Objective and scope

The guiding objective for good dairy farming practice is that safe, quality milk should be produced from healthy animals using management practices that are sustainable from an animal welfare, social, economic and environmental perspective.

To achieve this objective, dairy farmers should apply good practice in the following areas:

• animal health;

• milking hygiene;

• nutrition (feed and water);

• animal welfare;

• environment; and

• socio-economic management.

For each of these categories this article summarizes a lists good dairy farming practices, and suggests measures that can be implemented to achieve the desired outcome.

1. ANIMAL HEALTH

Animals that produce milk need to be healthy and an effective health care programme should be in place.

2. MILKING HYGIENE

Milk should be harvested and stored under hygienic conditions. Equipment used to harvest and store milk should be suitable and well maintained.

3. NUTRITION (FEED AND WATER)

Animals need to be fed and watered with products of suitable quality and safety.

4. ANIMAL WELFARE

Animals should be kept according to the following ‘five freedoms’:

• Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition

• Freedom from discomfort

• Freedom from pain, injury and disease

• Freedom from fear

• Freedom to engage in relatively normal patterns of animal behavior

5. ENVIRONMENT

Milk production should be managed in balance with the local environment surrounding the farm.

6. SOCIO-ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT

Dairy farming provides economic and social benefits to farmers and their wider communities.

Good dairy farming practice can also help to manage the social and economic risks to the enterprise.

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