Milking Time Hygiene Can Reduce Spore Counts

Milking parlor prep. ( Farm Journal, Inc. )

Increased teat end sanitation can reduce mesophilic and thermophilic spore counts by up to 40 percent, according to a study conducted on 5 New York dairy farms by Cornell University.

That’s important because such spore forming bacteria readily survive HTST (high temperature/short time) pasteurization and then can go on to affect the quality of dairy products such as fluid milk and milk powders.

These spores are often found in high numbers in cow bedding and manure. Previous research shows that cow hygiene is important to preventing spores from reaching the bulk tank.

The Cornell study was done on 5 farms over 15 months. Two interventions were tried: Increased hygiene at the teat end by training milking staff to better clean teats and laundering of towels with the use of detergent, chlorine bleach and drying.

A total of 355 bulk tank raw milk samples were collected before interventions were applied and after. Mesophilic spore counts dropped by 37% and thermophilic spore counts dropped 40%. “Importantly, spore reductions were observed during each of 3 visits once the interventions were applied, and the largest reduction in spores was recorded for the first sampling after training milking staff,” report the Cornell researchers.

“Further, when a higher proportion of very rough teat ends were observed, bulk tank milk thermophilic spore counts were significantly higher,” they say.

The study was published in the May issue of the Journal of Dairy Science.

 
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