GOOD herd management has seen northeast Victorian dairy farmers Shane and Shelley Jones have low bulk cell milk counts for at least five years in a row.
The Joneses have been recognised for being in the top 100 dairy farmers in Australia for low bulk milk cell counts under the Countdown Milk Quality Awards.
They run a 140-cow herd at Kancoona, east of Myrtleford.
The herd is 90 per cent Holsteins and the remainder Jerseys, with milk production averaging 9160 litres a cow last season.
This year, their autumn calving herd is already tracking much the same as last season’s production.
Last season, their bulk milk cell count was about 69,000 cells/ml — slightly higher than the 66,000 cells/ml recorded the previous season.
“We have had pretty low cell counts for the past five or six years,” Shane said.
“We look after teat health and run a fairly young herd.”
Shane said one of the keys to their success had been the use of square rubber liners on the milking machines. “They have really suited our cows,” he said.
“We also use Redene teat spray from Dasco. We herd test every second month.
“Usually, we find one or two cows causing the trouble with the cell counts.
“If a cow had mastitis a couple of times, we would get rid of it.”
They dry cow all their cows at the end of the season.
That’s where the rules end.
Shane said some of the more common practices — such as wearing gloves while milking — “we don’t do”.
But they do wash down cow teats with water during milking. “We have got to get our house milk out of them,” he said.
Shane has been milking dairy cows since he left school 25 years ago.
He sharefarmed for parents Gary and Liz until he and Shelley took over the family farm in 2009.
The family has supplied Murray Goulburn Co-operative for many years and now Saputo.
Their milk is usually delivered to the Kiewa or Cobram plants.
By: PETER HEMPHILL
Source: The Weekly Times