The Minnesota Department of Agriculture released its annual list of top Minnesota dairy herds with the highest-quality milk.
High-quality milk is reflected in milk’s low somatic cell count score. The lower the SCC count, the better the milk is for cheese production and a longer shelf life for bottled milk.
In honor of June Dairy Month, 122 Minnesota dairy farms are being recognized for superior herd management skills by achieving an average SCC of under 100,000 cells per milliliter.
“Minnesota’s farmers have faced so many challenges the past several years — low prices, lost markets, and most recently the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — so it’s my honor to be able to award these 122 dairies for their high level of excellence and resilience,” says Tom Petersen, MDA commissioner. “These dairy farm families work hard day-in and day-out to produce high quality, wholesome dairy products for all of us to enjoy.”
Although SCCs occur naturally and are not a food safety concern, dairy farmers monitor them because they can be used as a measure of the health of their cows. Processors also pay a premium for milk with low counts. A farmer whose herd has a very low count can receive a significantly higher price per hundredweight compared to a farmer whose herd average is high.
For more than 15 years, MDA and University of Minnesota dairy experts have worked with the state’s dairy farmers to lower somatic cell counts. When the initiative began in 2003, the 100 herds honored that year included those with SCC averages as high as 144,000 cells per milliliter, compared to the current goal of obtaining a SCC under 100,000 cells per milliliter.
The top 20 high quality milk herds recognized this year are:
- Roger and Laura Primus, Todd County
- Dennis and Wayne Wolters, Morrison County
- Edward Kauffman, Todd County
- John Willenbring, Stearns County
- Hoefs’ Dairy LLC, LeSueur County
- Tony and Matt Berktold, Wabasha County
- Brandon and Jill Marshik, Benton County
- Robert and Terri Ketchum, Winona County
- Kevin Braulick, Brown County
- Herdering Farms, Inc., Stearns County
- Nosbush Dairy, Renville County
- Bruce and Jill Boettcher, Carver County
- Cory and Jenna Middendorf, Stearns County
- Jane Babatz, Wright County
- Edward Warmka Gathje, Winona County
- Joe and Kim Engelmeyer, Stearns County
- Zweber Farms LLC, Scott County
- Harmony Hills Dairy, Carver County
- Riverview LLP-West Dublin, Swift County
- Jeff and Austin Middendorf, Stearns County
The entire list of low SCC Minnesota dairy farms is online.Source: The Minnesota Department of Agriculture, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all of its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.