Staying ahead of the flavored milk curve

Here is some additional information to compliment the March 25, 2015, article on page 202 of Hoard's Dairyman.

The Dale McClellan family knows dairying from two perspectives: as dairymen and as processors. Last February, Hoard's Dairyman Art Director, Ryan Ebert, had a chance to visit the Lecanto, Fla., dairy. Below, is a bit more of what he saw:

M&B milks 675 Holsteins 3x in a double-12 rapid exit herringbone. Automatic takeoffs detach units when milk flow falls below 0.08 gallons per minute. With a move from mattresses to waterbeds, the dairy saw herd health and conception rate improvements.

The dairy raises its calves for the first two weeks of life, at which point they are sold in Tennessee. Springing heifers join Leon McClellan for the 12- to 13-hour return trip. "We buy springing heifers from a reliable connection and look them over before purchase," he said.

Heifers are brought to the dairy at seven months pregnant. "We want heifers here for at least six weeks to two months before calving. This gives them time to acclimate to the weather and surroundings," he added.

On the processing side, M&B Products was the first to introduce cardboard single-use milk crates as an alternative to traditional plastic ones. "Cafeteria workers had a hard time lifting crates that can weigh nearly 31 pounds. Our cardboard containers, when full, weigh 21 pounds," noted McClellan.

With the plant's 160 employees, M&B is able to produce as much as 3 million units (cartons, pouches and cups) per day of product.

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