Using a plate cooler to cool milk is a great way to save energy, but keep in mind the plate cooler can be 15-20% of a farm’s water requirements. This water can be reused for cleaning or for drinking (which has a benefit in that cows prefer to drink tempered water). The challenge in parlour systems is that plate-cooler water flow rate is very high and occurs in a short period of time. Storing plate cooler water in a reservoir for re-use is advantageous – as it can balance high supply (from the plate cooler) with demand (e.g. when a group of cows drink simultaneously after milking or during wash-down of large surface areas such as the parlour, waiting area or stalls). It is important to note that having enough storage capacity is critical in order to avoid wasted overflow – and capacity needs to grow when farms expand. With robot milking systems, plate-cooler water is spread out more evenly through a 24-hr period, so having a large volume on hand in a reservoir may not be required.

-Dr. Andrew VanderZaag, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada