The Processing Room

| 2/15/2012 12:08:48 PM

Nick Snelgar head shotI want to answer Chris, who emailed the site to say that he wanted perhaps to milk a small herd. We can help in this endeavour and would most definitely like to talk through the finances with him.

We had (a co-director and I) a very interesting meeting with Tim Jackson – the Principal of Sparsholt College of Agriculture (Hampshire ), who wanted to talk through the microdairying business model. For us it may mean an immediate ‘link’ to the student population with training, experience in small scale dairy farming, and the hope of encouraging many more self-employed farmers to get going.

The processing room – the ‘dairy’ – is the super-clean room in which we shall pasteurize, separate and bottle the fresh milk prior to sale on the doorstep. This week we have ordered the materials and equipment to lay the floor screed. The room within the timber barn is 6 metres by 6 metres. Down the centre of the room we shall cut the concrete and insert a floor drain with removable parts for washing at intervals. Then we shall set the floor levels to allow the screed (50mm thick) to drain into the central gulley. The surface of the sand and cement screed (grit sand ) will be carefully trowelled and left to dry. The final ‘hygiene‘ coat will be a gritty, (for traction) Epoxy resin covering laid on  with a trowel to 4mm thickness. 

Meanwhile, we can start the studwork walls which will be covered in Dairy Board (PVC sheets 2400x1200 and 3mm thick). The dairy board comes with clever jointers and cover strips which ensure seamless cleanliness throughout. Prices for the room will follow and will include labour to fix. I have met an ingenious refrigerator man who will help us with the walk-in cool room and who will direct us while we try to construct our own ‘clunky’ fridge doors. The savings are enormous. Details to follow.  

One of the cows has developed a scratched teat from the sharp teeth of the calf. I shall have to deal with this, as when we switch to machine milking through the new milking bail she may, with reason, kick up merry hell. What about the switch over from purely calf rearing to full-on milking husbandry – how will it go? So much to learn. I need to talk to Sue Cole in the New Forest, who is a deft expert in such matters, and I have Caroline Moody ( to provide training. Mentor Ian Crouch (source of the Jersey cows) is selling ‘raw’ milk to customers – how good is that? You can now buy fresh, raw (unpasteurized) milk at the Bowerchalke Market every Saturday. 

I think things are really moving. I think more and more people wonder about where milk comes from and who produces it.

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