Striving for the Highest Quality Milk

Consumers demand fresh, wholesome, safe and good quality milk. The way to achieving these goals may be as easy as optimizing your milking systems CIP (Clean in Place) performance and efficiency. Proper CIP procedures are vital in delivering the highest quality milk. Milk leaves behind fat, protein and mineral residues in the milking system. These residues must be removed after each milking to ensure the system does not adversely affect the quality of milk being harvested. Milking equipment cleanliness and correct functionality play very important roles in improving or maintaining a low Standard Plate Count (SPC) or bacteria count.

With milk quality premiums and production being at stake, let’s have a look at CIP Basics.

Pre-Rinse Phase

An effective cleaning process begins with an adequate pre-rinse phase. This phase is intended to remove 85% of the soil load from the pipeline. To effectively remove contaminants, we suggest flushing the system with 110⁰ F - 125⁰ F water. Do not recirculate this rinse water; divert this down the drain. Keep flushing until this rinse water appears clear.

We strongly recommend flushing to remove most of the soils in the pre-rinse. Most cleaning challenges we find on farms are linked to inadequate pre-rinse procedures. These situations attempt to compensate for inadequate pre-rinse procedures by increasing the concentrations of the chemicals. This can cost the producer more than money; there is a risk for increased ground water contamination and possible system damage, including discoloration of stainless steel and damage to plastics and rubber components.

Alkaline Phase

The alkaline phase, which follows the pre-rinse phase, can be either a single step or a 2-step process, depending on the detergent selected. Alkaline products accomplish four basic functions to keep soils in suspension until they are sent down the drain:

1. Penetrate soil

2. Lift soil from the surface

3. Break up soils into smaller particles

4. Saponify (break down) fatty acids

Most alkalines consist of 2 main ingredients, chlorine and sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. Chlorine removes protein, while sodium / potassium hydroxide removes fats. To be effective, alkalines need to have the correct water temperature throughout the cycle. Water at the end of the cycle should be greater than 120⁰ F; on most farms. That means the starting temperature should be at least 160⁰ F. If these temperatures cannot be achieved, producers need to use a product specifically designed for lower water temperatures. Also, producers need to use the correct amount of alkaline, based on the factors relevant to the dairy, such as water hardness, iron content, water use, soil type, soil load and size of the CIP system.

Acid Phase

Since alkalines and chlorine leave behind mineral deposits, the acid phase follows the alkaline phase. The acid phase circulates an acid solution through the milking system after it is free of gross residues, fatty acids and proteins. It also helps to prevent bacterial growth by forming a bacterio-static film on milk contact surfaces. Add enough warm water (60⁰ F - 120⁰ F) to obtain a pH value of 3 to 4. If the water rinse is 68⁰ F or less, use a non-foaming acid. If silicates are present in the dairy’s water, do not let the pH drop below 5. The level of buffers in the water source will affect the amount of acid needed to move the pH to 4. Therefore, highly buffered water will require more product for sufficient effect.

KEY FACTOR: Properly Functioning Equipment

If the equipment is not functioning properly, a cleaner’s effectiveness will be challenged. Follow the manufacturers recommendations regarding air injector setting to ensure that each slug completely traverses the entire pipeline without breaking down. Also, a slug must maintain adequate shear force during its circuit, so the cleaning action is consistent thought out the entire system. This process physically removes soils from the surface, disperses soil into solution, prevents soils from re-depositing on the surface and increases the chemical action by renewing the chemical solution on the contact surface. Similarly, follow the manufacturers recommendations for the maintenance of jetter cups, duck bills and milk pump seals. The same applies for the vacuum regulators and pulsators.

Follow Guidelines and Lower Costs

By following the basic CIP Guidelines, dairies should lower sanitation costs, reduce energy costs and decrease wear on milking system equipment. Best of all, dairies should meet the milk quality goals in Table 1. In summary, remember that there are several factors that impact cleaning: time, temperature, turbulence, chemical concentrations, water quality, soils being removed, type of surface being cleaned, cleaning method and people. To OPTIMIZE your CIP Performance, make sure each factor is performing optimally. Just like a sports team, it takes teamwork to maintain an efficient and properly functioning milking system that promotes quality milk production. BouMatic Milk Quality Vision: Lead the dairy industry, by educating our customers with the latest ideas and technological tools available, to ensure dairy producers achieve the highest quality milk possible.” BouMatic recommends creating and working with a Milk Quality Solutions Team. Working together to develop and implement any necessary action steps will lead to optimization of quality milk production.