Research – Does physical state of farm housing and milking practices affect total bacteria and somatic cell count of cow milk?

Wiley Online

Abstract

The study determined the effect of physical state of farm housing on total bacteria and somatic cell count (SCC) of cow milk. Milk records collected at Dairy Services Zimbabwe were used. Effects of physical state of ceilings, doors, ventilation, walls, drains, fly‐proofs, windows and roof type on total bacterial count (TBC) in milk, and SCC were determined using general linear models procedure. Poor physical state of ceilings, doors and floors in milking parlors, wash rooms and bulk tank rooms result in high TBC and SCC in milk (p < 0.05). Poor ventilation in the bulk tank room results in high TBC in milk (p < 0.05). Floors, doors, and ceilings of milking houses should be kept in sound condition and good repair in order minimize TBC and SCC in raw milk.

Practical applications

Understanding how physical state of farm houses and management practices affect total bacterial count and somatic cell count in fresh milk enables farmers and regulatory agencies to put in corrective action to reduce bacterial contamination of milk at farm level. This helps keep the population of disease causing bacteria in raw milk, which is widely consumed by human beings, as low as possible. It also helps reduce contamination by some resistant bacteria that might survive processing and cause further defects in milk products. The shelf‐life of the milk and its products is, thus, improved. Reducing bacterial and somatic cell count in raw milk also helps the milk producers to score high milk grades on the market and, thus, fetch high prices.

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