Thermoduric bacteria are heat-resistant bacteria that can survive pasteurisation during milk processing.

Thermoduric bacteria can have a major impact on milk quality, which is why controlling them on farms is so important.

Controlling thermoduric bacteria can be achieved by having better management practices on farms.

This is especially important during the milking process, when the bacteria has the potential to enter milk.

Thermoduric bacteria

The bacteria is found in soil, dust, bedding and faeces, and can become lodged in poorly cleaned or maintained milking machines.

There are a number of critical control points that farmers can use to control the bacteria.

A key area is pre-milking teat preparation and ensuring the clusters are attached to clean, dry teats.

It is also important that clusters are clean when being attached to cows.

Roadways, particularly in heavily trafficked areas, should be kept clean and free from muck and dung.

The collecting yard and exit area should also be kept as clean as possible.

It is important, when milking, to keep hands and/or gloves clean. If gloves become overly dirty or damaged they should be replaced.

Clipping cows’ tails between two and three times/lactation is also advised.

Parlour washing

If a parlour wash is not done correctly it can lead to the formation of biofilm within the milking machine.

Biofilms are layers of bacteria that grow on the organic deposits that are already present within the pipes.

To prevent the development of a biofilm and keep thermoduric bacteria under control, the parlour wash needs to be working correctly.

Temperatures of >70° need to be achieved to ensure that the wash is effective and adequate amounts of detergent need to be used.

Old and worn rubber clothing should be replaced and liners should be changed at the correct intervals.

Controlling thermoduric bacteria is an ongoing challenge, so high hygiene and management standards need to held constantly.