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Characteristics and management practices associated with milk production in dairy herds in Ohio enrolled in official Dairy Herd Improvement Association programs

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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1092.
  • | 2 Present address is the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1092.
  • | 4 Department of Animal Sciences, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1092
  • | 5 Department of Human and Community Resource Development, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1092.
  • | 6 Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1092.

Abstract

Objective—To determine herd characteristics and management practices associated with milk production in dairy herds enrolled in official Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) programs in Ohio. Sample Population—186 dairy farms in Ohio.

Procedure—All herds in official DHIA programs in 9 counties were invited to participate. Information regarding herd characteristics and management practices was obtained, using a standardized questionnaire. Bulk-tank milk samples were obtained for bacteriologic culture. Official DHIA test-day records were obtained, and associations were identified, using multivariable ANOVA procedures.

Results—Of 479 eligible producers, 186 (39%) participated, and consecutive bulk-tank milk samples were available for culture from 172 (36%). Streptococcus agalactiae and Mycoplasma spp were not recovered from bulk-tank milk samples, but Staphylococcus aureuswas recovered from 64 (37%) herds. Mean (± SD) number of lactating cows in participating herds was 97 ± 66, with 123 (66%) herds milking < 100 cows. The RHA was significantly associated with number of cows in milk, estimated percentage of herd detected in estrus, reported annual percentage of heifer calves born alive that died before 8 weeks old, percentage days in milk, use of bovine somatotropin during the preceding 2 years, and sex of the person completing the questionnaire.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In this study, the strongest indicator of milk production was number of cows in milk. However, merely adding cows to a herd should not be considered to guarantee increased milk production, because other management traits could be confounded with increased number of cows in a herd. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1262–1266)

Abstract

Objective—To determine herd characteristics and management practices associated with milk production in dairy herds enrolled in official Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) programs in Ohio. Sample Population—186 dairy farms in Ohio.

Procedure—All herds in official DHIA programs in 9 counties were invited to participate. Information regarding herd characteristics and management practices was obtained, using a standardized questionnaire. Bulk-tank milk samples were obtained for bacteriologic culture. Official DHIA test-day records were obtained, and associations were identified, using multivariable ANOVA procedures.

Results—Of 479 eligible producers, 186 (39%) participated, and consecutive bulk-tank milk samples were available for culture from 172 (36%). Streptococcus agalactiae and Mycoplasma spp were not recovered from bulk-tank milk samples, but Staphylococcus aureuswas recovered from 64 (37%) herds. Mean (± SD) number of lactating cows in participating herds was 97 ± 66, with 123 (66%) herds milking < 100 cows. The RHA was significantly associated with number of cows in milk, estimated percentage of herd detected in estrus, reported annual percentage of heifer calves born alive that died before 8 weeks old, percentage days in milk, use of bovine somatotropin during the preceding 2 years, and sex of the person completing the questionnaire.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In this study, the strongest indicator of milk production was number of cows in milk. However, merely adding cows to a herd should not be considered to guarantee increased milk production, because other management traits could be confounded with increased number of cows in a herd. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1262–1266)