The objective of this study was to determine on-farm risk factors for bacteriological quality of bulk tank milk. Bulk tank raw milk quality was evaluated on all Prince Edward Island dairy herds (n = 235) over a 2-yr period (March 2005 to March 2007). Biweekly total bacterial, preliminary incubation, laboratory pasteurization, and coliform counts were conducted using a Petrifilm culture system. For the assessment of risk factors, a casecontrol study was conducted from January 2006 to May 2007. Case and control herds were defined based on the last 6 analyses of bulk tank bacterial counts before on-farm evaluation. Cases were herds that had multiple elevated counts for any of the parameters measured. A total of 69 herds (39 cases and 30 control herds) were evaluated. Data collection included 1) observation and questionnaire on basic hygiene and farm management practices; 2) complete wash analysis of the milking equipment, monitoring the presence of bacterial films on equipment and evaluation of cooling system function; and 3) environmental and cow hygiene scoring. Data were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. The results of the final model indicated that high alkalinity in the wash water and poor teat-end cleanliness were associated with high bacterial counts in bulk tank milk (odds ratios = 12 and 5.3, respectively). It was also observed that high water temperature of detergent wash and the use of a water softener were associated with low bacterial counts in bulk tank milk (odds ratios = 0.87 and 0.11, respectively). A significant association between udder hair clipping and teat-end cleanliness was also observed. In conclusion, this study highlights the importance of udder hygiene and milking system washing factors on hygienic quality of bulk tank milk.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology