At the 2023 National Ploughing Championships, Irish dairy farmers wanted to know more about Thermoduric bacteria and their economic impact.

If milk or milk products are contaminated by thermoduric bacteria on farm, then there are consequences for the whole food chain. These bacteria spoil milk products. Usually, if milk becomes contaminated by bacteria on farm, the process of pasteurisation by processors can eliminate the contamination and prolong the shelf life of the milk or milk products. Thermoduric bacteria, like Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, Corynebacterium, Microbacterium, Micrococcus, Alcaligenes, can all survive the process of pasteurisation which can greatly reduce shelf life and food safety. These bacteria are all too present in the cows environment. They occur in slurry, silage, bedding, and compacted soil. The use of disinfectant to control them being futile as sterile environments are almost impossible to achieve and harder still to maintain in agricultural conditions.

The problem becomes magnified when milk fat and protein fuel the buildup of biofilm within milking plants especially in aged, perished rubberware.

Our research work looking at ways to reverse antimicrobial resistance on farms enabled us at the ploughing event to transfer the knowledge needed by Irish farmers to reduce the risks of their milk being contaminated by thermoduric bacteria. We were able to discuss ways of managing the cows’ environments and ways of maintaining clean milking plants without using chemicals.

Tara Lawrence, pictured, states that “If farmers are struggling with thermoduric contamination of their milk, we can help. I can visit the farm to collect swabs, the results of which allows us to devise a farm specific programme where we replace problematic bacteria in the cows environment with non thermaduric, non problematic bacteria”. 

This strategy has already proved it’s worth on parlour and robot milking systems throughout Ireland.

Pruex offer this service in the UK as well. Click here to book a consultation, or call 01558509025 for further information.