Milk quality awards: Expert advice lifts milk quality

“It’s driven by Mum, she really likes to do a good job, it is not so much the quality milk, it is looking after the cows well. Once you manage the cows well they look after themselves.”.

Through this drive the family, including Jack’s brother Alec and father Stuart, maintained a consistent bulk milk cell count at 90,000-100,000cells/ml.

Keeping this cell count required “stripping” cows at least once and sometimes twice a week, searching for mastitis. This was a time consuming task, but something deemed necessary until an employee suggested they engage mastitis specilaists Dairy Focus for an assessment of their farm.

The Young’s have been propelled into the milk quality awards top 100 dairy farmers in Australia.

The family milk up to 410 cross-breds at Wyuna East calving 85 per cent in the autumn and the remainder in spring.

Jack said they learnt so much from Dairy Focus in regards to drying-off cows, the milking routine and even the process of putting cups on, that not only have they limited mastitis issues, cows that previously had mastitis had also cleared up as well.

“When we have dried cows off really well, the next lactation they won’t get mastitis even if they might have had it two to three times the year before,” Jack said.

“Cows that had one quarter withered away, have come back the next lactation. It doesn’t always happens (the withered quarter) but we have had a few do that.”

With stripping cows a thing of the past, the family also does not herd test and for the past month have had an average BMCC of 52,000cells/ml.

Jack said hygiene was the key. He said changing the dry-off practice during the past two years has really paid dividends. “They said (Dairy Focus) the key to drying-off well is really good hygiene and to take your time to do it properly,” Jack said. “When we first moved to this farm we would dry-off 48 cows in a couple of hours. Now we would do 24 cows, me and Alec, drying off 12 cows (each) in two hours. It is just the extra hygiene and also teat seal, we never used to use teat seal.”

Teat condition was something they have also concentrated on.

For the first four days to a week after calving, the family mix glycerine with iodine to use as the teat spray post milking. This has improved the condition of teats. The machine inflations were also changed to improve teat condition.

Hygiene was key to maintaining quality milk during the very wet Goulburn Valley winter last year. This included washing and drying cows with dirty teats and udders before placing the cups on.

A lot more washing and drying is done “in general now” as well before cups are put on.

Changes to the milking routine included: being careful not to take cups off cows when the vaccum was still on and also being conscious of overmilking with cups sitting on cows that had finished. The family have also changed the way they put cups on cows. In the past month to six weeks they have had one case of mastitis.

That’s where we save a lot of time and money, Jack said. “We have had a massive reduction in clinical cases of mastitis,” he said.

Supplying Parmalat, to achieve premium milk the BMCC must be less than 200,000cells/ml. “If you are going to milk cows you want the most money you can get,” Jack said of staying within the band.

This is the first year the family has selected some bulls based on cell count, after choosing a bull with a higher cell count in the past and noticing his progeny were more prone to mastitis.

The key to maintaining the super hygienic practices on farm was having everyone on board.

Jack said dedicated employee Aman Singh was not only “unreal” with the cows he also got and kept everyone up to speed with the best milking practices.

Source: The Weekly Times


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