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Effect of production system, alternative treatments and calf rearing system on udder health in organic dairy cows

Wagenaar, J.-P.; Klocke, P.; Butler, G.; Smolders, G.; Nielsen, J.H.; Canever, A. and Leifert, C. (2011) Effect of production system, alternative treatments and calf rearing system on udder health in organic dairy cows. NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 58 (3-4), pp. 157-162.

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Summary

In the last decade the main goals of organic dairying have been to attain acceptable levels of milk production, increase opportunities for animals to perform species own behaviour, resulting in improved animal welfare and animal health, and minimize the use of therapeutic interventions, including the reduction of the (preventive) use of antibiotics. Maintaining animal health without the use of therapeutic interventions is a major challenge for organic dairy farmers. In particular, udder health remains a major problem in both conventional and organic farming. In the QualityLowInputFood (QLIF) project udder health status and management were assessed in different production systems and European regions. These studies suggest that good udder health can be maintained in organic or low-input farming management systems. Novel strategies to control mastitis were evaluated and the potential of using internal teat sealers for the control of environment-associated pathogens was shown. Also oral application of a herd profile based single homeopathic remedy combined with homeopathic silica had a significant effect on cows with a relative low somatic cell count before drying-off. Suckling systems in calf rearing, as an integrated management approach, did not result in better udder health. None of the studies presented identified new variables affecting udder health. QLIF studies also demonstrated the importance of comparing udder health parameters in contrasting organic, low input and conventional production systems, since clear differences in antibiotic use against mastitis could be identified not only between organic and conventional systems, but also among dairy systems used in different EU-countries. Although alternative treatments used in organic systems could not be shown to be fully effective, results suggest that the use of individual or combined alternative strategies to improve udder health on organic or low-input farms warrants further investigation. Based on the results obtained it is recommended that future research should focus on identifying the reasons for variability in udder health between organic farms that use different management protocols to identify ‘best current practice’ when carrying out this research.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Organic dairy production, Udder health, Alternative treatments, Management strategies, Extension, Tiergesundheit, Klinische Forschung, Livestock, QLIF, FiBL 35001
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal Health
Netherlands > Louis Bolk Institute
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
European Union > QualityLowInputFood > Subproject 4: Livestock production systems
Italy > Univ. Bologna
Netherlands > Wageningen University and Research Centre WUR > Animal Sciences Group ASG
UK > Univ. Newcastle
ISSN:1573-5214
Related Links:http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1573521411000388, http://www.fibl.org/en/switzerland/research/animal-health.html
Deposited By: Klocke, Dr. Peter
ID Code:20475
Deposited On:08 Feb 2012 13:32
Last Modified:04 Jul 2014 10:06
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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