In Ireland, milk is produced in a way many consumers would like. The mild climate creates the opportunity for cows to be on pasture throughout the year.
On May 9th and 10th 2019, 20 udder health experts from 13 different EU countries met in Dublin, Ireland. The goal of the meeting was to learn about the Irish milk production system, to exchange knowledge and practices and to finalize the first collaborative milk quality research.

On the research farm of the University College of Dublin the experts got a picture of the Irish milk production system. Seasonal calving can be a challenge for animal health in the Irish pasture based system because everything, from drying off to calving happens at the same time. This potentially increases infection pressure and thus requires excellent management. Although genetics and udder health has greatly improved in the last years thanks to good collaboration between the Irish institutes, Staphylococcus aureus remains a challenge and one of the most frequently isolated pathogens in milk of infected udders.

The experts discussed the final results of a 2 year collaborative research project. Gerrit Koop from Utrecht University coordinated the collection of 300 Staphylococcus aureus samples from many EU countries and sequenced their genome. PhD student Jurriaan Hoekstra, also from Utrecht, presented the genomic- and related pathogenic diversity of this mastitis pathogen throughout the EU.

The European Mastitis Panel meeting is organized yearly by MSD Animal Health, each year in a different EU country.

Text: Jantijn Swinkels – Marion Weeeda