September 2019 Newsletter

Milk Price, Mastitis Control Programme, Sensitivity Testing, Farm Succession Workshops, SDAS Reminder

20 September 2019

Milk Price

The milk price for the month of August has been reduced by 1.0 cent per litre due to weakened markets. This brings the price for August to 32.01 cents per litre (145.52 cents per gallon) at 3.60% butterfat and 3.30% protein, including Summer Somatic Cell Count (SCC) bonus of 0.5 cpl and VAT at 5.4%. This includes the 1.0 cent per litre milk price support from the stability fund put in place last month.

It is hoped unless the market weakens further that this price should remain till year end.

The average price paid for the month is 36.40 cents per litre. This is based on the average butterfat of 4.17% and protein of 3.63%, including SCC bonus and VAT.

Mastitis Control Programme

Milk processing Co-Ops, who operate an approved Mastitis Control Programme (MCP) can provide veterinary prescriptions for all suppliers who sign up to this programme. Drinagh Co-Op operates an approved MCP that allows for the issuance of veterinary prescriptions. The script supplied will be valid for up to 12 months.
Included in this month’s statement is a Mastitis Control Programme Contract for anybody who wishes to join the programme or renew their contract.

There is an ongoing focus on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and as a result some products have been omitted from this year’s application form. The tubes omitted from the 2019 contract are: Cobactan and Cefimam LC, Cefimam DC and Cephaguard DC. This group of antibiotics are third and fourth generation cephalosporins which have been classed as the highest priority ‘critically important antimicrobials’ (CIA’s) by the Department of Agriculture because of their importance in both human and animal health. The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) and the Irish Co-Ops have been asked to implement measures to combat antimicrobial resistance and promote the responsible use of antimicrobials in the Irish agri-food sector. To demonstrate our commitment to AMR reduction, Drinagh have delisted these products and removed them from the intramammary prescriptions as part of the Co- Op’s overall Mastitis Control Programme.

If you have any queries in relation to this matter, please feel free to contact Tim Regan or Darren Lynch for further assistance.

Sensitivity Testing

Sensitivity Testing

Are you using the correct dry or milking cow tubes for the mastitis bugs on your farm?? If you don’t know then it is best practice to complete a sensitivity analysis.

To get a good profile of what bacteria is in the herd, it is recommended to test at least 4 samples – one from the bulk tank and 3 samples from individual high cell count cows. Cows sampled must not have been treated with a milking cow tube in the previous 100 days before the sample is taken. As this can be difficult to achieve towards the end of lactation – best practice is to take samples from problem cows earlier in the lactation before a high SCC cow is treated with a mastitis tube. Samples can be stored in the freezer until sending off for sensitivity analysis later in the year.

Sterile sample collection is the most important step for successful culturing of milk. Poor technique may give misleading results. Only a small amount of milk is required for analysis – trying to get a large sample increases the chance of contamination.

Farm Succession Workshops

Farm Succession Workshops

Transferring the family farm is so much more than just a simple business transaction; there are several complex issues to be addressed including:

  • The family home is normally inseparable from the business.
  • A number of family members/ siblings/ children to be catered for fairly
  • If the transfer is during the owner’s lifetime, the owner will require an income, as well as possibly the recipient depending on the circumstances.

To assist on the many details involved in creating an effective plan for succession, Teagasc West Cork invite all farm families to the upcoming:

'Transferring the Family Farm’ clinic at
The Parkway Hotel, Dunmanway on
September 23rd @10.30am

The clinic will commence with a talk from a farm succession expert, James McDonnell and will
then break up into the one-to-one clinic format with professional experts including solicitors, accountants, and others involved in farm transfers.

Attendance is free of charge, but pre-booking is essential. To book your place, please visit this page.

Bord Bia SDAS Reminder

As per the Drinagh Milk Quality Standard, all milk suppliers must continuously be certified members of the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS).

If a milk supplier falls out of certification or where a certificate expires, milk collections will cease until such time as the farm re-certified. It takes a minimum of 1-2 weeks to get an audit completed and certification renewed.

The below examples are areas where milk suppliers may fall out of certification:

  1. Renewal audit not carried out or completed in adequate time before the current certificate expires.
  2. Close-out of any non-compliances not completed or not completed in adequate time before the current certificate expires.

As a result, we encourage all milk suppliers to ensure that their renewal audit is completed, and that certification is secured before their existing certificate expires.

If you have any difficulties completing your renewal audit or for any assistance in completing the close out of any non-compliances, please contact Ciara Sheehan on 087-7384736.

Thermoduric Test Results

In future the Society will send out thermoduric results by text message to all suppliers. It is hoped that samples tested in early September will be texted out in the coming days.

A thermoduric level of 500 cfu/ml or less is necessary in milk to ensure that it is fully suitable for processing. If your test sample is over the current standard of 500 cfu/ml, we encourage you to put significant effort in to reducing the level of thermoduric bacteria found in your milk.

For any supplier that does not receive their thermoduric test result by text within the next week or for further information on ways to reduce thermoduric levels please contact your Drinagh Agri Advisor.


  • Mastitis Control Programme included in this month’s statement
  • Teagasc ‘Transferring the Family Farm’ clinic on Sept 23rd in Dunmanway