1To start with, the milking parlour is the roundabout of any dairy farm. A good milking parlour should be adaptable to the cows, easy to manage and pleasant to work in.

Quality of milk produced also depends on good milking practice, hygiene of the milker and cleanliness of the milking equipment. Mixing milk from a cow infected with mastitis or other udder infections is also a possible cause of milk spoilage.

However, it is important to note that mixing mix from different breeds cannot cause spoilage unless the produce from one is contaminated.

Animals may consume inferior, clean, quality feeds and get digestive disorders resulting in poor hygienic environment that could extend up to during milking. Dirty animal environment does influence its udder’s health, that later compromises the quality of milk. Therefore, observe that you maintain clean floors, stalls, bedding material, milking and remove manure regularly.

Avoid mixing milk from recently treated animals with other milk before the withdrawal period is over. Treated animals may have antibiotics or other veterinary drugs residues present in their milk.

Milk with such residues may affect the health of consumers as well as spoil activity of lactic starter cultures during value addition like cheese, yoghurt and mala manufacture.

The milker should also be in good health with clean hands and must wear protective clothes namely gumboots, overalls and caps. They should not have long nails to cause cuts along the teats of the animal.

Just before milking, udder preparation and teat cleaning is important. Doing these will minimise the presence of pathogens, reduce teat congestion and improve the rate of udder emptying. Dry the udders and teats using preferably clean cotton towels to reduce bacterial counts in milk. Avoid using paper towels.

After milking, check for any abnormality in the whole milk which if present, the produce should be withheld and the cow checked for any infection. The teats of every cow milked should be dipped in a special teat seal containing antibiotics with long-lasting effects to control mastitis.

Clean all the milking apparatus immediately after milking. This should be done thoroughly with detergents and then store them in clean places and away from rodents. Cooling of milk is necessary if it is not immediately used, preferably at 4 degrees Celsius.

If using milking machines, much emphasis should be put in areas that get direct contact with the animal as they are the route points of infections. All piping system should be dry by the next milking time.

Maintaining high standards of these hygienic factors should, therefore, be your priority objective in milk production. This will result in good quality milk with preferred taste, flavour and free of pathogens.

SOURCE Seeds of Gold