Bulk tank milk mastitis control programme


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Mastitis is an inflammation of the udder generally caused by a bacterial invasion through the teat canal. The quantitative and qualitative properties of mastitis make it the most costly disease on a dairy farm (on average 250 euro per cow per year). This directly affects milk production, the dairy farmer’s primary source of income. Mastitis is also an annoying disease which disrupts the milking routine and requires extra labour and expenditure. Despite considerable global preventative efforts over the years, mastitis cannot be eradicated.

Why participate

  • Monitor udder health at herd level with an easy-to-use and practical instrument.
  • Surveillance and timely on-farm adjustments to prevent (sub)clinical, chronic and/or persistent mastitis cases.
  • Manage udder health based on relevant information about the herd status.
  • Gain insight into the herd’s udder health and decide on when and how to treat to prevent chronic and persistent cases. This increases milk quality, improves infection dynamics and saves money.

What sampling is involved?

  • Bulk tank milk samples taken 3 samples 2 times per year (monitoring) or 10 samples (screening) per year (depending on the mastitis situation), to determine the udder health status of the most important mastitis pathogens using bacteriological culturing and identification by state-of-the art mass spectroscopy (MALDI-TOF MS).
  • Quantification of mastitis pathogen groups: E. coli, Klebsiella, coliforms, Staph. aureus, Strep. agalactiae and the environmental streptococci (including Strep. uberis and Strep. dysgalactiae).
  • Ideally, samples are collected through the hauler or milk cooperative and sent to GD, thus eliminating the need for the producer to gather and send the samples to our laboratory.

How you get advised

  •  GD provides clear results with advice per group of pathogens. This provides you with practical herd management tools around milking technique, treatment decisions and/or herd health management in order to find the right balance between investment and health.
  • We provide insight into the udder health status and give practical herd-level advice thus enabling you to proactively change your on-farm udder health strategy and to control effectively.
  • We provide an overview of the combination of udder health pathogens, helping you to plan the right intervention strategy.

Our expert


Christian Scherpenzeel, PhD

Christian Scherpenzeel studied veterinary medicine at Ghent University and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University. After several years in dairy practice he went back to the veterinary school in Utrecht, where he was employed as lecturer / researcher at the Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University.

Since 2011 he works as a dairy specialist at GD. His research activities focus on udder health, antimicrobial resistance and social aspects of modern herd health management. He received his Ph.D. in Veterinary Medicine from Utrecht University and his thesis was focused on the effects of selective dry cow treatment in dairy cows for udder health, antimicrobial use, economics and social influences. Together with his team, carrying out the ‘Udder Health Approach’, the combination of scientific and practical expertise on udder health management triggers a lot of farm visits each year and resulted in major experience in dairy consultancy and veterinary communication skills.

Fields of expertise and publications


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