Is your Parlour Clean Enough? Foam Cleaning Can Help

A dairy goat parlour should be a hygienic place to harvest milk for human consumption. The cleanliness of the exterior surfaces is part of Ontario's Grade "A" farm requirements. Observations made during farm inspections and milk quality troubleshooting indicate that there is a positive correlation between high quality milk and a high level of parlour hygiene.

Keeping the exterior surfaces of a dairy goat facility clean can be a labour intensive and tedious job. It is not just the more obvious surfaces like walls, floors and milking stands that need to be clean. Frequent contact points like milking clusters, milking machine key pads, and headgate release levers are all points where germs may collect and lead to cross contamination during the milking procedure. A clean milking parlour also reduces the attraction of flies and is the first step to good fly control.
It is easier to maintain a high level of exterior surface hygiene if you wash and sweep after each milking. This will help prevent manure, feed, or milk residue from sticking to milking equipment and the floor. However a more intensive "deep" cleaning is required periodically. Too often other pressures on the farm take priority and parlour hygiene slips.

Most dairy goat producers take pride in their facilities. My observation has been that producers utilizing foam cleaning for exterior surface cleaning maintain a high level of parlour hygiene and also maintain enthusiasm for keeping a clean parlour.

Why Foamers Make Cleaning Easier

Foam products can penetrate into areas which are difficult to reach or access by producing a high-volume, rich clinging foam. The foam typically sits on the surface for about a half hour and even adheres to vertical surfaces. Labour is reduced since the foam is doing the work drilling into the soil. The foam product is rinsed off or power washed off after the soak time. Some brush scrubbing for areas with heavy soil is beneficial. Foam cleaning achieves far superior cleaning results versus power washing alone. Even fly specs are easily removed! Alkaline foaming products are effective at removing residues of manure, feed and milk (i.e. organic residues). There are also acidic foaming products that remove hard water/mineral scale (i.e. inorganic residue). Dual foaming products are formulated to be effective on both organic and inorganic residues.

There are various types of foam applicators. Some are fixed units that could be dedicated to the milking parlour using standard water pressure to draw and blend the chemical concentrate. The foam is created by injecting compressed air into the foam product which greatly increases the volume and surface area covered. Other units may attach to a power washer. Regardless of the type of unit used it is important to make sure you use a potable (safe to drink) water source and have proper backflow prevention so that your water source does not become contaminated. Ask your supplier about any necessary precautions you should take. Foam cleaning technology is an investment that may pay off in many ways.

Thank you to dairy goat producers, Matt Vanmaar and Shawn Kelley for the pictures demonstrating foam cleaning.

Figure 1 (from left to right): Applying a rich clinging foam; Removal of foam by power washing leaves a very clean surface; Foam application in a parlour

Figure 1 (from left to right): Applying a rich clinging foam; Removal of foam by power washing leaves a very clean surface; Foam application in a parlour

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