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Minnesota dairy farms excel in milk quality

Minnesota dairy farms excel in milk quality

By Scout Nelson

In celebration of National Dairy Month, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen has introduced the annual list spotlighting the top dairy herds renowned for their low somatic cell counts (SCC).

These counts are crucial indicators of milk quality, with a lower SCC translating to better cheese production and extended shelf life for milk.

This year, 90 distinguished dairy farms have earned recognition for maintaining an SCC below 100,000, showcasing their dedication to outstanding herd management.

"We applaud these farmers’ efforts to maintain high milk quality standards, especially in the face of new and ongoing challenges,” commented Petersen. This achievement not only represents the resilience of these farmers but also marks a milestone in the state’s dairy industry.

Historically, when the initiative to reduce SCC began in 2003 in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and University of Minnesota dairy experts, the target was much higher, with acceptable averages around 144,000. The current standard underscores significant progress in herd health and milk quality over the years.

Somatic cells are naturally occurring and pose no food safety risk; Their count is a crucial health indicator for dairy cows. Processors are known to offer premiums for milk with lower somatic cell counts, benefiting farmers financially. A farmer with a notably low count can earn more per hundredweight of milk compared to those with higher averages.

To view the full SCC list of honored Minnesota dairy farms, Click Here. These producers were nominated for recognition by their respective dairy plants, underscoring the collaborative effort within the dairy industry to achieve and maintain high standards of milk quality.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-dimasobko

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Categories: Minnesota, Business, Livestock, Dairy Cattle

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