Dairy Star

Monday, September 14, 2009

Elginvue Farms keeps SCC low with milking consistency
Milk Quality Leaders

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ken Mueller (back row, center) and his mother, Carol (front, center), own and manage Elginvue Farms near Arlington, Minn., while employees Todd Searles (left) and Cody Haefs (right) handle the majority of the milking and farm work. (photo by Jennifer Burggraff)
Ken Mueller looks through his herdís latest DHIA records. DHIA is a very helpful tool on Elginvue Farms, Ken said. (photo by Jennifer Burggraff)
Ken Mueller (center, back) pictured with his mother, Carol (center, front), and employees Todd Searles (left) and Cody Haefs (right)

Elginvue Farms

Arlington, Minn (Sibley County)

29 registered cows

What was your 2008 average SCC? Around 70,000. We are currently at 112,000.

What type of barn do you have and what kind of bedding do you use? Our cows are milked in 10 tiestalls that act as a flat parlor. We also have three box stalls in that same barn and are currently putting in nine box stalls in our old barn. Todd: Box stalls are a lot of work but can pay dividends in the end.

When remodeling in the old barn is finished we will be milking in both barns.

We bed with chopped straw and pine shavings. During the summer months, the cows spend the majority of their days and nights outside in the cow yard and also have access to the pasture. We only had to keep the cows in two days this summer because of the heat. In the winter, the cows are only outside for a couple hours while we clean the barn.

What are some of the preventative measures you take to keep your SCC low? We pre-dip and post-dip our cows during milking, using paper towels to dry each teat. We tried different dips until we found ones we liked. We are currently using Assure for our pre-dip and Blue Ribbon for post-dip.

Todd: The biggest thing is not having a lot of people milking. Only Cody and I do the milking, so everything is consistent. We don't use automatic take-offs, but we know when the cows are done. Consistency is the key.

We also watch the tank SCC closely. We have it tested weekly.

Ken: DHIA is a very helpful tool. From the records, you can monitor each cow's individual SCC count.

If a cow comes down with mastitis, how do you treat her? We use commercial medicine (Quarter Master) directly in the infected quarter.

Todd: We first have to recognize the problem - if it was from a milk procedure, mastitis, the cow not milking out. Obviously there is a problem with the cow somewhere. If a cow has a hard quarter, we use a quarter milker, apply Uddermint or treat it. It depends on the case. Because of the small herd size, everything can be more individualized here.

What does your milking procedure consist of? We start milking at 5:30 a.m. and p.m. One person does all the milking while a second person assists in prepping and moving cows.

Have you ever had times when your SCC got higher then you like? What did you do to bring it back down? If the SCC is higher than we like, we separate out the problem cows from the main herd and use their milk for feeding our bull calves.

How often do you check over your milking equipment? We check over our regular milking equipment daily, after each milking. IBA also offers an annual inspection of the entire milking system, such as the vacuum pump.

What does your milking equipment cleaning process consist of? Our milking equipment is pre-rinsed before going through a wash cycle consisting of hot water, detergent and acid.

Where do you raise your heifers and what type of bedding do you use? Our heifers are raised in an open shed with access to a pasture. They are bedded with cornstalks and straw. We also raise some of the bull calves for breeding bulls.

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