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Organic Dairy Farming and Milk Quality Rick Kersbergen and Diane Schivera (MOFGA) University of Maine Cooperative Extension 992 Waterville Rd Waldo, Me.

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Presentation on theme: "Organic Dairy Farming and Milk Quality Rick Kersbergen and Diane Schivera (MOFGA) University of Maine Cooperative Extension 992 Waterville Rd Waldo, Me."— Presentation transcript:

1 Organic Dairy Farming and Milk Quality Rick Kersbergen and Diane Schivera (MOFGA) University of Maine Cooperative Extension 992 Waterville Rd Waldo, Me Animal Science Professional Improvement Committee NACAA Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, Ohio. July 25, 2006

2 Organic Dairy Farming in New England Maine has 65 certified farms or about 20% of the herds (highest percentage in the nation) Vermont has about 110 certified farms Processors include, -Organic Valley (CROPP) -Horizon Organic - H.P. Hood

3 So what does the organic dairy farm look like? Smaller farms ( cows) Milk production is similar to other small farms in Maine (Dalton, Bragg, Kersbergen) Pasture based? Over $1000/cow for purchased concentrate in 2004 (up to 48% of gross milk revenue) $04/cwt on medicines

4 Organic Milk Quality The UHT statement..is it true? What is life like on a dairy farm without antibiotics? Is there a crash? How do producers manage health issues? Is organic management by neglect?

5 So what are some of the challenges of producing high quality organic milk? -No use of antibiotics, including dry cow treatments -No hormones (Lutylase, oxytocin) -100% organic feed (grain and forages) -Outside access (365) when possible -Pasture requirement (NOSB) -No milk replacer -Various products such as Orbseal, Wipeouts etc, are not currently acceptable

6 So what does organic milk in Maine look like? Somatic Cell Counts Hoards Dairyman September, 2005 Cells/ml, 1000s DHI records 2004 Organic data from monthly farm samples from the Maine Department of Agriculture

7 Average SCC (cells/ml, 1000s) by Markets in Maine Averages from data collected 1/04-10/05 MDAFRR Minimum of 25 farms in purchaser group 4 major conventional milk purchasers in Maine

8 Standard Plate Count for Maine Producers by Markets ( averages from 1/04-12/05 ) 4 major conventional milk purchasers in Maine

9 Organic Bulk Tank Samples (76 samples) % of farms in each category Normal Moderate High V.High Staph aureus Step Ag Coag Neg Staph Non-Strep ag Gram negatives Mycoplasma were negative1.32 positive (data from G. Anderson, Univ. of Maine MeCHAP)

10 So how do they achieve quality? Average milk sold per cow in 2004 was 14,100 lbs Substantial milk quality bonus Bonus programs include quality, seasonality, volume, and signing

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12 Organic Valley (CROPP) Somatic Cell Adjuster-Separate Payment Program.-Bonus or Deduct potential. -For Every 25 points below 350 (000) =0.06 $ cwt Premium-For Every 25 points above 350= 0.06 $ cwt deduct. Standard Plate Count-Separate Payment Program. -Bonus & Deduct potential. -For Every 5 points below 25 (000) =0.01 $ cwt Premium-For Every 5 points above 25= 0.01 $ cwt deduct. P.I. Adjuster-Separate Payment Program. -Bonus & Deduct potential. Count (1000): 0-15: + $.50 premium 16-30: + $.25 premium 31-50: +$ : -$25 deduct : -$.50 deduct

13 So how do they achieve quality? Average milk sold per cow in 2004 was 14,100 lbs Substantial milk quality bonus Utilize poor quality milk for calves 90% of these farmers switched to organic production for financial reasons

14 What Practices do they follow? Survey of 46 organic farms in Maine (on farm visit and phone interviews) 67% use a CMT Paddle regularly to identify problem cows/quarters. Most of these producers did not use the CMT before going organic. Additional 11% use DHI records for SCC problems

15 Once Identified as problems…what do they do? Cull rate for mastitis is about 8% 57% use a quarter milker on problem cows

16 Health Practices-What is legal to use? Raising Organic Livestock in Maine: MOFGA Accepted Health Practices, Products and Ingredients Updated January Organic Materials Review Institute

17 So What do Maine producers do for prevention and treatment? 85% use Iodine dips (pre and post) Some use nothing, bleach solutions or Chlorhexidine teat dips Most use paper towels, but several still use common sponge (lowest SCC herd in the state) 35% do use some sort of intramammary infusions (sterile?) 25% use mastitis vaccines (J-5, Staph or both)

18 Treatments are varied… Frequent stripping Using calves on high cell count cows Herbal and homeopathic treatments, both orally and intramammary Aloe injections, pellets and infusions Aspirin (very common) Garlic given orally (whole cloves) Ship cow to conventional neighbor Peppermint liniment Vitamin/mineral injections (Mu-Se) Hydrogen Peroxide infusions

19 Other organic qualities? Organic milk…higher CLA content? Does UHT impact consumer acceptance? Local vs organic The organic Walmart market… Animal welfare..are organic cows happy cows? Are organic farms more environmentally friendly?

20 Other Organic Dairy Research University of Maine and University of Vermont are studying the cost of production and transition of organic dairy farms (CSREES funded) University of Maine and New Hampshire along with ARS/NEPSWL have started an organic forage system trial with CSREES funding University of New Hampshire as launched an initiative to build an organic dairy research facility and hope to be the first land grant University with an organic dairy herd. Univ. of Maine, ARS/NEPSWL and UVM have received funding for organic grain research


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