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Farm Animal Practice
Milking procedures recommended for the control of bovine mastitis
  1. Trevor Jones

    Trevor Jones qualified from Liverpool in 1962 and spent 10 years in practice. He was formerly a MAFF VlIO at Sutton Bonington, with responsibility for bovine mastitis work. He is a past secretary of the Central Mastitis Review Group and a past officer of the BCVA. He was awarded fellowship of the RCVS in 1991 for contributions to knowledge in the field of bovine mastitis. Since his retirement in 1999 he has continued to undertake some consultancy work.

  2. Ian Ohnstad

    Ian Ohnstad gained a degree in agriculture from London University in 1985 and, after three years in dairy herd management, joined ADAS as a dairy husbandry consultant. He was appointed as an ADAS National Specialist in 1997 and provides consultancy throughout the UK and overseas.


THE two basic principles of mastitis control are, first, elimination of existing infections and, secondly, prevention of new infections. Up until the end of the 1960s, about 90 per cent of mastitis cases in the national herd were caused by Streptococcus agalactiae and Staphylococcus aureus infections, which were spread from cow to cow at milking time. Many of the rules applying to the milking procedure in play today were made in the disease context of that time and could be universally recommended to ameliorate the national herd problem without the need for mastitis bacteriology. Largely due to the application nationally of the 'five-point plan' for mastitis control, S agalactiae, in particular, and S aureus are now relatively much less important than bacteria originating from the environment (predominantly Streptococcus uberis and Escherichia coli). No longer can a universal mastitis control policy be applied - individual herd situations must first be understood before a control strategy can be formulated. Correct milking procedure should prevent new infections being contracted at milking time, but will not eliminate established infections. This article discusses the most important aspects of the milking procedure with regard to mastitis control. A wider discussion of dairy cow husbandry is beyond the scope of the article but, in summary, every effort should be made to ensure that cows enter the milking parlour with clean, undamaged teats.

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