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The standard in responsible dairy farming

We want to ensure that we produce, process and sell our raw milk responsibly and use resources economically in doing so. German agriculture, and the dairy industry with it, enjoys a positive image in society. Nevertheless, it is also under critical observation by the public, particularly in the areas of farm animal welfare conditions, feeding and animal health. That's why we developed Milkmaster. Milkmaster describes our standards for responsible milk production in concrete and illustrative terms. That means we invite a debate with society. At the same time, the programme gives farmers support in continuously improving their farms.

Our Milkmaster house

The goals of the Milkmaster Programme

All DMK dairy farms:
  • work to the same production standard
  • periodically deliver the required ratios from the Milkmaster Report
  • are externally audited every two years
  • receive annual reports on their results
  • take part in annual benchmarking
  • have their economic strength enhanced

Concrete goals are derived from the Milkmaster Programme, which are currently being aligned with DMK 2020.

Modules of the Milkmaster Programme

The Code, the Report, and confirmation, advice and bonus systems are the five modules of the Milkmaster Programme. Find out more by clicking on a module’s building-block
The heart of the matter: the Milkmaster Code
The Milkmaster Report
The Milkmaster Code sets forth fundamental and specific standards, rules and goals to which the dairy farmers commit as a community. The Code therefore has the role of a vision for responsible milk production. It not only sets the direction for our day-to-day activities, but also for all decisions of relevance to the future. It provides the farmers with guidance and society with answers to its questions. The Code is divided into 14 chapters and covers the total complex of responsible livestock farming with dairy cattle – starting with the birth of the calf through to the production of high-quality milk, and including the cultivation of feed on the same farm as well as the cows' feeding. The Code also contains recommendations on topics such as farm animal welfare conditions, biodiversity, dehorning, udder health, environmental protection and quality assurance.
The Milkmaster Report is systematically derived from the Code. The aim is to make the standards for responsible milk production measurable and verifiable. It demonstrates a transparent and meaningful documentation of all farms It offers the farms regular reports on their individual situations and progress, including benchmarking with other farms. This forms the basis of individual advice on improvements for every farm. Put simply, it is a comprehensive questionnaire that picks up on the individual topics (chapters) of the Code and attaches ratios and a defined percentage points-based scale to them. Strict attention is paid to making sure that different natural location-specific conditions and farm dimensions are taken into consideration. The Code's questionnaire comprises more than 130 ratios and indicators for the total production process.
Confirmation
Advice
Bonus
External confirmation means pre-arranged visits to the farms by an auditor every two years. The review process attains credibility and transparency by the use of external, independent accredited auditors. They test the data from the self-assessment in the Milkmaster Report. This confirms compliance with the standards that we have agreed in the Milkmaster Code.

This audit is linked to the QM-Milch quality assurance audit in order to keep the effort for the farmers at a feasible level. Milkmaster was launched in 2015 with the completion of the report at the farms. The first confirmation round begins in 2016 and will be completed at all farms by the end of 2017. Following its integration into the Milk Delivery Regulations, Milkmaster has been binding on all DMK dairy farmers since the beginning of 2016.
The continuous further development of our farms is a central feature of Milkmaster. The advice module is intended to provide support for this in all the areas of Milkmaster. The advice comprises precisely tailored optimisation strategies for all farms.  The DMK consultant will answer all questions about milk quality and milking hygiene. A network of specialists, including vets, specialist consultants and scientists, is being built up to provide specialist advice on Milkmaster topics, for example udder and hoof health, shed architecture, environmental protection and resource efficiency. Specialist forums and online seminars support the advisory process as an information platform.
We will all have acted truly responsibly and sustainably only if we succeed in demonstrating to the younger generations that there is a future in agriculture. The Milkmaster Programme therefore provides a financial incentive with the bonus system for those dairy farmers who have made special commitments to achievements or have already delivered them. The bonus is linked to specific important ratios. These include topics from DMK 2020 such as cow comfort, animal health, feed cultivation, feeding and milk quality. The bonus is intended as a reward for those farms that fulfil certain requirements on responsible milk production. At the same time, it is intended as an incentive for all farms to develop further and achieve the goals we have set forth together in the Milkmaster Code.

Research project

If needed, research projects are contracted out to independent institutes for clarification and the results integrated into Milkmaster accordingly. 2015 witnessed, for example, the completion of the three-year research project "Development of a Sustainability Management System for Beef Cattle Farms: Feeding, Resources, Climate, Good Farm Animal Welfare", conducted by the German Agricultural Society (DLG) and supported by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU). The DMK GROUP was involved and tested the indicators on one of its farms.

Expert panel

The expert panel ensures that Milkmaster satisfies the latest findings of science and research at all times. Members of the expert panel include scientists, practitioners, veterinary surgeons and representatives of selected companies from the supply chain.

Public Relations

Milkmaster was developed together with the dairy farmers. In 2015, the launch year, information about Milkmaster was provided intensively in the regions and through the executive bodies, and dialogue was sought. A regular and close exchange of views with different stakeholder groups is part of our self-conception for responsible milk production. Effective communication between those involved is therefore essential to the Milkmaster Programme. 

Milkmaster-Farms

Under the umbrella of the Milkmaster Programme, DMK is establishing Milkmaster Farms in various regions. These farms demonstrate what DMK dairy farmers accomplish every day and where the valuable natural resource of raw milk comes from. They are intended to foster internal and external dialogue. DMK opened two Milkmaster Farms in 2015. Different farm tours show the practical application of the Milkmaster Programme or the daily routine of a dairy farm. DMK managers, selected customers and media representatives have the opportunity to get a picture of modern agriculture for themselves.

Your contact

You can come to us with any questions and suggestions

Milkmaster-Program

DMK Deutsches Milchkontor GmbH
Flughafenallee 17
28199 Bremen
Germany
milkmaster@dmk.de