|Title||Farm-level risk factors for bovine mastitis in Dutch automatic milking dairy herds|
|Author(s)||Deng, Z.; Koop, G.; Lam, T.J.G.M.; Lans, I.A. van der; Vernooij, J.C.M.; Hogeveen, H.|
|Source||Journal of Dairy Science 102 (2019)5. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 4522 - 4535.|
Marketing and Consumer Behaviour
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||automatic milking system - mastitis - nonlinear principal component analysis - principal component regression - risk factor|
Automatic milking systems (AMS) are installed on a growing number of dairy farms worldwide. Management to support good udder health might be different on farms with an AMS compared with farms milking with a conventional milking system, as risk factors for mastitis on farms using an AMS may differ. The aim of this study was to identify farm level factors associated with mastitis on Dutch dairy farms using an AMS. In 2008, risk factor data were collected using a questionnaire combined with on-farm recordings of cow, stall, and AMS hygiene on 135 farms. These risk factor data were linked to 4 udder-health-associated dependent variables: average herd somatic cell count (HeSCCav), variance of the average herd somatic cell count (SCC) on test days (HeSCCvar), the average proportion of new high SCC cases (NHiSCC), and the farmer-reported annual incidence rate of clinical mastitis (IRCM). We employed regression models using multiple imputation to deal with missing values. Due to the high dimensionality of the risk factor data, we also performed nonlinear principal component analysis (NLPCA) and regressed the dependent variables on the principal components (PC). Good hygiene of cows and of AMS were found to be related to a lower HeSCCav and less NHiSCC. Effective postmilking teat disinfection was associated with a lower NHiSCC. A higher bulk tank milk SCC threshold for farmers' action was related to more NHiSCC. Larger farm size was related to lower HeSCCvar but higher NHiSCC. Negative attitude of farmers to animal health, higher frequency of checking AMS, and more time spent on viewing computer data were all positively related to higher IRCM. An NLPCA with 3 PC explained 16.3% of the variance in the risk factor variables. Only the first 2 PC were associated with mastitis. The first PC reflected older and larger farms with poor cow hygiene and AMS hygiene, and was related to higher HeSCCav and NHiSCC, whereas the second PC reflected newly built smaller farms with poor cow hygiene and low milk production, and was associated with higher HeSCCvar and NHiSCC, but lower IRCM. Our study suggests that many of the risk factors on conventional milking system farms are applicable to AMS farms, specifically concerning hygiene of the cows and the milking machine, but on large AMS farms, udder health may need more attention than on smaller AMS farms. Multiple imputation is instrumental to deal with missing values and NLPCA is a useful technique to process high dimensional data in our study.