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Past, present & future trends in the dairy industry: How to survive?

The dairy industry has undergone many changes over the last 15 years, moving the market towards greater industrialisation. To analyse these and future changes, we interviewed James Husband, a recognised milk quality advisor who discovers here the keys to adapting farms to these changes and not to die trying.


Interview with James Husband (UK)

Dr. James Husband is technical director at Evidence Group Veterinary Consultancy, UK.

During the interview, Dr. James Husband explained the main trends today in the milk market, how the role of the customers has changed and how their decisions have a great influence on the dairy industry.

In addition, he also highlighted the key points to adapting the dairy industry to the constant and rapid changes such as diagnostic tools, data analysis or the reduction of the use of antibiotics in favour of vaccination.


1. The influence of consumer demands in the dairy industry


One of the biggest changes that we have seen in recent years has been the growth of large farms with a huge number of animals instead of traditional farms with a smaller number of animals.

Nowadays we have more animals but fewer farms.

In addition, consumer changes are important. Today the role of the consumer demands sustainable production models that guarantee animal welfare.

For this reason, customers are seeking greater transparency from companies.


2. The importance of vaccination against bovine mastitis


Today the market also requires a reduction in the use of antibiotics and the Somatic Cell Counts in order to obtain better milk.

Diagnostic tools are important to achieve this.

Thus, vaccination against bovine mastitis plays an important role in the evolution of the industry together with a complete mastitis control programme on modern farms.



3. Challenges in the dairy industry for the coming years: react quickly to data results 


The volatility of milk prices forces us to improve the control of costs generated on dairy farms.

This can be achieved through improvements in the analysis of data.

Farms need to be constantly evolving in order to implement and react quickly to data results and market changes and to be more efficient.


4. The need to trust in antibiotic-free production


We can see different international experiences with the reduction of antibiotic use and it seems that the changes will spread throughout the continent very quickly.

There is already the perception in the industry that it is possible to work with reduced or no antibiotics.

Also, consumer pressure is increasing and there needs to be trust in the industry with regard to antibiotic-free production.


5. How do we adapt to these milk market trends?


One point is the selective dry cow therapy.

But it is also necessary to increase and improve farm levels with a follow-up of mastitis cases and somatic cells counts, in order to be able to take better decisions about the farm.

A good data collection system is essential in order to adapt to new trends in the dairy industry.





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