Dairy farm first step in milk process

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 24, 2000

JAYESS – Preparing milk for consumption is a long extensiveprocess, one which starts at a farm like the David Fuller and SonDairy Farm on Holmesville Road.

Around 115 cows are milked twice a day on the farm.

The milking process begins by first gathering the herd of cattleinto an enclosure, where they are rinsed off by an overheadsprinkler system, which is a treat for the cows during the summermonths.

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“It’s hard to get them out from there because they like thatwater coming down on them when it’s so hot,” said Joe Turnage, whohas worked on dairy farms the majority of his life.

Then the cows are taken through a small building at the Fullers’farm, where they line into a long stall, which can hold about 10cows. The cows’ utters are then rinsed off as the cleaning processbegins.

The employees and owners of the dairy farm know cleanliness issomething not taken lightly when it comes to human consumption.They make sure the milk is free of harmful bacteria by cleaningseveral ways.

“We want everything to be as clean as possible,” said DannyThompson, who has worked with dairy cows for 22 years.

After the utters are rinsed, they are sprayed with a chemical tokill any harmful bacteria. Then suction machines are placed on themto draw the milk out.

“It should take around 20-25 minutes for each one, but latelyit’s only been five-10 because they (the cows) don’t have much,”said Turnage.

The dairy cows have not been producing as much milk this yearbecause the heat has affected their eating habits.

“This heat is messing up all the dairy farmers,” said Thompson.”The cows won’t eat because it’s so hot. If they can find a pond,they’ll just stay in there all day.”

One way dairy farmers have been able to encourage cattle to eatis by feeding them nutrients while they are getting milked. Eachcow has its own container of food, which also serves as adistraction during the milking process.

Once the dairy cows, which are not just black and white, arehooked up to suction tubes, the machines take the milk from theutters and carry it by pipes and tubes to a holding tank. Theholding tank is emptied once a day when a truck comes to transferthe milk to another location to further the process.

The milk will later be cleaned further and packaged for consumeruse.