At the NMC 2010 regional meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich., David Sumrall, Dairy Production Systems, High Springs, Fla., noted five key factors for milk quality:

  • It is the role of management to set an example for the organization to follow. If it is truly important to ownership and management as evidenced by more than empty talk, it will be treated as “important” by rank and file employees within the organization. Fundamental keys to superior milk quality are discipline, compliance and accountability that starts at the top and flows down through the organization.
  • Somatic cell counts are a key indicator of animal health and milk quality. SCCs are a direct indication of the prevalence of infection within a cow or a herd and nothing else.
  • The primary key to milk quality is sanitation in every area of the farm. Premier milk quality comes only when every department on the farm is working in unison with that goal in mind.
  • Cows must have a clean, dry place to live that provides protection from extreme temperatures and conditions that are prevalent in the area in which the dairy operates.
  • Time away from feed and resting areas must be minimal. Resultantly, milking routines should be efficient and crisp, yet focused on quality first. Parlor through-put is important, but should not take priority over milk quality and udder health.