Mastitis Control and Dairy Food Safety

The U.S. dairy industry contributes more than 65 billion dollars per year to the national economy and provides jobs for over one million Americans. However, the industry is currently suffering losses related to bovine mastitis, a potentially fatal infectious disease that causes swelling, heat, hardness, and pain of the udder, leading to abnormalities in milk or complete cessation of milk production. Though antibiotic treatments are effective in some cases, milk from a treated cow is not marketable until drug residues have left the cow’s system, and antibiotic usage is prohibited on organic dairy farms. Currently available vaccines have only limited effectiveness.

Mastitis affects every dairy farm in the U.S., and approximately one third of dairy cows experience some form of mastitis during their annual lactation cycle. Estimated costs to the dairy industry due to reduced milk production, discarded milk, increased veterinary involvement, and cow morbidity exceed two billion dollars per year.

Since 1977, Extension professionals and Researchers from 23 State Agricultural Experiment Stations, along with scientists from Canada, Scotland, and Belgium have worked together to address mastitis control. The project has included a range of research including enhancing dairy cows’ immune systems against the disease, developing new vaccines, and identifying a gene associated with mastitis susceptibility. Researchers have developed tools, treatments, and on-farm practices that reduce milk loss, enhance the quality of dairy products, and improve animal welfare.

Read more here!

Connect with Us