Three regional meetings designed to help dairy farmers combat mastitis have been slated for early December in different locations across the state.
Texas Cooperative Extension and the Pfizer Animal Health are sponsoring the events.
Mastitis, a catch-all term that refers to an inflamation of a cow's udder, is one of the costliest diseases found on dairies.
"Recently, researchers estimated that mastitis costs dairy producers over $2 billion annually in lost revenues," said Dr. Ellen Jordan, Extension dairy specialist. "These losses are from reduced milk production, discarded milk, antibiotic therapy, early culling, labor to treat and segregate cows, and veterinary costs."
In the 1950s and 1960s, mastitis devastated some dairy herds. Antibiotics, improved milking and management techniques greatly helped reduce the problem.
But the bacteriological world is dynamic. As one strain is pushed back, another takes its place, Jordan said.
"Historically, Streptococcus agalactiae was the major cause of mastitis. However, with implementation of best management practices ... this type of mastitis has been reduced,"she said. "Now dairy cows are challenged with mastitis-causing organisms such as environmental streptococcus, E. coli and mycoplasma. The enemy has changed, so new methods of control need to be added."
To inform dairy operators across Texas of these new methods, the "Mastitis Round-Up" will be presented at three locations: Stephenville, Sulphur Springs and Muleshoe.
Program topics at each "Mastitis Round-Up" will include:
– "Why Worry About Mastitis?" by Jordan;
– "Using Antibiotics to Treat Mastitis: Rules of the Game," by Dr. Ronald J. Erskine, professor, department of large animal clinical sciences, Michigan State University;
– "Measuring and Monitoring for Milk Quality and Mastitis Control," by Dr. Michael Tomaszewski, Extension;
– "Environmental Streptococcal Mastitis: Facts, Fables, and Fallacies," by Dr. Joe Hogan, professor, department of animal science, Ohio State University; and
– "Vaccines for Mastitis Control" by Dr. Jim Cullor, University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Registration is free. The meetings will start at 9:30 a.m. and conclude by 3:30 p.m. A complimentary lunch will be provided by local supporters.
Dates and locations of the Round-Ups are:
– Dec. 7 at the Civic Center in Sulphur Springs;
– Dec. 8 at the Texas A&M University System Research and Extension Center in Stephenville; and – Dec. 9 at the Bailey County Coliseum, 2206 West American Blvd., Muleshoe.
For more information, call Jordan at (972) 952-9255.