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Survey of Milk Quality on United States Dairy Farms Utilizing Automatic Milking Systems

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  033016,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14995) @2003
Authors:   Jason M. Helgren, Douglas J. Reinemann
Keywords:   automatic, milking robots, milking machines, milk production, somatic cell count, total bacterial count

Milk quality parameters were recorded for United States dairy farms utilizing automatic milking (AM) from August 2000 to June 2003. Additional farms were admitted to the study as they began operation so that the full data set includes 12 AM farms. Somatic cell count (SCC) and total bacterial count (TBC) data was analyzed and compared to corresponding data from conventional farms in Wisconsin as well as data from European AM installations. The geometric mean SCC was 267,670 cells/ml and geometric mean TBC was 13,283 cfu/ml for all U.S. AM farm data collected. The study featured two primary objectives. The first was to assess seasonal variations in milk quality on AM and conventional farms. The second was to assess changes in the quality of milk from AM installations as the amount of time the system had been in operation increased. A clear and significant seasonal effect was evident for the SCC data, with higher values observed during the summer months (July, August, and September). There was no significant difference in SCC between AM farms and conventional farms. There was slight evidence of a seasonal effect on TBC. TBC of milk from AM farms was found to be lower than that from conventional farms. There is some evidence that both SCC and TBC decrease as the amount of time a farm utilizing AM increases.

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