Dairy farmers warned of challenges in protecting quality milk standards

High-quality Irish milk will be in big demand in the coming years, once producers continue to maintain the highest production standards, say Teagasc dairy experts.

This message on quality production was underpinned by expert speakers from Denmark and the US attending yesterday’s Teagasc milk quality conference at the Horse & Jockey Hotel, Co Tipperary. Dairy farmers were advised to have correct information, make the right decisions and carry out the recommended actions correctly.

Teagasc researcher Dr Bernadette O’Brien said: “The critical prerequisite for the manufacture of quality dairy products is to start with milk of the highest quality. The milk quality criteria requested by milk processors and by customers are generally becoming more strict and rigorous.

“It is important that requests to milk producers for improved quality milk be accompanied by the necessary information required to produce such milk, particularly in light of new pressures from expansion of herds and the reality of reduced labour supply.”

Maintenance and improvement in milk quality will be increasingly challenging in the expanding milk production environment post-quota. The continued high quality of Irish milk can give Irish dairy productsthe competitive edge on world markets,” Dr O’Brien said.

The conference featured four technical sessions dealing with issues of the food industry, bacterial quality of milk, residues in milk and milk somatic cell count.

A panel discussion focused on issues critical to driving the dairy product industry in Ireland.

Each technical session began with an overview paper presented by an expert in the area.

Two overview papers on bacterial quality and somatic cell count offered an international perspective, presented by experts from Denmark and US.

The remaining papers gave facts and guidance on the production of premium quality milk on-farm, required for future development of the industry. Detail of the new quality assurance scheme were outlined by Bord Bia.

To view Teagasc’s recent ‘Milking Equipment Cleaning Guide’, plus video clips showing critical stages of milking management through to bulk tank milk storage on both smaller and larger farms see: http://exa.mn/1gg

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