A group of dairy cows standing in a field looking at the camera. The sky behind them is blue.

Jailhouse Flock: Inmates Moo-ving up Production at Upgraded Dairy

Cadell Training Centre, a minimum security prison in South Australia, is making headlines with its impressive new dairy facility. Minister for Correctional Services, The Hon. Dan Cregan MP, officially opened the multi-million-dollar dairy and processing centre on May 22 2024, with the facility operational since January.

Located within a low-security prison farm in the Riverland the 16-bay, eight-a-side herringbone was officially opened on 22 May and has been in action since 22 January.

The old eight-bay walk-through dairy had been built in the early 1960s, with milking technology that hadn’t been upgraded since 1981.

“We milked in the old dairy in the morning and then moved into the new dairy in the afternoon. It was a great feeling,” said Industries Manager Marcus Wills, highlighting the seamless transition to modern technology.

“We’ve brought ourselves very rapidly into the modern day by commissioning a new 16-bay herringbone dairy and a new milk processing centre.”

Restorative Justice Meets Real-Life Farm Skills

Cadell Training Centre’s dairy plays a vital role in inmate rehabilitation. The hands-on experience fosters self-discipline and responsibility, crucial for caring for the welfare of animals. Beyond dairy, the farm focuses on citrus, olives, and community service, including the inmate-operated Cadell Fire Brigade.

The focus on restorative justice helps inmates gain valuable skills, earning certifications in horticulture, dairy production, and commercial cookery. This practical training is essential for their reintegration into society, providing them with real-world experience and qualifications.

High-Tech Dairy Development Worth Over $3 Million Boosting Production

The development cost over $3 million, with major investment into technological improvements on the farm.

The new facility utilises advanced monitoring systems to ensure cleaning and pasteurisation processes are carried out effectively. Temperature sensors, pressure gauges and automated monitoring software continuously track critical parameters to detect any deviations that could compromise food safety.

“The efficiency gains are huge. And all the modern technology is incredible. We have better plant, better equipment and we’ve noticed already that our raw cream has increased in quantity and quality immensely, with massive increases in quantity especially,” Mr Wills said.

“We are also equipped with an automated cleaning system that streamlines the cleaning process, to ensure thorough cleaning of equipment, pipelines and storage tanks, reducing the chances of contamination,” he continued.

“Design of the new facility centred around workflow and hygiene. Surfaces, equipment and materials are easily accessible which reduces the likelihood of bacteria build up and makes cleaning more efficient.”

Correctional Facilities Supplying Dairy to Fellow Inmates & Local Companies

The new dairy facilities enable Cadell Dairy to meet the growing demand from various correctional facilities and local cheese and dairy producers.

“Because of who we supply, our demand keeps increasing,” noted Mr Wills, explaining that the Cadell Dairy supplies milk to most SA prisons including Adelaide Women’s Prison, Yatala, Adelaide Pre-release Centre, Adelaide Remand Centre, Mobilong, and Port Augusta.

Cadell Dairy also supplies local cheese and dairy producers with excess raw milk. It is being sold to local cheese companies, such as Barossa Cheese Company or La Casa Del Formaggio. Their raw cream is currently sold to Barossa Cheese Company and Udder Delights. However, Mr. Wills has plans to start keeping some of the raw cream within the institutions and supply the kitchens.

They are also currently in discussions with discussions with Moo Premium Yoghurt about supply opportunities.

Production Skyrockets With New Facility

“In the old dairy, we’d struggle to meet orders over 36 15-litre vats per week. Now I need to find at least one more customer because we’re outstripping our previous supply. We’re averaging at 2,000 litres a day and we can see it rising to at least 3,500 litres a day come spring. And that will keep climbing as we build up the herd,” said Mr Wills.

“We are milking 115 at present with another 42 pregnant at the moment and expecting to drop within the next three months,” he said.

“Out of that group, there’s probably 30 heifers that will be dropping for the first time so that will increase our milking herd by another 30.”

“Since we’ve gone across, there’s been a massive increase in milk and cream production and that can only be put down to the new technology,” he said.

“In the old dairy, we were able to hold 6000 litres of raw milk but we can now hold 10,000L of raw milk and when we processed we could only retain 5000L of processed milk now we can retain 10,000L of processed milk.”

The Cadell Dairy has 137 in its milking herd. In the old dairy, milking took about an hour and a half. In the new dairy, the herd is milked in 45 minutes.

Sources: Stock Journal, Dairy Safe

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