Clean Milk Equipment
Proper Storage and Cleaning Produces Consistent Yield
Once you’ve milked your cow, what do you do with the
For many, the milk is the bread and butter (literally and
figuratively) in the farm’s future, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure the milk can make it
off the ranch and into your customers’ hands and fridges.
Once the milk is stored and safe, you need to make sure your milk equipment and milking area is
sufficiently cleaned and free of dirt and bacteria.
With proper storage and maintenance, you can ensure consistency in both milk yield and
First, filter the milk and cool it, then store it in a separate and sterile milk
room. Filtering can be accomplished through an in-line system, which filters it as it is collected or by passing it
through a separate filtering system following milking. Filtering will remove any clots and particles in the milk.
Make sure not to reuse the same milking bucket or filter once the milk is filtered. A cloth filter may be used,
washed and disinfected.
Quickly refrigerate the milk after collecting to prevent bacteria and quality
reduction. Cooled milk should be stored ideally at or around 39F until processed but cannot be stored more than two
days at that temperature.
Clean the Machines
You must clean the milking machine after each use because milking machines will only
function properly if good cleaning habits are practiced. This will also prolong the life of the machine and ensure
consistent quality of the milk product. A clean machine will also make sure the milk has the longest shelf life
possible. Thoroughly cleaned machines also ensure consistent milk yields and prevent problems.
As with any equipment, this process includes making sure all the outsides of the
milking machine are wiped down and cleaned. Visible dirt and milk deposits must be scrubbed away from the outside,
and the outside of the tubing should also be cleaned and rinsed in clean water. Rinse the machine off with clean
water and wipe it down following cleaning.
The machine could look spic and span on the outside but, on the inside, build-up and
leftover milk can cause a host of problems, not only with the machine but the milk itself.
Make sure to clean all right angles thoroughly to ensure milk will flow smoothly.
Elimination of fat and protein film normally requires alkaline detergent, whereas an
acid solution is needed for mineral deposits. This means you won’t necessarily be able to use the same detergents
and cleaners all the time and instead, must run different liquids and solutions through the machine on separate
times, with separate rinses following each step.
The water temperature must not be too high or too low because the temperature dictates the effectiveness of many
detergents. Several commercial products are available from local retailers, all labeled to describe the role they
play in the process and the necessary water to solution ratio that will be necessary. Make sure to follow all the
directions on the labeling to a tee, and store your cleaning products in a separate storage area, close to but away
from the milking and storage areas.
Proper maintenance of your milking machines can ensure you consistently get the highest
milk yields from your cows.