Many farmers income is lost due to production of low grade milk. This can be avoided if farmers learn to produce acceptably high quality milk. Clean milk does not only constitute physical cleanliness (flavor, smell, and color) all which can be easily accessed.
Other than the physical cleanliness, clean milk will constitute the following: –
- Chemical residues – includes antibiotics, pesticides, radionuclides. These chemical residues are used both at the farm level for various uses. Presence of this residues lower the milk quality and hence price.
- Chemical composition – this refers to minimum acceptable water, butterfat and solid non-fat.
- Safety – means milk which is free from pathogens.
- Quality keeping – free from contamination of certain types and numbers of microbes.
At the farm level most of the above mentioned quality aspects cannot be detected. Modern milk processing procedures have reduced contamination significantly. All in all a farmer/milkman has a great responsibility of producing and keeping milk clean.
In order for clean quality milk to be produced the following aspects should be observed:
This is the most important component of clean milk production. The animal should be clean and healthy. Clean meaning free from dust and dirt. Healthy refers to a state of being disease free. Diseases such as TB, brucellosis and mastitis should be controlled in a dairy herd.
Clean milking equipment
Milking equipment should be kept clean and free from bacteria. Equipments used to handle milk should be washed with improved detergents to help the dairyman meet the cleanliness standards.
Clean milking and storage environment
Milking requires a clean environment that is free from dust and odors. A parlor should be located in a well drained area and away from any smell emanating from other enterprises i.e. poultry, manure heaps etc. A milking facility should have ample water supply for cleaning purposes. A storage facility should keep milk cool before it is transported out of the farm.
All personnel involved in milk handling must be disease free and clean. No individual with any contagious disease (mild or serious) should be allowed to handle milk. People milking should be clean and wear clean clothes. Cleaning facilities and wash rooms should be provided to milkers.
Milkers should be disciplined and follow ready laid down milking techniques and habits to produce clean milk.
Storage and cooling of milk
Proper facilities are required for storage, cooling and handling the milk until it is collected. Storage temperatures should about 40 C.
Some feeds flavors taste defects in milk. Such feeds should be fed to animals after milking and it is important to bring animals from grazing 1 hour to milking time.
Dairy farms have flies control problem despite available insecticides. Large fly numbers irritates the cows. A proper eradication program should be adopted for flies can contribute greatly to bacteria count in milk.
A dairy farm should have adequate water supply. Clean water supply contributes greatly to clean milk production.
This involves milking at regular intervals, fast, use of clean methods and efficient development of the labor.
Milk consumers should push farmers to produce clean milk.
Both farmers and consumers should be made aware of the importance of clean milk. Both parties should endeavour towards that. Efforts should be made to educate involved parties on the procedures to be employed to produce clean safe milk.
Milk attracts both harmful and harmless organisms. As such clean milk production guarantees consumers health. Milk producers have the greatest task of producing clean milk. If the above discussed procedures are adhered to, though not ideal, substantively clean milk will be produced.