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Research article2014Peer reviewed

The effect of pasture turnout on milk somatic cell count, polymorphonuclear leukocytes and milk composition in cows housed in tie stalls

Wredle, Ewa; Östensson, Karin; Svennersten Sjaunja, Kerstin


This study investigated milk somatic cell count (SCC), polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) and milk composition in dairy cows, which were kept in tie stalls, during the first days after pasture turnout. Thirty-five cows of the Swedish Red Breed, free of clinical signs of mastitis and with a geometric mean of SCC 67 x 10(3) cells/mL, were turned out to pasture after the morning milking on day 0 and then monitored for the next five days on pasture. Samples of cow composite milk were taken at every milking and analysed for SCC, PMN percentage of the total SCC and milk composition. There was a marked increase in both PMN proportion and SCC with the highest SCC value during the study recorded at the evening milking on day 0. The highest value in morning milk was observed on day 1. Milk SCC values in evening and morning milk declined after day 0 and day 1, respectively, but remained on a higher level compared with before turnout to pasture. Milk composition was only slightly altered. Since the changes in SCC and milk composition were of low magnitude, although statistically significant, these effects of pasture turnout can be considered as of minor importance for the milk quality.


Dairy cows; SCC; PMN

Published in

Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A - Animal Science
2014, Volume: 64, number: 4, pages: 226-232 Publisher: TAYLOR & FRANCIS AS