Frequent hot washing is key to tackling bacteria
TBC is the total bacteria count in milk, which is measured from the milk sample taken at source by the co-op truck. This milk is then pasteurised and a thermoduric count is carried out.
Thermoduric bacteria are heat resistant and in high numbers effect shelf life and quality of products made. As with lactose levels and SCC counts, significant penalties apply when tolerance levels are exceeded.
Dr David Gleeson and his colleagues in Moorepark have carried out excellent work in this area.
Caustic-chlorine detergents should contain 15pc caustic and 3pc chlorine to ensure optimum cleaning. Detergents should be checked off products tested in Moorepark. This list is available on Teagasc website or from your advisor.
As fat levels rise in milk more frequent hot washing is required to remove deposits left in plant after milking. Continuous cold washing can result in poor fat removal, allowing a biofilm to develop for bacteria to flourish. Descaling once per week is very important, particularly in hard water areas.
Ensure 14 litres per unit is available for rinsing and 9 litres per unit available for detergent washing plant.
Check the temperature of the tank regularly. Co-op milk quality award winners generally have tank temperature set at 2.5C.