Milk is one of the staple foods in Australia. It’s said that we drink almost 9 billion litres of the cool, white stuff every year in Australia. And here at The Little Big Dairy Co in Dubbo, New South Wales, we produce 11 million litres of that at our family-run farm on the banks of the Macquarie River. But how do we get our single source milk from our beautiful Holstein cows to the bottle? Let’s tell you a little more.
Without our three herds of pure-bred Holsteins, there would be no story, because that’s where everything begins. We love our cows! There are over 1000 of them and each one has a name. Whether they’re a new calf or a seasoned mom, our cows get the very best care and the very best nutrition. Whether they’re grazing on the lush pastures or munching on oats, clovers and rye grass from the winter pastures, they’re kept really well fed to ensure that they have optimum milk supplies.
Milking in the dairy shed
Our cows are split into three herds, two of which are milked 3 times every 24 hours while the other is milked twice in a 24-hour period. This helps to reduce the risk of mastitis. From the dairy shed, the fresh milk goes straight to the on-farm factory within hours to be pasteurised. Compare this to other Australian dairy farms where the milk must be transported off-site for pasteurisation, a process which can take up to 48 hours.
In the on-farm factory
Once the milk is in our purpose-built, state-of-the-art on-farm factory, the processing begins with pasteurisation. This involves heating the milk to 72oC for at least 15 seconds. Once it’s reached the required temperature for the requisite amount of time, it’s then cooled immediately. Bacteria and microorganisms present in the milk are killed off during this process to make the milk entirely safe to drink. During pasteurisation, we use the minimum allowable heat treatment. Our raw milk is of extremely high quality so requires minimal processing. It’s one of the reasons why our milk tastes so great.
Once pasteurised, we force the milk through fine nozzles under pressure. This creates homogenised milk where the fat globules have been broken up and dispersed throughout the liquid to create a more consistent texture and taste. Homogenised milk is recognisable because it doesn’t have a layer of cream sitting on the top. We also produce non-homogenised milk at the Little Big Dairy Co which is the perfect option for anyone who prefers a less processed milk.
Whether we’re making homogenised, non-homogenised or lactose-free milk, we take great pride in ensuring that everything we do is in line with best practice and sustainability, and we are extremely proud to say that we hold an A rating for Australia’s highest food safety licence.
From the on-farm factory to the consumer
Every part of our milk production is carried out at our family-run farm and the first time our milk leaves the farm is in either a plastic or glass bottle. We deliver 100,000 litres of our delicious milk direct to our customers every week and all our milk is traceable back to the cow that produced it.
And that’s how we get our milk from our cows to our consumers.