cows in field

Recent Odairy Discussion, September 2019

By Liz Bawden, NODPA Board President

There was a long discussion last month on what makes milk froth, and what makes it stay flat. One farmer/processor sells his milk directly to stores and restaurants; he was told by some of the coffee shops that the milk would no longer froth up in the machines used to make expresso drinks. The high-fat Jersey milk just stayed flat. The farmer was puzzled because he could think of no recent change in feed that could contribute to the problem.

There was some quite technical information shared that revealed how the relative size of protein molecules, the amount of mono- and di-glycerides present, the SCC, and the bacterial count and types all interact to cause milk to foam or not to foam. The farmer added, “I did some searching online and learned that while it is protein that makes the foam, it is glycerol that breaks up the foam. I have been concerned for some time that it takes my bulk tank too long to cool the milk after milking. I had the tank checked and the technician said it was okay. In warm weather it takes even longer to cool the milk, and I have been seeing butterballs in the milk. My suspicion is that the butterfat globules are being broken down and glycerol is being released.” He decided to install a plate cooler to cool the milk down faster. Another producer felt that he should see good results with the addition of a plate cooler, and suggested that the warm water can be used to clean the parlor or water the cows. She reminded all that plate cooler water cannot be used to clean milking equipment, so it cannot be plumbed to go back into the water heater.

A farmer noticed a heifer was having difficulty urinating. Examined by a vet, he diagnosed a urinary tract infection, and the farmer asked the group for treatment suggestions. Apple cider vinegar was recommended; another farmer recommended, “Dr. Paul’s System Support Tincture along with CEG Tincture, 3 cc (5 cc for adult cows) of each administered under the tongue 3x daily for 7 days. System Support contains Golden Seal, Juniper, Watercress, Plantain, Dandelion, and Astragalus. The Cayenne, Echinacea, and Garlic in CEG make an excellent natural antibiotic.”

A grazing consultant asked for suggestions for portable mineral feeders that could be easily moved with the cows from one paddock to the next. A few different feeders were suggested: Fertrell’s Pride Tuff Mineral Feeder (the farmer mounted it on a tire, ran a bolt through the side of the tire for dragging, and moved it around with a 4-wheeler), Farmer Boy Ag’s 40-cow Mineral Feeder, and Free Choice Enterprises Mineral Feeder (this one was mounted on skids to drag with a 4-wheeler).