A mail survey to 200 dairy company suppliers in July 1996 received a 46% response. Certain practices (e.g. SAMM (Seasonal Approach to Managing Mastitis) plan) reported by seasonal supply farmers were compared with their company’s milk quality records for the 1995/96 year. An indicator of udder health was Bulk Milk Somatic Cell Count (BSCC). Mean BSCC (1995/96 lactation) for survey respondents was 217,000 cells/mL. 35% achieved a seasonal average BSCC<150,000 cells/mL; 3% had BSCC>400,000 cells/mL. Milksolids per hectare was significantly (p<0.01) and negatively correlated with BSCC. "Low BSCC" suppliers (<120,000 cells/mL) reported using similar dairy husbandry and milking procedures to the 65% of suppliers with BSCC above 150,000 cells/mL. 45 % with BSCC<250,000 cells/mL consciously used the SAMM plan compared to 22% among those with BSCC>250,000 (p<0.05). Farm dairy hygiene, detection and treatment of mastitis infection (lactating or dry cow therapy), drying-off and culling of selected cows remain important practices for maintaining milk quality.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 58, , 56-60, 1998
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