Achilles Heel in Colostrum Collection
Nearly all colostrum is collected in so-called "catch buckets."
In my experience many of these stainless steel buckets do not have their original stainless steel lids. Black plastic lids have been substituted.
Most dairies have realized that it is important to keep these clean - gaskets clean top and bottom, and brush all the surfaces.
Oops! Did I say, "Brush ALL surfaces?"
Two recent experiences suggest that actually brushing surfaces makes a difference. I checked two of these black plastic lids.
I used the Hygiena SystemSure Plus unit to do adenosine triphosphate (ATP) monitoring. The ATP test is a process of rapidly measuring actively growing microorganisms through the detection of adenosine triphosphate. An ATP monitoring system can detect the amount of organic matter that remains after cleaning a surface (for example, calf feeding equipment).
Thresholds used in the food processing industry are less than10 RLU for direct food contact surfaces and less than 50 RLU for environmental surfaces. I have been using a reading of 100 RLU as a realistic on-farm upper threshold for calf feeding equipment.
My testing site was inside the round baffle centered on the underside of the lid. When cleaning you need a bottle brush or something similar to reach up into this round plastic structure.
At Dairy #1 they have a bottle brush at the wash sink where nursing bottles are washed as well as the colostrum collection equipment. The RLU reading from up inside the round baffle structure was 318. It appears that a bit more careful scrubbing could easily lower the bacteria count in this area.
At Dairy #2 the lid I tested appeared clean. The RLU reading from up inside the round babble structure was 1782. Nasty place all ready to inoculate incoming colostrum with bacteria. There is a 9 inch bucket brush at the wash sink - no bottle brush. I had an extra bottle brush in the truck - all we have to do is convince everyone to actually use the brush when cleaning the lids.
The reason I called this site the "Achilles Heel" at these dairies is that nearly all the other possible inoculation sites (tube feeder bottle and tube, stainless steel catch bucket, nursing bottle and nipple) tested in the 0-20 range,