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Management of Wisconsin Dairy Herds Enrolled in Milk Quality Teams

Journal of Dairy Science
American Dairy Science Association
DOI: 10.3168/jds.s0022-0302(05)72943-x
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Abstract A study was conducted to characterize Wisconsin dairy herds that enrolled in a team-based milk quality improvement program and to assess association of specific management practices with milking efficiency and milk quality. Management and financial data were obtained from dairy farms (n=180) that participated in the program. Upon enrollment, herds reported a median bulk milk somatic cell count (SCC) of 333,500 cells/mL, an average of 125 lactating cows, and a mean rolling-herd average of 10,100kg. Many management practices and bulk milk SCC were strongly associated with herd size and facility type. Managers of herds housed in freestall barns adopted more standardized procedures and recommended management practices compared with managers of herds housed in stall barns. Those managers also reported less bulk milk SCC and greater milk yields, and had a tendency for lower prevalence of subclinical mastitis and reduced estimates of the incidence of clinical mastitis. Managers of freestall herds received more quality premiums for milk shipped, estimated that they had fewer financial losses related to mastitis, and reported more efficient milking performance. A more efficient milking performance did not increase estimates of clinical mastitis or bulk milk SCC. In herds having freestalls, frequent training of employees seemed to be the fundamental factor that increased milking efficiency. Bulk milk SCC was positively associated with standard plate count, estimated rate of clinical mastitis, prevalence of subclinical mastitis, numbers of cows culled for mastitis, and estimated financial losses attributable to mastitis. Herds reporting high bulk milk SCC had an increased prevalence of subclinical mastitis, but incidence did not differ among bulk milk SCC categories. Overall, herds did not discuss milk quality frequently with dairy professionals, and herds having greater bulk milk SCC reported less consultation with their herd veterinarian.

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