Decision making

Factors affecting Milk Quality.

The quality of milk a cow gives directly affects how much a farmer is paid for it. That’s why farmers go to such great lengths to assure quality of milk.

Photo /courtesy

Factors impacting the quality of milk a cow gives includes

Cow health

A cow’s health has the highest impact on the quality of milk it produces. Just like humans, cows can catch illness such as cold or flu. They are also susceptible to irritation or inflammation of their udders if stall conditions are poor. Exposure to mud, manure and runoff can expose the herd to more pathogens, increasing incidents of infections. Rainy seasons can predictably lead to higher somatic cells.

Somatic cell counts

These are the best markers of cow health. High somatic cells count in milk indicate an increased presence of white blood cells, a signal that the cow is fighting illness. Other types of somatic cells can degrade the fat and protein content in the milk. This hurts the quality of the milk and can lead to deduction in pay.


Just as a cows diet impact the quantity of the milk it produces, it also affects the quality composition. In times of food scarcity, both will suffer. When feed is plenty, farmers have more rooms to adjust feed to enhance the components of milk.

Milk handling

Another factor affecting milk quality is how its treated once it leaves the cow. Because milk is naturally good place for bacteria to thrive, bacteria count taken during processing can show whether milk was taken with clean equipment and the faster the milk is cooled, the lower the bacteria count will be.

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