Monday, September 9, 2013

September Test Results

Well, I got the coliform bacteria count to <1, or basically, the same as zero.  Coliform bacteria indicates environmental contamination.  That's a great improvement over the figure of 12/mL I had last month.  Passing is less than 25/mL.  I am pleased with this result.

My somatic cell count this month was passing, but higher than I would like to see.  This test can indicate mastitis.  Passing is <500,000/mL.  Last month mine was 190,000/mL.  This month, mine was 360,000/mL.

What I found super shocking was the standard plate count.  Last month I didn't have enough to register on their test, at <2500/mL.  This month, I had 160,000/mL!!!  Wowza!  The standard plate count is a total bacteria count.  Passing is <15,000/mL, so I failed that test.

Sounds like my cow has some organisms festering inside causing the somatic cell count to be on the high side, and to have such a high bacterial count.   This may be due, in part, to the udder injury she had a couple weeks ago.  I noticed the day preceding the milk sample being taken that her front quarters were a teeny bit harder than normal after being milked, and I found a small string of milk on the filter when I strained the milk.

The state of Idaho allows me to continue selling milk as long as I don't fail 3 tests out of a consecutive 5 tests.  So, we're still allowed to sell, and I'm doing all I can to ensure a safe milk supply for my own family, and for that of my customers.  I have already seen improvement in the way her udder feels and I'm not finding any strings or blobs of milk on the filter.  If her subclinical case of mastitis worsens, I will cease selling milk until she is healthy again. 

I'm really thankful for these tests, because already it has helped me to recognize where I can improve, and I am taking action where I can to produce high quality raw milk.  It means a safer source of milk for everyone!  (As a side-note, I have looked over the test results for other raw milk producers in the state, and many of them have varying numbers from time to time, and that several have not passed one test or another at any given time.)  I look forward to next month's test results.