Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update on Nicaragua Dairy Project

The cows of Nicaragua in the past couple of months have been busy with a couple of U.S. volunteers: Bob Blohm and Allen Pederson. While both worked closely with the farmers and cows their objectives couldn’t have been any more related. 

Bob Blohm from Pennsylvania spent his time from June 26 to July 10 monitoring and providing suggestions to improve the quality of the milk from stage one, milking the cow, to the final stages at collection/ transfer stations. 

One of the largest problems with milk production is trying to keep milk from being contaminated with bacteria that causes milk to turn “sour.” This often occurs when there is cross contamination between the milk and other objects, or if milk is not kept at a recom-mended temperature. During his time in Nicaragua, Blohm was able to pick out areas where this might occur.
Some of these possible contamination risks were cloth strainers and Milk holding containers not being cleaned properly or thoroughly, allowing for the formation of milk stone. One handy “trick” Blohm taught farmers was to look for milk stone formation with the use a UV flashlight. When the light is passed over the inside of the canister the milk residue turns a bright green color. Milk stone formation is hard for farmers to clean since an acid wash is used, and cleaning of the containers is often performed by the haulers.

However, Mr. Blohm has seen willingness from the community to accept new ideas and methods to continue the improvement and future growth of the Nicaraguan dairy industry.

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