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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Is your milk cold enough?

Dairy Pipeline: June 2004

-- Alan G. Grove
Extension Area Dairy Agent,
Valley of Virginia
(540) 564-3080

It is important to cool milk immediately after milking to reduce bacterial growth. Bulk tanks should operate to maintain milk temperatures below 40 degrees F (4 degrees C) and above freezing. Every degree above 40 increases bacteria counts and reduces the shelf life of finished products. A properly operating milk cooling system should:

While these goals are stricter than most state and national regulations, they are necessary to meet today's standards for producing high quality milk.

Maintenance of your cooling system is important to meet the above listed goals. Some early warning signs of system malfunction include:

If your milk isn't cooling properly and staying cold, or you notice any of the above problems, contact your local equipment servicer to have the system checked. Better yet, have routine service checks to avoid these problems. By properly cooling and storing milk, producers can receive quality premiums and avoid penalties for high bacteria milk.

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