, says any energy savings are a big bonus for farmers.
“It’s expensive to run a dairy farm and there are a lot of fixed costs that farmers can’t skimp on such as feed and vet bills,” Archibald says.
“Energy is a controllable cost and makes up about five percent of the cost of running a farm. If you can reduce your energy spend the savings can be ploughed back into the farm or used in leaner months to keep the farm going.”
Rylib Dairies milks 820 cows twice daily and has been operating the new plant since February.
“It’s been fantastic,” says Assistant Farm Manager, Scott Armstrong. “The biggest benefit has been the cost savings. Because the milk goes into the vat at 6 degrees Celsius it’s at the temperature for pick up and we’re saving a third on our chilling costs.”
“We’re also saving on the cost of hot water. The heat recovery gives us 1,500 litres of hot water a day to wash our equipment.”
Armstrong says over the months of August and September the farm saved $2,055 and 8821 kilowatts of power, which equates to a reduction of 28 percent in kilowatt units per kilogram of milk solids on the previous year.
“With milk volumes continuing to increase we expect these savings to increase over the year and are delighted with this outcome,” Armstrong says.