INRA Unité de Recherches sur les Systèmes Agraires et le Développement, Route de Saint Cyr 78026 Versailles Cedex
A typology of 129 milk samples collected by two cooperatives to make Beaufort cheese, showed various associations in their milk characteristics (fat content, protein content, somatic cell count, bacteria count, breakdown of monthly milk bulk, annual milk bulk). Production practices were studied in 34 dairy farms. Feeding factors and calving periods were found to have an influence on the milk’s chemical composition. The bacteria counts in milk depended on the sanitation of the milking equipment. Farming practices, premilking udder preparation and cubicle mats were associated with somatic cell count. The variability of the different milk characteristics and the relations amongst them underlines the diversity in both farming practices and the control systems currently in place. Relationships between milk types and farming systems demonstrates the utility of proposing quality guidelines that are adapted to the diversity of dairy farming.