27 September 1996

Choose a bulk tank to suit you

NEW bulk milk tanks may fail to improve efficiency enough to make them worth buying on running costs alone, according to Steve Bettany of the Farm Energy Centre.

Speaking at the Dairy Event, he said cost savings could be made by adding an Economy Seven controller and a plate cooler to an old ice bank tank. This equipment was still not seen on many farms, but could cut annual milk cooling costs from £742 to £289 for the average 70-cow herd. That was if water from plate coolers was reused and not wasted.

A new direct expansion (DX) or new ice bank tank with a plate cooler, using Economy Seven electricity, could cost just under £200 a year to run on a similar farm, but the running cost was subject to many variables, he warned.

Those included time of milking, amount of ice storage, use of Economy Seven electricity, amount of cooling by the plate cooler and the water temperature.

So, the difference between running costs of ice bank and DX tanks was minimal compared with the other costs of a new installation. Those were the capital equipment cost, building alterations, compressor size, electricity supply and generator back-up needs.

Choose the system that best suits the farm and look beyond cooling costs when making buying decisions, he advised.

Steve Bettany of the FEC… Look beyond cooling costs when making your bulk tank buying decisions.