Mother Nature decided on October 30th to stop grazing the cows for the year. The cows had been indoors at night and grazed during the day, but torrential rain made grazing conditions uncontrollable. Damage to the soil now would make spring grazing difficult when weather conditions are not favorable in late January.
As said, the growth has still been very good and it looks like we will carry a high cover of grass over the winter. The pregnant heifers are still grazing and seem content, as are the young heels. It has been extremely mild and the young heifers are healthier when grazing outside as they might get a bit too warm in the barn.
I always dread the thought of housed the cows and going into the full winter routine as work life can get very monotonous, cleaning cubicles, milking, feeding and then repeating, but we will start drying off the cows mid-November whatever the time will reduce workload.
Fall calves will be tail painted this week as will any heifers we plan to breed. We will be using sexed semen on both cows and heifers, the bulls we ordered had to be genotyped Irish and encoded before the semen could be released for use but fortunately it has now all been processed and the semen is available to us use available.
With increased energy costs this year and also increased chemical costs, we had been working for months on a cost-effective washing routine for the milking parlour.
Chlorine based detergents were an extremely good way to clean the milking machine and would never have been a problem if used correctly with adequate final rinsing.
However, the allowable limit for TCM levels in milk of 0.00155 mg/kg meant that processors had decided that all detergents had to be chlorine-free and, in retrospect, I would say that perhaps it would have been better to opt for an option decide increased testing and penalties for suppliers who had exceeded TCM values.
Stainless steel is just as easy to clean in a milking installation as glass, however plastic, plexiglass or rubber parts on claw pieces and gauges can be a bit more stubborn to clean and quickly impact TB.
We have milk meters that are difficult to clean with non-chlorine detergents.
Up until 2022 we used lots of hot water combined with lots of detergent and sometimes we still struggled to keep them clean with our laundry routine.
Working with technicians and a laboratory at a detergent company over the summer taught us a lot.
The detergent lab was tasked with formulating a detergent that would work effectively, while on the farm, together with the field technicians, it was our job to see if we could use the detergent to keep the milking facility clean by adapting various washing routines .
Daily temperature checks of the wash water, pre-wash at fluctuations from 20°C to 70°C have taught us over time that a lot of hot water is needed to heat up the milking equipment and maintain the heat during the washing routine, but more importantly, what we’ve learned that a bad hot wash is the worst thing you can do because as the temperature drops, milk residue breaks out of solution and settles on hard-to-clean parts, forming a clear jelly-like foam over time .
Samples were taken which allowed the laboratory to modify the detergent to effectively combat this problem. After much discussion, and with the detergent company’s new detergent product working very effectively at less than 40°C, the joint decision was made to use cold water wash with detergent to eliminate the risk of a poor hot wash due to variables in the hot water supply.
The detergent company also recommended running hot acid descaling washes after the cold detergent wash on days when the bulk tank wasn’t being cleaned, and this fitted easily into the new routine.
Looking at the milking facility now I can say with certainty that it was the cleanest I have seen in years and we are making savings by not heating water on a daily basis. The washing routine is simple – 14 washes with cold detergent and two washes with extra hot acid descaler per week, with our final rinse each time containing peracetic acid, which we have used in the final rinse for a number of years and haven’t had in all year one Problem with THD.
The show heifer halters were hung up for 2022 after a successful National Dairy Show which ended the show season for that year – kudos to all the organizers as there was an electric atmosphere over the two days in Millstreet and while we watched newborn heifers develop and play in the calf stables, time will tell which of these heifers will win one or the other rosette next year.
Peter Hynes farms with his wife Paula in Aherla, Co Cork
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/dairy/dairy-advice/peter-hynes-our-new-wash-routine-means-the-milking-plant-is-the-cleanest-i-have-seen-it-in-years-42118157.html Peter Hynes: Our new washing routine means the milking facility is the cleanest I’ve seen in years