Marshfield ARS wins national milk quality award

A national recognition for producing high quality milk was recently presented to the Marshfield Agricultural Research Station. The National Dairy Quality Award Platinum, sponsored in part by the National Mastitis Council and Hoard’s Dairyman, recognizes dairy farms achieving high standards for producing quality milk.

“Contrary to what a lot of people think, being a research facility makes it harder, not easier to achieve a low somatic cell count. It is the result of a lot of hard work and adherence to milking and cow management protocols,” says Sandy Trower, research program manager at the Emmons Blaine Arlington Dairy Research Center, about the livestock team at the Marshfield Agricultural Research Station (MARS).

MARS was one of six farms selected for the honor.  Applications for the award were received from 122 farms across the nation.

 From left to right, front row: Grace Tester, Kari Landwehr, Wesly Weichelt, Emmerika Sutton Back row: Will Cordes, Greg Swart, Brian Kruger, Nancy Esser, Russ Draeger, Pete Sutton. Missing from photo are Paul Abel and Dennis Frank.

The team: From left to right, front row: Grace Tester, Kari Landwehr, Wesly Weichelt, Emmerika Sutton Back row: Will Cordes, Greg Swart, Brian Kruger, Nancy Esser, Russ Draeger, Pete Sutton. Missing from photo are Paul Abel and Dennis Frank.

MARS was evaluated on several measures and practices that affect the quality of milk. Those measures for bacteria and bacteriological quality include somatic cell count (SCC), standard plate count (SPC)  present in raw milk produced by herd. To win the award, the dairy herd at MARS managed an average SCC of 73,000 and a SPC of 1,120 while maintaining a rolling herd average of 29,520 pounds of milk per cow per year with a fat test of 4% and protein at 3.1%.

Practices which help MARS meet milk quality goals include surveillance, detection and effective treatment of mastitis, dry cow therapy, equipment sanitation and maintenance, and tracking and communication of treatments.

The MARS research farm provides livestock, facilities and support for UW faculty, researchers and students, and USDA research staff.  MARS works routinely with the Department of Dairy Science and RARC veterinarians to develop and maintain the protocols resulting in this achievement.

Read more about the National Dairy Quality Award and this year’s winners in this Hoard’s Dairyman article.