It’s a great job to be able to produce high quality milk, but what good is it if it doesn’t make it to you? Well, that isn’t something we have to worry about, in part thanks to our very loyal and very important milk truck.
Our milk truck backs up to the barn every other day and can pick up as much as 34 000 litres from area farms.
Every other day, the milk truck backs up to the barn, ready to take another load of milk. The driver (usually Dennis or Chris for us) takes a look inside the milk tank to make sure it looks like good, wholesome milk.
Next, they turn on the agitator which is a big paddle inside the tank that stirs the milk up. They’ll also check to make sure the temperature of the milk is nice and cool, make sure the milk and milking system has been working properly over the last 48 hours (with the help of monitoring systems that make sure the milk was always cool and the equipment was washed). Next, they take another look inside the tank to make sure the milk looks like it should.
Our milk tank has worked to keep the milk at a cool 3 degrees the last 48 hours, spinning every hour to make sure the cream doesn’t seperate.
Once the agitator stops stirring the milk, they measure how much milk is in the tank using a long pole that looks like a big ruler. That ruler is calibrated for our tank to tell the driver how many litres we have. Dennis or Chris then take a sample of the milk that is used to test for quality and make sure that nothing but pure milk is present. (If antibiotics were present, we would face enormous financial penalties and the entire truck load would be dumped)
The next big step is the big one: use a hose from the truck to hook up to the milk tank and pump the milk into the truck. This truck can hold 34 000 litres of milk collected from a number of area dairy farms. It will then be off to a processor to be made into a number of dairy products like yogurt, cheese, or even ice cream!. Most commonly, our milk heads off to Neilson Dairy in Georgetown, Ontario and can be found in all kinds of stores in bags and cartons labeled ‘milk’.
When our on-farm tank is empty and all the milk is on the truck, a wash system is turned on that will make sure the tank is sparkling by the time we are ready to milk the cows in the evening.
So, if you see a big milk truck heading down the road – give a wave to the driver who has an important step in making sure the milk gets from the farm to your fridge.
And as a note on some interesting numbers: In 2013 there were 207 milk trucks in Ontario picking up milk from 3980 dairy farms and delivering it to 71 processing plants.