CELLCHECK NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER EDITION 2016
FINOLA McCOY, PROGRAMME MANAGER
CellCheck milk purchaser survey
IMPROVING udder health is all about achieving a change in behaviour. Change in behaviour at farm level is key, but so too are changes in the service provision and milk purchasing sectors. As part of the CellCheck programme evaluation, we asked all of our stakeholder processors to complete a survey, that collected information on the practices and behaviours that related to milk quality and udder health. This looked at areas such as milk payment policies, the frequency of bulk tank collection and SCC testing, communications to suppliers and educational events or information for suppliers. The survey first looked at these practices in detail in 2011, establishing this as a baseline. The survey was then repeated in 2015, to capture any changes in the same practices and behaviours that had happened since the commencement of the CellCheck programme. For the 6 processors that completed the survey, many of the practices and behaviours had remained constant. There was no reported change in the frequency of bulk tank collection, SCC testing, and testing for antibiotic residue. The frequency and method of communicating the SCC results back to suppliers remained constant, as did the provision of newsletters and farm walks as a means of engaging with and providing information to suppliers. One key change for all respondents was the inclusion of CellCheck information material in their supplier newsletters. There was no reported change in the way in which milk quality advisors responded to and supported herds experiencing mastitis control challenges.
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