On-farm milk culturing reduces unnecessary treatment

There has been an increase in interest in milk farming on farms. This can be an effective choice for a farm that wants to make treatment decisions faster, save money and determine which pathogens cause mastitis are responsible – especially when easy local choices are not available.

Raising milk on farms is not for every milk operation. To be useful, a farm must have enough cows with mastitis problems in their herd to make training and equipment economically feasible.

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Clean areas separate from animal areas, dedicated staff members, trained to conduct culture and time are also required for successful cultural programs. Finally, veterinarians must be involved regularly to review the results and culture techniques.

There are four main reasons for dairy producers to implement dairy farming systems:

Better protocols: Cultivation in the field at the most basic level allows producers to determine whether the pathogen causing the infection is gram-positive or gram-negative, or present at all. Thirty percent or more of cows with clinical mastitis have healed by themselves when the symptoms of mastitis are detected.

The results of culture in the field can encourage the decision to use intramammary antibiotics, choose certain drugs that have greater effectiveness against specific pathogens or withhold antibiotic treatment and dispose of saber milk until the cows can naturally eliminate infections.

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Timeliness: Cultivation in the field can give producers initial results within 24 hours. Samples collected and sent to an off-site laboratory may require five to seven days for diagnosis. Faster results allow producers to make faster and more informed maintenance decisions and get milk back to the tank faster.

Reduction of antibiotic use: When treatment protocols are changed to focus on cases of gram-positive mastitis, the use of antibiotics can be greatly reduced, enabling farmers to combat problems more selectively and effectively.

Cost effectiveness: With targeted treatment, producers will see a better response to the treatment of infections caused by gram-positive pathogens such as staphylococci and some environmental inflammation. A recent study looked at the cost effectiveness of using cultivation on land to identify and treat only gram-positive infections.