I am going to start a blog series about the components that make a great milk room. Originally, I milked in our open barn next to the goat stalls until we could upgrade and create an area dedicated to the milking process. Every year we made little upgrades and now I have what I consider to be an ideal milk room and often get asked about it and what should be included in a milk room. My milk room now promotes efficiency and cleanliness and we made strategic decisions to ensure this. The more efficient your milking area is, the easier it is to stay consistent in your routine. And staying consistent in your routine is very important to not taking shortcuts when it comes to your milking and cleaning procedures.
One note to make is that our milk room is ideal for us but may not be ideal for you. Use what infrastructure and resources you have paired with your needs. We milk 3-9 goats and process no more than 3 gallons of milk per day at peak. Your milk room may need to process 20 gallons of milk and a lot more goats. Parts of what I share can be applied to your setup but you will need to adjust it to your needs as well.
Before I talk about the components that make up the milk room, I am going to start with what your milking area should be no matter what kind of infrastructure you have.
- Clean – Take care and diligence in keeping the area clean to eliminate excess bacteria from your milking area.
- Free of manure and debris – Keeping your stalls and bedding clean, keeping hooves trimmed, and brushing your animals are steps you can take to limit the amount of manure and debris that is brought into your milking area.
- Dedicated to milking – Ideally your milking area is used ONLY for the milking process to limit the exposure of bacteria to your milk.
- Be proud to show it off – You milking area doesn’t have to be anything fancy but you should be proud of the space and it should be functional for the task at hand.
- Act like you have a customer coming for a tour every day – If you follow the same process every day to clean up your milking area then it is not a big deal if a customer shows up because your area is clean and tidy. You want your customers to feel safe and confident about buying milk from you, the condition of your milking area speaks volumes to the cleanliness of your milk.
This is a picture from 2008 after we just bought our property and converted a 2 sided carport into a barn. We built stalls and then made a makeshift milking area that worked to start. We were not selling milk, only drinking for our own personal consumption and kept it as clean as we could.
This is a current picture of the milking side of our milk room, quite the step up from the picture above! This transformation did not occur overnight and was the product of many years and many changes all with this end vision in mind.
Throughout these posts I will highlight a component of the milk room and talk about why we chose what we did and how it makes our milking process more efficient. I would love to hear your input or questions as you read these posts.
Happy New Year! Here at simple PULSE we have been busy this winter making some changes to our products and are ready to release our new designs.
We are raising our prices for the first time since we released our system 2 years ago as our supply costs have seen several increases in that time.
We have redesigned our tank to allow you to mount it either to the jar box, a wall or even a cart. For those users who just want to use a larger bucket, this will allow you to easily mount the tank to a wall or cart and save you some money if you don’t need a box.
For those users who will be milking with the gallon jars and need the box, we are now making the boxes out of a white HDPE that is super easy to clean! This material is not cheap so the box is a little bit more money but in our opinion well worth the extra investment ($25). All of our systems give you the option of box materials, white HDPE, wood or no box.
The last change we have made is we have sourced some more powerful 3 cfm pumps that we are now using with our single animal systems. This means a lower price on the single animal system for you! If you plan on milking 2 at a time or a cow we recommend going with the 6 cfm model.
If you need any help picking the system that is right for your farm just give us a call or send us an email.
For those of you that already have our system but would like to upgrade to the white HDPE box, let us know and we will be able to modify it to house your current tank. The box is $75.
Jesse and Cristen Sullivan
We offer two types of milk hose and another common question we get is, what is the difference between the two types of hoses? We use the silicone material because of its flexibility in the winter months but we like the Transflow hose as well and offer it as a less expensive, quality option. Below are the descriptions of both hose materials.
FDA approved, Transflow is specifically designed for raw milk applications. It is specially formulated to reduce the risks that can occur with the use of rubber tubing. It is made to not dry out or crack which allows it to last longer than rubber tubing.
Transflow tubing has a smooth, non-porous bore that reduces the occurrence of buildup of butterfat or milk solids and it is not affected by strong cleaners. It is clear which permits immediate visual inspection of your milk and the cleanliness of your lines. Contains no BPA or phthalates.
FDA approved, silicone is unaffected by temperature meaning it will perform the same at 90 degrees or -20 degrees maintaining the same flexibility and ease of use. This is the main difference between it and the Transflow tubing, it’s flexibility.
Silicone will not dry out or crack. Milk, fat, bacteria and cleaning solutions will not react with the silicone thus not allowing deterioration of the milk line. It is perfectly hygienic with a longer life span than other types of milk tubing. Silicone tubing will not discolor from its original translucent color. Silicone is said to last longer than any other hose material.
One of the most common questions we get is what products we use to clean our system with. Below will be an outline of how we clean our system in a process that works well for us. You will have to find a process that works for you and your herd. You will partially know your process works if your milk stays fresh for at least a week. There are dairy labs that conduct coliform and standard plate counts for around $30 that would be the best way to know if your cleaning system is working.
We use 4 products for cleaning our system:
1. Dishwashing liquid
2. White vinegar
3. Household Bleach
4. Cable Brush Kit
We use two 2.5 gallon buckets for our cleaning process, the first one gets lukewarm water and the dishwashing liquid (about 1 tsp per 2 gallons of water). You want your first step to be something other than hot water as that will set the milk proteins into your hose.
The second bucket gets hot bleach water (approx 2 tsp per 2 gallons of water). You want this water to be very hot as this is your sanitizing step. One thing to note about the bleach is that the little bit that may be left in your lines after sanitizing becomes inactive once organic matter touches it, in this case the milk, you will not have any bleach in your milk.
Every 3rd day we also do an acid rinse using the white vinegar (approx 1/2 cup per 1.5 gallons of water).
Once a week we also run a cable brush kit through our milk lines as we find that it helps keep our lines extremely clean.
After our lines are sanitized, we hang them to dry next to our machine.
After we clean our lines we scrub our jars and lids in the sink and allow them to air dry on a towel next to the sink.
If you do not have a dedicated milk room you can still clean your system where you milk by taking 2 buckets of cleaning solution to your milking area from your house. After your lines are clean, hang them to dry and cover them with a towel to keep them clean.
If you have any questions just let us know and we will be happy to answer them, thanks!
Jesse and Cristen Sullivan