Milk, as fresh as it comes has a “use date” on it, but why? Did you know there are such things as good bacteria that help our bodies? Milk is packed full of them! There are also bad bacteria in milk. That’s why all milk goes through the pasteurization process before it arrives on the store shelves. We don’t pasteurize on our farm, instead we send all of our milk to be processed at DariGold Creamery. Our job is to make sure the milk is filtered and cooled immediately after it leaves mama. This is to ensure we make high quality milk that will last longer in your refrigerator! When milk leaves the cow it is roughly 97 degrees. It then goes through our high efficiency cooling system that flash cools it to 34 degrees.
With 1600 girls that make about 11 gallons of milk EACH every day, we have our hands full to get that milk cold. Truth be told, it’s one of the biggest energy expenses we have at the farm.
We do everything we can at Rickreall Dairy to protect the environment around us. We’ve always naturally done what’s “sustainable” because it’s good business. The key is to never get comfortable. We are constantly looking for areas to improve efficiencies.
Recently we looked at our cooling system that was created in the late 80’s and realized it was highly inefficient compared to what’s on the market today. For example, look at the technology in cars. What’s more efficient, the 1990’s gas guzzler, or the 2018 hybrid? The answer was obvious. We needed an update.
Unfortunately, there’s no “cash for clunky coolers” program so we had to front the cash ourselves. We knew the energy savings would pay for the new equipment in time, but what we didn’t realize is HOW MUCH the hybrid would save us in electricity costs over 1990’s dinosaur. The new chillers are saving 30 percent of electricity costs for the milking barn! We expect that the new system will pay for itself in energy savings ALONE, in about 2 years!
So, thanks to advances in technology in the industry, we are able to produce a higher quality milk (remember: colder faster means longer shelf life) while using significantly less energy and saving money. That’s what “sustainability” is all about!