Creating the perfect product

April 7, 2010 06:11 AM
 


*Extended comments are highlighted in blue.


 

Ron Gibson
West Weber, Utah

I love to drink milk. There is nothing like drinking a cold glass of milk with dinner or, even better, with warm chocolate-chip cookies.

I think of that every time I watch my cows walk through the corral or into the milking parlor. I realize that the responsibility to make sure our product is safe lands squarely on my shoulders.

When thinking of how we produce quality milk, I look at four key factors:

Housing. I believe that milk quality starts with the cow's housing. Clean cows equal quality milk. We have a freestall facility. We rake our stalls twice a day to keep them fresh and clean. We have the "knee rule” in our freestalls: You should be able to stand in the stall and drop to your knees without your knees getting wet or without it hurting. Our cows are never found lying down outside of the stalls. Optimum cow comfort leads to clean cows, which leads to quality milk.

Milking procedure. When talking about milking procedure, we should look at it through the eyes of our "city” neighbors. What do people see when they are watching cows get milked? It seems that each time I bring in someone new to watch a milking shift, I am more aware of whether the cows and the parlor are clean.

We start with a clean cow. Then we are very strict with the process each cow receives before she is milked. We want the cow to have the same experience every single time she comes into the parlor. We predip with 0.5% iodine predip. We then strip, checking for abnormal milk and swelling in the udder. Next, we clean each cow with a fresh towel and attach the milking machine. A person can walk into our parlor at any time of the day and see a well-sanitized system for milking cows.

Treatment protocols. These affect milk quality because not every cow is the same and not every case of mastitis is the same. We frequently pull milk samples and send them to a trusted lab. This allows us to treat properly and only when necessary. Treated cows are housed in a separate corral designed just for them. They are milked in a separate facility to ensure that antibiotics never come in contact with milk that will be sold to consumers.

Employees rock! Our employees share the same vision for high-quality milk that we do. Our operation is blessed to have some very dedicated employees who daily strive to help us produce the greatest food and drink on earth: milk.

As dairy producers, we all take great pride when our customer chooses an ice-cold glass of milk or eats a slice of cheese. In order for our product to be the quality we want it to be when it reaches the consumer, we need to make sure that it is a perfect product when it leaves our dairy.




Gibson's February Prices  
Milk (3.73 bf, 3.07% prt): $15.75/cwt.
Cull cows: $50/cwt.
Springing heifers: $1,350/head
Alfalfa: $100/ton delivered
Cottonseed: $285/ton (spot)
Steam-flaked corn:  $185/ton (spot)
   








 

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