Effect of dairy cow behaviour and barn hygiene on cow hygiene and the risk of elevated somatic cell counts

This study determined how the standing and lying behaviour of cows and barn hygiene affect cow hygiene and the risk of elevated somatic cell counts in dairy cows milked with an automatic milking system. The cows were milked on average 2.6 times per day and produced on average 35.3 kg of milk per day. The cow somatic cell count was 232,000 cells per ml on average. Cows spent 11.4 hours per day lying down, and spent 87.1 minutes standing before being milked and 77.1 minutes standing after being milked. Cow hygiene was associated with both cow behaviour and barn hygiene. Less frequent scraping of the barn alleys resulted in cows being less clean. More time spent lying down by the cows was associated with increased dirtiness of the flanks and upper legs and udder. However, for the risk of somatic cell count increases, there were no associations with barn hygiene or cow behavioural patterns.

Source: DeVries et al. – National Mastitis Council Annual Meeting Proceedings (2012) pp. 159-160. Complete abstract:www.m2-magazine.org > 013-28.02.2012