Dairy Focus: Farm Visit

August 4th 2014

Profitability Enhanced Using Quat-Chem Dairy Hygiene Products.

Quat-Chem Ltd along with leading supplier Accsol Dairy Ltd enjoys a good relationship with Holme Lacy Farm which has improved farm hygiene and profitability through the use of Quat-Chem products.

Working in partnership with Accsol Dairy Ltd, a leading supplier of dairy hygiene chemicals, Quat-Chem Ltd has seen a substantial rise in their dairy sales in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Dr Rubinah Chowdhary, Scientific Director at Quat-Chem said: “We are extremely pleased with the industry’s response to our innovative dairy hygiene range; its success has been remarkable in both the UK and other European countries.”

Following Holme Lacy Farms’ first year of successfully utilising Quat-Chem’s hygiene products, the Rochdale based chemical manufacturer made a follow-up visit to the farm. Founded in the 1940’s, Holme Lacy Farm in Derbyshire originated with just one farmer, one field and a hen coup. Joining his father at 18 years old, Cecil Shirt invested in dairy cows for the farm and set out to expand. Today Cecil’s son, James Shirt runs the four generation farm accompanied by his sons with over 200 dairy cows.  Whilst James admits that profitability can vary, mostly due to milk prices, the farm has maintained its high standards and increased profits by having mainly family members involved in the day to day running of the farm. “You’ve got to do the job right and that means taking good care of hygiene,” explains James whose two sons have taken over the milking operations after James suffered ill health last year. “They are trained our way. The cows know my sons and my sons know every cow. We take real pride in the milking process.” In 2013 the parlour (pictured) was fitted with a new milking system which has seen milking times cut by more than half. This, along with a strict hygiene routine, has meant James has increased profits and continues to grow the business.

Last month employees from Quat-Chem Ltd visited Holme Lacy Farm to observe the milking and see their innovative dairy hygiene products in use. With milk prices determined by random independent testing, the Shirt family implement a strict hygiene routine utilising several Quat-Chem Ltd products to safeguard the quality of milk and prevent the spread of disease on the farm. Whilst on the farm, Quat-Chem employees observed good hygiene practices in the milking parlour and in other areas on the farm. Vehicles are pressure washed and disinfected using Quat-Chem’s Viroxide Super (pictured right) as they move around the farm to prevent the spread of contagion associated with manure.viroxide-super-spray

The parlour is cleaned using Quat-Chem’s Foamsan, a blanket foam bactericidal detergent-sanitiser at the end of each milking. James said: “All the staff here take cleaning very seriously”. James’ young sons work fast and efficiently in the parlour to a strict routine. Teats are sprayed with Quat-Chem’s Teatguard and sufficient contact time allowed before wiping and attaching milking clusters. The milking area is flushed with water after each batch of cows has been milked.

Whilst Holme Lacy Farm keeps a vigilant hygiene regime, James must still be alert to signs of infection. “We do visual checks for mastitis and there are ways of detecting it when drawing milk” explains James. “Cows can also become aggressive or visibly uncomfortable when they have mastitis.” When a Holme Lacy Farm cow is infected, red tape is fastened to the leg and tail and they are kept out of milking for treatment until the mastitis has resolved. Mastitis can be very expensive if not controlled and can cost the farmer more than £175 per cow, per year. James said: “The cow can lose a quarter or worse, we have to think long term and make sure the cows are looked after”.

When asked if there is anything else they do to keep the cows relaxed during milking, James said: “We have music speakers in the parlour! It keeps the cows happy and keeps the boys happy too.” Research by the University of Leicester has suggested that when relaxing music is played milk yield can rise by 3%.

After switching to Quat-Chem hygiene products over a year ago to clean, disinfect, and descale the milking system, the Shirt family have noticed positive improvements in milk quality. James said: “We’re still using Quat-Chem products and that says a lot! The products really do a good job and my milk cell counts are good and that’s what matters. The products are reasonably priced and we also trust and get a lot of help from the technical salesman.”

After trying a number of teat dips on the market, James found Quat-Chem’s Teatguard, an iodine based teat dip, works best for Holme Lacy Farm (James' son pictured left using the product). James said: “But every farm is different and affected by different organisms”. The farm receives help and support from a trusted technical salesman who recommended Quat-Chem’s dairy range for the farm. “We spray the teats and dry them before milking the cows to prevent contamination of the milking system. After milking we find that teat dipping works best again using Teatguard”. Dr Chowdhary states: “This practice is typical of most quality dairy farms and as such it combines the convenience of spraying with the greatest protection in between milking. After milking, the teat end sphincter tends to remain open to infection, and dipping with Teatguard provides a protective coat and ensures that the teat end is sealed to prevent infection by mastitis causing organisms on the farm.” teatguard

Digital Dermatitis, which can cause lameness in cows can also be expensive and can cost farmers up to £100 per case, James said: “We used to use Formalin, but things have moved on and I think Formalin is on its way out.” After taking advice from the technical salesman, James started to use Quat-Chem’s Hoofshield in a hoof bath. “We keep on top of footbaths and use Hoofshield two to three times a week. It’s gentler on the skin in comparison to other products which have burned and irritated their feet.” Quat-Chem’s Hoofshield provides total foot treatment that cleans, disinfects and hardens the hoof meaning farmers can avoid the unnecessary costs of infection.

Overall, Mr Shirt and his farming family believe that with the use of Quat-Chem products, keeping the farm environment and equipment clean, and maintaining good teat and hoof condition within the herd prevents unnecessary disruption and disease which can ultimately impact the profitability of the farm.

For more information on the products used by Holme Lacy Farm or on any of our other hygiene products please email: sales@quatchem.co.uk

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