Significance of heat abatement programs and bulk tank milk quality parameters on southeastern United States dairy farms
Item TypeGraduate Thesis
AdvisorRude, Brian J.
CommitteeStone, Amanda E.
Ward, Stephanie H.
Embargo TypeVisible to MSU only for 2 years
Embargo Lift Date2022-12-15
As part of the Southeast Quality Milk Initiative, this investigation analyzes relationships between several heat abatement management, housing and feeding practices that may influence cow thermal comfort with milk quality. Farms producing high quality milk have low bulk tank somatic cell (BTSCC) and bacteria or standard plate counts (BTSPC). Dairy farms in Kentucky (n = 96), Mississippi (n = 7), Tennessee (n = 84) and Virginia (n = 96) were surveyed. Management of heat abatement programs were associated with smaller BTSCC and BTSPC. Farms that used pasture as their primary housing system had greater BTSCS and BTSPC than farms that confined cows to barns year-round. The practice of making fresh feed available to cows upon returning from the milking parlor was also associated with better milk quality. Management of heat abatement programs, housing and feeding practices show promise as a means to improve milk quality on Southeastern dairy farms.