One degree of separation
New rules on the cooling of raw milk are coming into effect, leading up to June 1 next year. They will require raw milk to be:
• cooled to 10ºC or below within four hours of the start of milking;
• cooled to 6ºC or below within six hours of the start of milking or two hours from the completion of milking (whichever occurs first).
• Raw milk must also be held at or below 6ºC without freezing until collection or the next milking, and the temperature must not exceed 10ºC during subsequent milkings.
• Where there is continuous or extended milking, such as with robotic systems, the milk must enter the bulk milk tank at 6°C or below.
Continuous or extended milking is defined as milking for six hours or longer from the time milk first enters any bulk milk-tank.
The current cooling standards require milk to be cooled to 7ºC or below within three hours of the completion of milking. The Ministry for Primary Industries says it is taking a staged approach to the transition.
The new rules took effect on August 1, 2016 for new farm dairies or dairies making significant changes to their refrigeration system.
The deadline is June 1 next year for other farm dairies. The MPI is advising farmers to consult their dairy companies, refrigeration service providers, farm dairy assessors and the EECA website before committing to capital expenditure.
It says it will work with Federated Farmers, dairy companies and other organisations to provide information to assist farmers affected by the changes The MPI claims its priority is to protect the health of consumers.
All farmers supplying milk for processing also need to operate under a registered risk-management programme, says ministry spokesperson.
They will be audited by farm dairy assessors and MPIrecognised verifiers.
“We are working with assessors and verifiers in implementing the new requirements. Dairy companies are also working with farmers to help them prepare for implementation of the new rules.”
Non-compliance will be dealt with primarily through assessments and audits, says the ministry. Assessors and verifiers will work with farmers to fix issues.
The MPI says the rapid cooling of raw milk is one of the most important steps in ensuring milk quality is preserved. The ministry says the new cooling standards are intended to reflect the rise in New Zealand herd sizes, longer milkings, and greater variation in farming systems..
According to the ministry, the likelihood of a new milk-cooling regime was first flagged in 2013.
A long transition period was given so that farmers contemplating an upgrade could opt for a milkcooling system that met the new requirements.
Dairy companies have also assisted farmers in understanding the possible impact of the new requirements on their farms.
The Ministry for Primary Industries is hoping the New Zealand dairy industry does not end up in a jam when the new milking-cooling regulations take full effect from June 1 next year.
The MPI is staging the change and encouraging dairy farmers not to leave everything to the last minute to avoid putting local suppliers in a position where milk-cooling systems struggle to keep up with demand.
The changes have been driven by international trading partners’ expectations.