Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson today released the annual list of 100 Minnesota dairy farms demonstrating superior dairy herd management skills as measured by their cows’ low somatic cell count average.

Somatic cell count is a key indicator of milk quality – lower is better. Although somatic cells occur naturally and are not a food-safety concern, dairy farmers and processors monitor them because milk with a high somatic cell count is less efficient for producing cheese. Milk with a low somatic cell count also has a longer shelf life. Processors pay premiums for milk with low counts, and a farmer whose herd has a very low count can receive significantly more per hundredweight compared to a farmer whose herd average is high.

Commissioner Hugoson said producers on the top 100 list excel at long-term herd management.

“Year after year, these farmers have consistently followed the best management practices in caring for their dairy cows and the result is high quality milk with lower somatic cell counts,” Hugoson said. “Dairy experts with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the University of Minnesota have been working with the state’s dairy farmers for years to reduce somatic cell counts and the effort is definitely paying off.”

The farmers making the top 100 list will receive a certificate of congratulations signed by Commissioner Hugoson.

Source: Minnesota Department Of Ag