This reduces the loss of potency due to light. Store these and other products in a light-proof storage unit.

University of Arkansas study

Most farms do a good job of keeping products refrigerated, but how often are those refrigerators checked to be sure the temperature is in the right range?

A study University of Arkansas scientists conducted and reported on in the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association newsletter revealed that most farms’ refrigerators did not meet the recommendations.

How did they determine that? Temperatures were recorded at 10-minute intervals in 191 refrigerators representing all styles and ages, from less than five to more than 15 years old, in a variety of environments from kitchens to the area near cattle-handling facilities.

The study found only 27 percent of refrigerators maintained a temperature between 35 and 45 F during more than 95 percent of the 48-hour test period (the goal listed in the beef quality assurance guidelines).

Even worse, 24 percent of refrigerators maintained that temperature for less than 5 percent of the test period.

Refrigerator type and age did not affect the ability to keep a constant temperature, but location was important.

Refrigerators in temperature-controlled environments maintained the optimum coolness range better.

So, have you checked the temperature in your refrigerator lately? The thermostat may need to be adjusted, or perhaps you need to do some general maintenance.

Here are a few pointers for improving refrigerator performance:

• Vacuum vents and coils. Dusty coils have to work harder to cool the refrigerator.

• Clean the drip pan beneath the refrigerator.

• Clean the drain of automatic-defrost models. To clear the drain tube, remove the stopper and insert a pipe cleaner into the opening; flush with soapy water, then empty and clean the pan.

• Wash gaskets that seal the doors with soapy water. Occasionally test gasket condition by attempting to slide a sheet of paper between the seal and the refrigerator wall. If the paper slips in, the seal is not tight enough, and the gasket needs to be replaced.

• Do not position a refrigerator or freezer in direct contact with hot appliances because this will make the compressor work harder.

• Regularly defrost manual-defrost freezers to keep frost buildup under 0.25 inch.

To prevent treatment errors with animal health products, store the products approved for use in lactating (milking) cows on a separate shelf in the storage unit from those for dry cows. Label the shelves to help maintain an organized storage unit.

Store products other than antibiotics, such as wound dressings and injectable vitamins, on a third shelf along with needles and other instruments used in the treatment of animals. However, food and beverage items cannot be stored in the same refrigerator as the medicinal products, so don’t combine them.

And, when you grab that next “cool one,” remember to check the operation of those other refrigerators. Get a reliable thermometer and check that all-important cooler storing your meds and supplemental injectable products.