Zott awards the Golden Milk Can for the fourth time
The Golden Milk Can was awarded to a total of 16 Zott dairy suppliers on 19 February for the 17th time. With the prize, the dairy honors the performance of winning farms for sustainable dairy production. Each of the prizes in the four categories are worth 1,000 euros.
Since 2014, the gourmet dairy from Mertingen has been awarding the Golden Milk Can to its dairy producers every two years through a best practice competition. The winners have distinguished themselves from other farms in the four categories through above-average sustainability and a forward-thinking approach to their everyday work. “Our dairy producers are already actively committed to animal welfare and sustainable dairy production – each in their own individual way, and within the framework of their capabilities. We distinguish the best of the best with the Golden Milk Can. The competition results confirmed for us that our dairy farmers are passionate about their work and love their animals. The winners serve as role models for others as well” says Christian Schramm, Head of Dairy Purchasing at Zott, explaining the background of the award.
16 winning operations in four categories
The prize winners, who come from the gourmet dairy's entire purchasing territory, applied for the Golden Milk Can award last year in the four categories of “Production environment”, “Animal health”, “Performance per day of life” and “Coarse feed performance”. The categories reflect the high quality commitments of the farmers, and their motivation to engage in sustainable dairy production practices. In addition, it is clear that a modern, economical dairy business does not exclude a close connection between people and animals.
The “Production environment” category is based on the Zott supplier assessment, which includes the results of regular farm inspections. A high score reflects an excellent production environment, in areas such as housing conditions, feed and feeding, hygiene, documentation and environmental protection. Five farms received the maximum number of points during the period in question, and received the award.
Four operations were honored in the “Animal health” category. During the specified time period, their dairy herds achieved especially high marks for their health status. Cell counts were considered in particular, since these reflect the udder health of milk-producing animals. The lower the cell count, the better the milk quality and the healthier the cow. In addition, the “Animal health” category also considers the so-called “metabolic traffic light”, which describes the stability of the energy metabolism during the first 50 days of lactation following the birth of a calf.
In the category of “Performance per day of life,” the focus is on the interaction between the age and milk production of an individual cow and of the entire dairy herd. The four winning operations proved that even older cows can be productive, and can make existing herds more valuable. In addition, they achieved good results through good animal husbandry practices and optimal feeding. All of this is then reflected in the milk production performance.
The category of “Coarse feed performance” is all about feeding animals with natural, home-grown coarse feed of the highest quality, in order to reduce the quantity of purchased high-performance feed. Four farms fulfilled these requirements, and produced milk with a very high level of coarse feed performance during the 2018 calendar year. Coarse feed performance is a technical production parameter, and an indicator used to assess dairy production from the standpoint of using resources in a sustainable way. As the amount of coarse feed fed increases, the amount of high-performance feed required drops per kg of milk. Optimal cultivation, optimal feed preservation and optimal feeding and removal technologies play an important role, and characterize the winning farms.
Diverse sustainability program
Zott launched the “Zott quality milk with passion” quality and sustainability program, which includes a wide range of projects and measures, in 2013 for its dairy producers. The program focuses not only on the quality of milk as a raw material, but on the needs of people and animals. It is used to test out new approaches to animal health and animal husbandry, for instance, such as reducing the use of antibiotics and promoting homeopathy in the cowshed. The Golden Milk Can award is part of the program, and is awarded every two years to Zott milk suppliers for particularly sustainable practices and superb milk quality.
The award ceremony for the Golden Milk Can was held in Ansbach on Wednesday, 19 February. Zott has awarded the prize 17 times to a total of 16 milk producer families. By doing so, the Zott dairy honors highly sustainable action and outstanding milk quality.