This study compared mastitis bacteriology and somatic cell counts (SCC) between an organic and a conventional dairy herd, each managed as a pastoral-based system, in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons. Single quarter foremilk samples taken from both herds at calving, 14 days post-calving, mid-lactation and dry-off were cultured for bacteriological analysis. Individualcow SCC were obtained from monthly herd tests. The percentage of cows infected with Staphylococcus aureusand Streptococcus uberiswas generally higher in the organic herd than the conventional herd. However, these differences were only significant for S. aureusat midlactation 2005/06, when 56% of the organic herd was infected compared to 23% of the conventional herd (P <0.05), and for Str. uberisat dry-off 2005/06, when 7% of the organic herd was infected but none of the conventional herd (P <0.001). The organic herd had a significantly higher mean lactation back transformed SCC than the conventional herd, in 2004/05 (96,921 vs. 75,608 cells/mL, P <0.05) and 2005/06 (103,968 vs. 63,096 cells/mL, P <0.0001). The 2004/05 season was the first time that a significant difference in mean SCC between the organic and conventional herds had been measured, since the organic and conventional dairy systems comparison trial was established in 2001.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 68, Brisbane, Australia, 8-11, 2008
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