Dairy farmers are being strongly advised to consider the suitability of their dairy hygiene products for their specific end market as opportunities to export improve and consumers continue to take a greater interest in what they are eating and drinking.

That’s the message from Rob Kelly, regional sales director for Diversey, a hygiene company that carries the Deosan brand in its product range.

“It’s no longer a case of one size fits all,” he said. “As an industry, we must work together to protect the wholesomeness of milk, and farmers need to start thinking about the complete milk market.

“Food safety starts on the farm and while it’s already a key part of production, it’s going to increase in importance post-Brexit.”

Mr Kelly warned producers to look at the growing concern surrounding the use of certain agrochemicals – glyphosate and neonicotinoids for example – and said he was certain that farm hygiene chemicals would soon be put under the same microscope.

“In the future, we’re not going to be see the bulk of liquid milk going into one big, single reservoir,” he pointed out. “Export opportunities will come – but at a price and with caveats. We’re aware of the challenges producers will face and we’re already working to help them make the most of high margin opportunities.”

He said dairy farmers needed to pay more attention to the content of the hygiene products they were using, adding that different end markets and different farming systems, required different approaches.

He also urged farmers to look carefully at what chemicals are in their dairy hygiene range and make sure they are not at risk of being banned in the future.

“When you’re producing milk for infant formula powder, you should ensure that the dairy hygiene products you use meet with the demands of the contract.

“These demands are often more stringent than the requirements for the low margin, low cost skim market, for example.

“Producers need to be prepared to make sure they’re compliant with the latest regulations from the industry and from their buyers.

“Plenty of producers take short cuts, but they need to consider if it is really cost effective. You may be tempted to cut costs on chemicals – typically you can save around 35p per day by using inferior products.

“But, as a result, you might find that you are replacing costly liners more frequently as the acid eats away at the rubber or silicon; you may experience an increase in treatment costs, or even a missed milk hygiene bonus. It may prove to be a very costly exercise.”

Mr Kelly urged producers to get expert advice as no such two products are the same. Farmer also have to understand what they are buying, as being tempted by cheap chemicals often results in additional costs later. Ultimately, you pay for what you get.

“Dairy farmers work in a business environment that has some uncontrollable variables such as weather and milk pricing, however they can protect their business by adopting best practices to produce high quality milk. By maximising milk quality, you ensure the best possible milk price which will stand you in good stead for the future marketplace,” he pointed out.