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Research article2013Peer reviewedOpen access

Mastitis control in Swedish dairy herds

Nielsen C, Emanuelson U


The aim of this study was to investigate which preventive measures targeting mastitis are implemented in Swedish dairy herds with different housing and milking systems. Data were collected through a self-administered postal questionnaire sent to 898 dairy farmers, stratified by housing and milking system, in May 2011. The questionnaire contained general questions about the herd and the person responsible for the udder health of the cows, and specific questions about perceived udder health and the implementation of preventive measures. The response rate was 48%. The median herd size of participating herds was 80 cows, and the median herd average milk yield per cow was 9,586 kg of milk. External validity was assessed by comparing participating herds with nonresponders in respect to key performance indicators in the Swedish official milk recording system; no significant differences were found. When herds with combined systems had been removed, 400 herds with tiestalls and pipeline milking, freestalls and parlor milking, and freestalls with an automatic milking system remained. Differences between herd types were analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis test and Fisher's exact test. The results showed that herd types differed in their rates of implementation of different preventive measures. Freestall herds with milking parlors implemented more preventive measures related to milking hygiene and milking routines than did tiestall herds. A milking order based on the udder health status of the cows was frequently implemented in tiestall herds, but not in most herds with an automatic milking system or most freestall herds with milking parlors. Irrespective of herd type, the proportion of herds in which cows were kept standing for at least 30 min after milking was low. A substantial proportion of herds ignored the udder health status of lactating cows when grouping them, and few herds grouped dry cows according to udder health status, although this occurred more frequently in tiestall herds. A large proportion of herds, especially those with tiestalls, did not allow cows and heifers to calve in single pens that were cleaned between animal occupations. These findings can be used to tailor advice on mastitis specifically to different herd types and thus improve the efficiency of mastitis control.


dairy herd; mastitis control; preventive measure

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2013, Volume: 96, number: 11, pages: 6883-6893

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      Other Veterinary Science

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