A critical prerequisite for the manufacture of quality dairy products is to start with milk of the highest quality.
There are two key elements to producing high quality milk:
- Producing milk of low somatic cell count (SCC) - Low SCC is a reflection of good udder health and mastitis control in the herd
- Low total bacterial count (TBC) - Low TBC is an indicator of good milking plant hygiene and milk storage
- Milk Quality, Mastitis and SCC (PDF) in Chapter 31 of Teagasc Dairy Manual
- Milk Quality Handbook (PDF)
- Milk Quality and Bacterial Contamination (PDF)
- Improving your Milking Skills and get more from your cows (PDF, 2MB)
Further information on ‘Milk Quality’ is available at the links below. These include; a ‘Milking Equipment Cleaning Guide’, which provides crucial information on milking machine washing procedures, chemical analysis of cleaning products and recommendations for the effective use of such products. There is also a link to a tool to assist with milk quality standards on-farm which has been made available by Teagasc. This tool comprises a series of video clips showing critical stages of milking management (through to bulk tank milk storage) on both smaller and larger farms and on farms with adequate labour and those where technology can contribute. There is a further series of video clips produced by AHI which focuses on specific procedures pertaining to milk quality, e.g. antibiotic treatment of cows, drying-off procedures, liner changing, milking machine checks. There is also some information on suitable teat disinfection products and and flukicides that may be used.
- Milking Equipment Cleaning Guide
- On-farm Milk Quality Video Clips
- Teat disinfectant products sold in Ireland May 2019
- Flukicides that may be used
- Milk Quality Workshops 2014
- Milk Quality Conference 2013 Proceedings & Presenatations
The key to producing quality milk is to have correct information, make the right decisions and carry out the recommended actions correctly. It is critical to perceive milk as a food being consumed by others.
The person responsible for milk production on the farm must be aware of all the chemicals that may leave:
- Residues in Milk (PDF) in Chapter 33 of the Teagasc Dairy Manual. These include detergents, disinfectants, flukicides and antibiotics.