Feb. 1 2013 06:35 AM

Awards celebrate what is already occurring on dairy farms.

Excellence in what is not only possible for the production of superb quality milk, but what is already taking place on U.S. dairy farms, was celebrated January 29 at the 52nd annual National Mastitis Council (NMC) meeting in San Diego, Calif.

Presentation of the 2012 National Dairy Quality Awards (NDQA), including six Platinum level winners, was made during the meeting's annual awards luncheon. This year's was made even more of a gala event by being held inside Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres major league baseball team.

The six farms that were honored range in size from a year-long average of 64 cows milking to 313. Both the consistency and high degree of their milk quality, as measured by somatic cell count (SCC), standard plate count (SPC) and other common indexes, were stunning.

Pictured in front row, left to right, are Kristen and Karen Davenport of Tollgate Farm in Anacramdale, N.Y.; Jennifer Saxton and Sally Gancarz of Beattie Farms in Holton, Mich.
In back row, left to right, are: Jim Davenport; Jeff and Christopher True of True Farms #2 in Perry, N.Y.; Keith and Heather Kartes of Circle K Farms in West Branch, Mich.; and Bob Kreft from the Michigan State University Dairy in Lansing, Mich. Not able to attend were Ryan and Charina Dellar from Harrisville, Mich.

Average SCC by the six Platinum winners for the 12-month evaluation period was 71,042. By stunning comparison, the allowable legal federal limit is 750,000. Their average SPC was 1,708 and the legal limit is 100,000.

Each winner received an award plaque, free registration to the NMC meeting and a travel stipend from Hoard's Dairyman. Contest sponsors were NMC, Merial, Elanco, IBA, Ecolab, GEA Farm Technologies, Select Sires and Hoard's Dairyman.

To read more about the Platinum winners, click here.