Organizations host mastitis prevention and milk quality conference


VERONA, Wis. — In a first-time partnership, NMC and the Mid-Atlantic Consortium attracted nearly 200 individuals to the Joint NMC Regional Meeting and Mid-Atlantic Consortium Conference, held May 27-28 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Attendees represented various facets of the dairy industry and included extension educators and specialists, producers, veterinarians, consultants, equipment and pharmaceutical suppliers, field reps, and students.

Short courses

Five pre-conference short courses addressed practical mastitis control and milk quality issues. One of the short courses focused on animal welfare evaluation for mastitis control and improved milk quality; it was held on a local dairy farm and led by Jim Reynolds of the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis.

The other short courses presented thoughts about understanding the interactions between the milking machine and dairy cow; a mastitis problem-solving case study specific to a 600-cow dairy; tools to assess and monitor subclinical mastitis control practices and integrating therapy into a quality milk program.

General session

The general session started with a panel discussion by four northeast dairy producers that all utilize robotic milking systems.

The general session continued with Rich Stup from AgChoice Farm Credit addressing standard operating procedures for milkers and encouraging dairy managers to involve employees in standard operating procedure development.

David Reid, BouMatic’s director for milk harvest, science and technology, said cows are most at risk to new mastitis infections during low milk flow periods. Higher peak milk flow claw vacuum is the single best way to increase the average milk flow rate.

Afternoon session

To start the afternoon session, Jim Reynolds with UC Davis explained that today’s animal welfare criticisms and debates are focused and well orchestrated.

The University of Tennessee’s Steve Oliver listed the virtues of high-quality milk — longer shelf-life, better taste and increased nutrition.

University of Wisconsin Milk Quality Extension Specialist Pamela Ruegg talked about taking mastitis control to the next level.

She observed that producers who reach high performance levels implement systems that allow them to produce exceptionally high-quality milk, demonstrate individual animal well-being, train and equip employees, and are aware of societal concerns about sustaining rural environments.

To close the meeting’s sessions, Bill Weiss, with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, discussed nutrition’s role in mammary gland health.

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