For Hub City Times
STRATFORD — A national recognition for producing high quality milk was recently presented to the University of Wisconsin Marshfield Agricultural Research Station (MARS) during the annual meeting of the National Mastitis Council in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The National Dairy Quality Award Platinum, sponsored in part by the National Mastitis Council and Hoard’s Dairyman magazine, recognizes dairy farms achieving the highest standards for producing quality milk.
“Contrary to what many people may think, being a research facility makes it harder — not easier — to achieve a low somatic cell count. It is the result of a lot of hard work and adherence to milking and cow management protocols. However, the purpose of the MARS research station is to conduct experimental trials and studies using the livestock herd. That can make our job of maintaining milk quality a challenge,” said Nancy Esser, MARS station superintendent and herd manager.
The Jan. 10, 2017, edition of Hoard’s Dairyman featured an article on the nation’s highest quality milk producers. The MARS research station was one of six farms selected for the honor. Applications were received from 122 farms across the nation. The station was nominated for the award by Kaitlin Hartkopf, MARS field representative for Foremost Farms USA.
Milk quality was key to achieving this honor, but the farm’s practices for keeping cows healthy and comfortable and maintaining superior milk quality on a day-to-day basis underscore a successful milk quality program. Practices that help MARS meet milk quality goals include surveillance, detection and effective treatment of mastitis, dry cow therapy practices, milking equipment sanitation and maintenance, and tracking and communication of treatments.
The MARS research farm provides livestock, facilities, and support for UW faculty, researchers, and students and USDA research staff. MARS works routinely with the UW Department of Dairy Science and UW veterinarians to develop and maintain the protocols.