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Don’t cut CIP corners

Ron Robinson Published on 21 September 2009

What are your CIP goals? Better and faster cleaning. Less system damage. More efficiency. Environmental stewardship.

Cutting costs… According to Table 1*, detergents, acids, sanitizers and teat dips cost a producer $50 to $85 per cow per year.

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That’s $0.0014 to $0.0023 per cow per day or about 2 percent of total costs. When milk premiums can reach up to 10 percent or more per hundredweight of milk, producers need to spend time analyzing the financial impact of CIP costs and the negative impact drastic cost-cutting can have on the bottom line.

While current milk prices are forcing dairy producers to sharpen their pencils to reduce costs, any cutbacks that jeopardize milk quality and premiums should be avoided. Wouldn’t it be great to find areas to improve milk quality, boost premiums – and reduce costs?

We recommend working with a milk quality team so that producing high-quality milk doesn’t cost; it pays.

Identify the problems
We recently visited a 2,000-cow dairy because the producer wanted us to evaluate his milking system and look for ways to cut costs. We reviewed his water quality, equipment condition, CIP performance, teat scores and milking procedures.

Typical of many farms we visit, this dairy’s milk quality challenges were tied to the CIP pre-rinse phase.

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See the photo labeled Pre-rinse A. It shows how the water should look at the end of the pre-rinse phase. The water is pretty clear because with a proper pre-rinse phase, 90 to 95 percent of milk’s soils are removed.

Now see Pre-rinse B. This photograph is the actual water found at the 2,000-cow dairy at the end of the pre-rinse phase. In this photo, you can see milk solids dispersed in the water, due to milk residue left in the system after milking.

We determined that the producer wasn’t running enough water through the system to flush out the milk residue. To have effective cleaning, you must keep flushing and run the pre-rinse phase until the rinse water is clear!

Next, see the photo labeled Detergent. Taken during the cleaning phase, this photograph shows cloudy water. Again, for the best cleaning efficiency, this water should be much clearer.

The producer attempted to make up for the inadequate pre-rinse procedure by using a higher concentration of chemicals. We determined he was using three times the amount of detergent necessary to clean the system.

He was pumping in 4.5 gallons of detergent per wash, when 1.5 gallons was all he needed for his double-60 parlor (based on water hardness, iron content, water use, soil type, soil load and size and type of equipment).

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Milking 3X and paying $6.50 per gallon for detergent, this producer figured we saved him about $58.50 per day ($21,352.50 per year) on chemical costs, not to mention reducing the amount of chemical residue in the discharge water, the potential for groundwater contamination and possibly reducing system damage.

Because his system wasn’t set up correctly, this producer kept adding more and more detergent to combat the milk residue problems. This challenge, however, was traced back to inadequate pre-rinse procedures.

Your milk quality team should be able to evaluate your operation and then provide the most cost-effective CIP program, using the right chemicals and usage rates based on your needs.

Investigate new ways to save
There are new CIP technologies that have the potential to improve milk quality, protect the natural environment and animal welfare, and simultaneously improve a producer’s bottom line. Many of these ideas have been proven and used for years in other countries.

For example, when water and energy usage became a critical factor in Europe, our parent company Hypred developed and introduced single-cycle detergents and shorter cleaning cycles for parlor and pipeline cleaning. Shortened cleaning cycles provide many benefits, including water, energy and time savings.

Reducing those elements means saving money – and the environment. A shortened cleaning cycle also reduces downtime in the parlor, which allows producers to run more cows through the parlor, expand their herds and improve profits.

In addition, switching to a single-phase detergent will reduce water use and discharge, energy and chemical use, phosphorous discharge and the burden on lagoons. This technology is not new, though widespread use in the U.S. hasn’t occurred yet.

In conclusion, if you find yourself using more detergents to get your system clean or if your milk quality team hasn’t met lately, now is a good time to evaluate your system and discuss any necessary action steps for improving milk quality – and your bottom line.

When you focus on proper milking mechanics and CIP chemistry, you will:
• Maximize the life of plastic and rubber goods
• Reduce cleaning costs
• Maintain more consistent, quality results
• Improve overall parlor safety

These benefits far, far outweigh the costs! PD

*Tables and photos omitted but are available upon request to

Ron Robinson
Vice President Business Development
A&L Laboratories

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