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Management factors affecting udder health and effects of a one year extension program in organic dairy herds

Lookup NU author(s): Gillian Butler



The first part of this study was a cross-sectional analysis of the impact of 29 management factors on udder health in organic dairy farms in Switzerland. All 77 farms joined the extension program 'pro-Q'. As a measure of udder health the theoretical bulk milk somatic cell count (TBMSCC) calculated by the monthly cow composite somatic cell count over a time period of 1 year was chosen. The basic udder health of the farms was determined by TBMSCC during the year prior to the start of the project (mean for all farms = 176460 cells/ml). In the multivariable analysis, the five factors 'swiss brown breed, 'alpine summer pasturing, 'calf feeding with milk from mastitis diseased cows, 'hard bedding' and 'no post-milking' remained as significant risk factors on udder health. In the second part of the study, the development of management factors and the udder health situation affected by an extension program after 1 year was investigated. A partial improvement of the management factors on the farms but no overall improvement on udder health and no association between management changes and udder health changes were found. Improvement of udder health was more likely in farms with higher basic TBMSCC than in those farms with less udder health problems at the beginning of the project.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ivemeyer S, Walkenhorst M, Heil F, Notz C, Maeschli A, Butler G, Klocke P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Animal

Year: 2009

Volume: 3

Issue: 11

Pages: 1596-1604

Date deposited: 15/07/2010

ISSN (print): 1751-7311

ISSN (electronic): 1751-732X

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1751731109990498


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Funder referenceFunder name
Coop Naturaplan Fonds
FP6-FOOD-CT-2003-506358European Community