11 November 2020
A project which led to a significant improvement in milk quality on dairy farms supplying a Welsh creamery is being rolled out.
Farming Connect, in conjunction with Kite Consulting, is offering an opportunity for a processor to work with its suppliers to improve their somatic cell count (SCC) and bactoscan levels.
The fully-funded ‘Milking For All It’s Worth’ project will mirror a pilot programme delivered in collaboration with South Caernarfon Creameries in 2019.
That pilot was so successful that it improved the bactoscan on supplier farms by an average of 21 units and reduced SCC by an average of 49,000 cells/ml.
For problem herds, the projected value of this was an increase in revenue of £4,240 over 12 months (based on average figure from herds with between 40 and 280 cows).
The rollout of the new project, which will run until the end of June 2021, gives another processor and its suppliers the chance to replicate those achievements.
Elliw Hughes, of Farming Connect, says ‘virtual’ meetings for the chosen processor and their suppliers would be run, the suppliers would also have a one to one visit from a milking plant specialist to study areas for improvements – either improving somatic cell counts and mastitis levels or bactoscans.
“If the supplier chooses somatic cell counts/mastitis as a problem area to improve, cows with high cell counts/mastitis will be tested to identify the predominant bacterial strain along with the analysis of any available milk quality records,’’ she says.
A specialist visit will examine the farm’s environmental challenges and the milking routine and an action plan drawn up.
For the bactoscan option, an NMR ‘Bacto-breakdown analysis’ will be undertaken to identify if the issue is environmental or plant based.
At that visit, the cow housing will be assessed along with the milking process, plant cleaning and milk cooling system and an action plan will follow.
Following the visits, the somatic cell counts and bactoscans will be monitored for a three-month period with telephone support available from the specialist before the results and findings are analysed and fed back to the participating suppliers.
Ms Hughes urged processors to get involved.
“The processor will benefit from having better milk quality resulting in better shelf life and less waste and will give a financial return for suppliers,’’ she says.
An expression of interest form can be found here.