The efficient production of milk under good hygienic conditions is the key to successful dairying. The principal constraints in smallholder systems are inadequate feeding, low genetic potential in animals and high levels of bacterial contamination leading to spoilage before reaching the market.
The first step is to produce good quality milk from healthy animals. Advice and assistance must be given on clean milk production as this is essential for successful collection and marketing. The containers used must be suitable for effective cleaning and sanitising.
The emphasis in this page is mainly on production of clean milk through hygienic practices at milking. These include: udder inspection, cleaning and stimulation of flow, effective milking by hand (or machine for larger herds), into properly sanitised containers for home consumption or sale; and organised transport of surpluses to point of sale or processing. Collection and transport must be of short duration to minimise spoilage. Guidelines on procedures to retard bacterial growth are given under Preserving Milk Quality Page.
Information on the husbandry aspects of milk production can be obtained under the appropriate subject headings in the AGA Division Programme. Some publications relating to dairy cow nutrition are listed.