An American study shows that the ability to reduce somatic cell counts (SCC) and improve milk quality depends on the effective and consistent application of established mastitis control practices. Because more milk producers use non-family labor farms, the authors believe it is important to understand dairy producer attitude and belief relative to management practices and employee performance to advance milk quality.

To assess the adoption rate of mastitis control practices, social variables including attitude towards employees relative to mastitis control, a survey was made in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida on farms of different herd size (9-5800 cows).

Their self-reported geometric mean bulk tank SCC was 194,000 cells/mL. The study concluded that mastitis control practices such as the use of internal teat sealants and blanket dry cow therapy, and not using water during udder preparation before milking, were associated with lower bulk tank SCC. However, ensuring strict compliance with milking protocols, giving employees a financial or other penalty due to increased SCC, and a perceived importance of reducing labor costs were negatively associated with bulk tank SCC. It is therefore believed by the authors that these findings highlight the need for a comprehensive approach to managing mastitis, one that includes the human dimensions of management, to uphold a high milk quality.

 

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