The most recent results of research funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program investigating an emerging cause of mastitis in regional dairy herds will be presented at the 2017 National Mastitis Council Annual Meeting.
Early results of research funded by the farmer-driven research program alerted the Northern New York dairy industry to the Lactococcus species as an emerging cause for mastitis infections that can remove dairy cows from the milking line, sometimes permanently.
Ongoing research prioritized by farmers in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties for attention is investigating ways to help dairy owners more effectively identify mastitis-causing bacteria and target treatment based on more precise identification of the specific pathogen causing the mastitis.
There can be a significant difference in the risk of a cow permanently leaving a milking herd based on the genus of the mastitis-causing organism.
Prior to the start of this Northern New York Agricultural Development Program project, the Lactococcus bacterium was not previously targeted for specific identification in milk sample testing in the region or at most major mastitis diagnostic labs using microbiological procedures.
“Our first-year results, in 2014, with dairy herds in Northern New York strongly indicated some lesser-known mastitis-causing species, specifically Lactococcus, were potentially having a larger impact on some dairy farms than previously thought, resulting in chronically-infected cows that did not respond as well to intramammary therapy,” says project leader Dr. Jessica Scillieri Smith, a veterinarian with the Cornell University Quality Milk Production Services (QMPS) laboratory at Canton, NY.
Second-year data evaluating the distribution of clinical and subclinical mastitis infections across 229 cows in the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program project included the response to treatment targeted at mastitis caused by pathogens in the Lactococci and Streptococci genus, the impact on future mastitis events, risk of leaving the herd, and impact on milk production.
Scillieri Smith has presented the results of this Northern New York Agricultural Development Program-funded research by invitation at National Mastitis Council meetings and veterinary and dairy producer meetings in several states, including the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Annual Meeting in Charlotte, NC, in September 2016, and the upcoming National Mastitis Council Annual Meeting in St. Petersburg, FL, in January 2017.
The results of Scillieri Smith’s 2016 investigation into the presence of Lactococcus on teat skin, in bulk tanks, and in bedding that may transfer the infection to the cow will be available in early 2017 on the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at HERE.
The testing of bedding and bulk tank milk samples is being conducted in collaboration with a QMPS project funded by the New York Farm Viability Institute and overseen by Dr. Paula Ospina with the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provides small grants for on-farm research and technical assistance projects in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.