Time is of the essence when it comes to handling milk. To maintain and preserve quality, the milk should arrive at a processing plant as soon as possible after being collected. Then it is up to the processor to off-load the milk into a silo, keep it chilled and process it as quickly as possible, said Lisbeth Goddik, a professor in the dairy science program at Oregon State University, Corvallis.
Umpqua Dairy Products Co., Roseburg, Ore., has become adept at receiving milk. It can empty a tanker, test the milk, clean the truck and have it back on the road in 75 minutes. A small processor like Umpqua Dairy has to compete on quality, Goddik said. It doesn’t have the volume of larger competitors who can sell milk for less.