Expect the chance of milk contamination to increase.

You may have new sharemilkers or employees on board following this year’s farm change over day. Rural insurer FMG suggests now’s a good time to go over with them how your milking shed works to avoid milk contamination.

Former Taranaki Farmer and FMG’s Head of Client Strategy and Advice, Jason Rolfe said last year FMG received over 1,000 milk claims in total amounting to $4.3 million.

Around one third of milk claims FMG settles are due to antibiotic contamination. Other claims were for foreign objects ending up in the milk, colostrum and wash water.

“I know from my own experience the hassle of having to dump milk,” says Jason.

Almost 90% of milk contamination and spoilage claims are caused by:

  • Antibiotic contamination
  • Chiller/plant failure
  • Chiller/vat not being turned on
  • Power failure
  • Wash water and detergent contamination.

Here are some tips to help bring new sharemilkers or staff up to speed with your milk shed’s systems and processes:

  • Make sure your milk shed’s systems and processes are documented and located in the shed so that if you or their manager isn’t around, they can refer to these.
  • When explaining how your milk shed operates be aware of different learning styles—some people may prefer visual charts to written policies and some may learn best by you running through in person the system and having refresher sessions. It pays to take the time to have a few versions prepared.

When it comes to milk contamination the important things to make your employees aware of include:

  • What the withholding period of each antibiotic product is,
  • How you identify those cows that are under treatment
  • What the milking process is for these animals (for example, do they run in a separate mob milked at a different time or in the herd on a milk bucket).
  • It’s also important to have the same measures in place for your post milking washdown process, as FMG sees a lot of claims for cleaning chemicals and wash water contaminating milk as well.

For more advice head to fmg.co.nz/milk