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Association between environmental pathogens in different bedding types and mastitis risk

Grant Program: OAR
Agricultural Sector: Dairy
Region: Statewide
Project Duration: 6/1/2015 - 7/31/2017
Amount Awarded: $99,879.00
Lead Organization: Cornell University
Project Leader: Paula Ospina
Co-Leaders: Daryl Nydam, Bradley Rauch
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Proposal Abstract

The objectives of this project are to establish a standardized operating procedure (SOP) for sampling bedding; evaluate the distribution of bedding types, bedding management, and mastitis risk; and evaluate the association between different intervention strategies, mastitis risk, and milk quality through bulk tank data.      

Currently, there is no SOP for collecting bedding samples; for example, there is no consensus about how many stalls to sample.  The consequence is that bacteria counts can differ by several orders of magnitude, and may misrepresent the status of the pen as a whole.  A producer who is trying to improve milk quality through bedding management may not get comparable results when he/she submits samples because there is no standard approach to sampling.  This lack of consistency makes it difficult to evaluate progress, make changes in management, or even interpret the results.  Therefore the objective of phase I is to establish this SOP so that results can be compared within and between farms.   

The objective of phase II is to use the SOP to evaluate the distribution of bedding types, bacteria counts within them, bedding management practices, mastitis risk, and bulk tank data across NYS (this data is collected from another NYFVI funded project).  Although previous research has evaluated similar objectives, these studies have not evaluated an SOP; therefore, the generalizability of these results is limited.  One hundred farms from different regions in New York will be visited in order to establish this distribution and confirm that the SOP can produce reliable results.  

Final Report Summary Statement

The objective of this project was to evaluate the association between bedding type and mastitis risk.  The first step in this project was to establish a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for sampling bedding because this was highly variable. We used this data set to establish the common bacterial distribution of different bedding types.  We also evaluated bedding type and teat end bacteria.  Unfortunately, we did not find an association between these two factors; however, because we evaluated several swabbing techniques, this part of the project also helped us further understand the subjective nature of checking teat ends. Lastly, we looked to tie bedding type to milk quality and mastitis risk.  Although we did not find a direct association between bedding type and mastitis risk in the cross-sectional sampling that was done, we did work closely with two farms, changed bedding type, and made significant improvement.  Research on the association between bedding and mastitis is on-going, but this project helped us understand that we need to measure other management factors.

Project Impact Data

Producers Participating: 75

Producers Advising: 3

Research/Extension Employed: 2

Increase in Gross Farm Revenue: $200,000.00

Gross Farm Savings: $30,000.00

Capital Investment: $390,000.00

Potential Industry Impact: $1,000,000.00

Articles/Publications: 4

Presentations: 13

Total Producers Engaged: 300

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