Milk Pipe Research 

Peter Fopma, Business Development Manager, Mueller

Providing Valuable Insights to the Industry

“At Mueller we are constantly looking to gain more knowledge in the dairy farming industry, so that we can continue to offer innovative solutions to our customers. This research allows us to help our customers get the most out of their farms.”

Peter Fopma,
New Product Manager, Mueller, Netherlands

The Challenge

In preparation for future development, it has become more common for dairy farmers to put their milk storage at the entrance of their farm and away from their milking parlor. This can create distances of 100 yards or greater for delivering milk. Transferring milk over a long distance generates a concern that the milk could become warm and damage fat globules. If these globules are damaged, you will see more free fatty acids, which would threaten the quality of your milk. 

The Journey

Paul Mueller Company partnered with Dairy Campus in The Netherlands and FrieslandCampina to get to the bottom of this concern. We researched the quality of the milk after it traveled through a 220-meters long delivery pipe.

The study begins by running milk from the buffer tank through a plate cooler, before it enters a 40mm stainless steel pressure pipe. The plate cooler brings the milk down to 38.5ºF (3.6ºC) with ice water and then enters the pipe. After traveling more than 200 meters the milk is transferred to the silo tank. As the milk arrived it was measured at 38.8ºF (3.8ºC), just a slight rise from its original temperature. The milk was below the required 39.2ºF (4ºC), and therefore was delivered cold.

The Solution

Pumping deep-cooled milk long distances does not have to be detrimental to the milk quality. Developing a smart and efficient milk cooling system will ensure that the distance between the milking parlor / milking robot and the milk cooling tank will not matter.

Once the milk is pumped through the pipes it continues to be cooled in four air- or water-cooled milk cooling units. A lot of (low-value) energy is released during this process. By using a water cooled chiller, this energy can be completely converted into hot water and used for cleaning. The heat from the milk can also be used for heating offices or homes, which saves energy in the long run.

The Results

Pumping hot milk over long distances can damage fat globules as measured in the increased free fatty acids. However, when cooling the milk first and then transferring it, the free fatty acid levels stayed constant at 0.2 to 0.3 meq per 100 grams of milk fat. This is below the required national average. See the full research results from Dairy Campus and understand how cleaning the pipe plays a role here.

The direct cooling and cold pumping of the milk has a positive influence on the free fatty acids. This research helps ease farmer concerns, proving that with the proper cooling system in place, long delivery pipes do not threaten the quality of their milk. With this information dairy farmers can extend their piping, allowing for more flexibility in their farm designs.

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Partnered in Research with Industry Experts
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Gathered Real Data From Delivery Pipe Experiment
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Provide Peace of Mind to Dairy Farmers
Milk Pipe Research Dairy Campus
dairy campus in The Netherlands
Mueller Dairy Farm