Herd characteristics and management practices associated with bulk-tank somatic cell counts in herds in official Dairy Herd Improvement Association programs in Ohio

Margaret L. Khaitsa Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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 BVM, PhD
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Thomas E. Wittum Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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 PhD
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K. Larry Smith College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Department of Animal Sciences, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Janet L. Henderson Human and Resource Development, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Kent H. Hoblet Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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 DVM, MS

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Abstract

Objective—To identify herd characteristics and management practices associated with bulk-tank somatic cell counts (BTSCC) in dairy herds in Ohio enrolled in official Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) programs.

Sample Population—186 dairies in Ohio.

Procedure—All herds in official DHIA programs in 9 counties were asked to participate. Extensive information regarding herd characteristics and management practices was obtained, using a standardized questionnaire. Bulk-tank milk samples were requested from all participating herds for bacterial culture. Official DHIA test-day records for January 1997 were obtained from all herds enrolled in official DHIA programs in the 9 counties. Potential associations were identified, using multivariable ANOVA.

Results—Participation was 186 of 479 (39%) herds. Streptococcus agalactiae and Mycoplasma spp were not isolated from bulk-tank milk samples. Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from 64 of 172 (37%) of the herds. The BTSCC were inversely associated with peak daily milk production, postmilking teat disinfection, percentage of eligible cows in the herd detected in estrus, and directly related to the extent to which BTSCC was perceived as a herd problem during the preceding 2 years. Type of housing for nonlactating cows and product used for treatment of nonlactating cows also were significantly associated with BTSCC.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Consideration of herd characteristics and implementation of management practices associated with BTSCC could result in increased milk yield and production of milk with lower BTSCC. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1092–1098)

Abstract

Objective—To identify herd characteristics and management practices associated with bulk-tank somatic cell counts (BTSCC) in dairy herds in Ohio enrolled in official Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) programs.

Sample Population—186 dairies in Ohio.

Procedure—All herds in official DHIA programs in 9 counties were asked to participate. Extensive information regarding herd characteristics and management practices was obtained, using a standardized questionnaire. Bulk-tank milk samples were requested from all participating herds for bacterial culture. Official DHIA test-day records for January 1997 were obtained from all herds enrolled in official DHIA programs in the 9 counties. Potential associations were identified, using multivariable ANOVA.

Results—Participation was 186 of 479 (39%) herds. Streptococcus agalactiae and Mycoplasma spp were not isolated from bulk-tank milk samples. Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from 64 of 172 (37%) of the herds. The BTSCC were inversely associated with peak daily milk production, postmilking teat disinfection, percentage of eligible cows in the herd detected in estrus, and directly related to the extent to which BTSCC was perceived as a herd problem during the preceding 2 years. Type of housing for nonlactating cows and product used for treatment of nonlactating cows also were significantly associated with BTSCC.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Consideration of herd characteristics and implementation of management practices associated with BTSCC could result in increased milk yield and production of milk with lower BTSCC. (Am J Vet Res 2000;61:1092–1098)

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