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Montgomery Dairy Farmers honored for superior cow care
The dairy farm of James and Donna Hoefs of Montgomery was one of the state’s top 100 dairy farms honored for superior cow care in June.
The 100 farms in the state were recognized for demonstrating superior diary herd management skills as measured by their cows’ low somatic cell count (SCC) average.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the University of Minnesota have been working with the state’s diary farmers for the past decade to reduce somatic cell counts and as a result, the average SCC level has dropped significantly.
Somatic cell count is a key indicator of milk quality - a lower SCC count is better for cheese production and a longer shelf life. Although somatic cells occur naturally and are not a food-safety concern, dairy farmers monitor them because processors will pay a premium for milk with low counts. A farmer whose herd has a very low count can receive significantly more per hundredweight compared to a farmer whose herd average is high.
The farm, which is run by the Hoefs family, celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2011.