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pricing schemes. However, because milk flavor is contained in the lipid component of milk, feed flavors are the most common causes of off-flavor in milk. Color of milk may also vary among breeds. Guernsey cattle milk, eg, has a more yellow color than milk from Holstein cattle.
The term for the facilities used for the milking of cows is the milking parlor. Modern milking parlors must meet rigid sanitation requirements, keep cows comfortable, and be labor efficient. In comparison to the Federal Meat Inspection Service, state and local laws regulate cow health, sanitation, and milk-handling equipment. Dairy cows are no longer milked by hand but instead by modern machines that rapidly move milk from the milking parlor to refrigerated storage tanks. Milking machines function to remove milk from the cow's udder by applying partial vacuum to the teat end. This vacuum is alternately applied by pulsation consisting of milk and rest cycle 45-60 times per minute.
Milk moves from the cow through a series of stainless-steel pipes to a bulk cooling-storage tank. Milk must be cooled rapidly to approximately 40°F to prevent bacterial growth. Some states allow for in-line rapid cooling coils. However, thorough cleaning of the coils must be ensured.
Most dairies sell their milk directly to processors or through cooperative milk marketing associations. Fluid milk is usually marketed and priced under federal milk marketing orders, in accordance with the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1937. The objective of the federal order is to promote and maintain orderly milk marketing con ditions for dairy farmers and assure consumers of an adequate supply of milk.
Milk production is somewhat seasonal, with more milk being produced in the spring. The price of milk paid to dairy farmers is usually on the hundred-weight basis adjusted for percentage of components. Milk protein and fat are usually considered. The pricing scheme will consider local market factors and final use of the milk. For example, cheese plants usually will consider milk protein in establishing prices paid to producers. Milk purchased for the manufacture of cheese may be priced on a cheese yield formula that estimates the quantity of final product.
Almost 50% of the milk produced by farms is processed for consumption as whole, low-fat, or skim milk. All milk is pasteurized to destroy disease-producing microorganisms that may be present in unprocessed milk. The pasteurization process involves heating the milk to 161°F for 15 s in a continuous flow process.
Bovine somatotropin (bST) administration to dairy cattle to enhance milk production has been shown to be efficacious. Depending on the dosage of somatotropin administered, milk production will be enhanced by 10-40% without significant changes in the composition of the milk (20). Concern regarding the impact of this technology on the small dairy farmer has been shown to be unfounded. Since its 1994 approval and sale for use in dairy cattle, bST has been shown to have no deleterious effects on reproduction (21), hematological profiles (22), general health (23), or incidence of mastitis (24). This information confirms earlier work done in Europe (25). The success of bST in increasing milk production and the development of a slow-release product good for 14 days has made it one of the most popular products for use in dairy cattle in recent history.
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