NMC Commemorative Booklet

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Table of Contents Celebrating 50 years


People and events that have shaped the National Mastitis Council


NMC’s global impact


What milk quality means to the dairy industry


The importance of the Five-Point Plan in abating mastitis


A look back at milking machines


International exchange leads to success


Contagious vs. environmental mastitis


NMC President’s list


Moments in National Mastitis Council history


Somatic cell count regulations in the EU


Somatic cell count regulations in the US


NMC Scholar spotlights


Continuing NMC’s global reach in the future


Legends in mastitis research


If I only knew then what I know now


The future of milk quality


Celebrating 50 years


t is 50 years since the founding of the National Mastitis Council. Fortunately, a few stalwarts from the early membership are still around to regale us with memories of the originators and tales of the pioneering days. By all accounts, the gatherings in the first half of existence tended to be rumbustious, controversial and no prisoners were taken. Difficult matters of technology, standards and competing hypotheses were being dealt with resolutely. The dynamic thrust created our organization of today. Along the way came great guidance in creating our literature, programs and protocols, and the training for which we are recognized internationally. From, and I am sure they were, smoke-filled rooms in Chicago where the early meetings were held, thru the venerable halls of Washington, DC, now to Madison, Wisconsin, we have achieved a professionally managed, truly international society that is populated by virtually all the recognized experts worldwide, in mastitis, machine milking and milk quality. This commemorative book collects a little of the history, personal recollections and a potpourri of things ‘NMC’. I am grateful to all contributors, including: past presidents, distinguished members, staff and professional writers; Filament Marketing for producing the book; and our sponsors, for making it happen and ensuring it can be supplied free to all. Enjoy it now and occasionally in the future. It will help you understand why we exist, what we strive to achieve and will help you to recall fond memories of our fellowship developed from annual meetings, committee work, and the unique network we have created in our special industry.

J. Eric Hillerton

DairyNZ, Hamilton, New Zealand 2011 National Mastitis Council President

50 Years of Milk Quality


People and events that have shaped the National Mastitis Council


he National Mastitis Council (NMC) has a membership that spans the globe. With more than 1,400 members from 40 different countries, NMC is truly a global leader in mastitis control and milk quality.

Since the organization’s inception the dairy industry has changed significantly, but one thing that has stayed the same is NMC’s devotion to improving udder health, reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality. Somatic cell counts (SCC) in the United States, and nearly all countries with a developed dairy industry, have decreased significantly, which represents an improvement in the control of mastitis, and it is a reflection of NMC’s effectiveness in the industry. However, mastitis is still one of the most prevalent and costly diseases in the global dairy industry today, so there is still work to do to further control mastitis and improve milk quality. The dairy industry, with the help of NMC, has come a long way in understanding this disease. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was great disagreement in the industry on the causes, treatment and control of mastitis. Progress was limited, experts were telling conflicting stories, and dairy farmers were confused about how to control the disease. It was popular to blame most mastitis problems on the milking machine. This confusion, in part led to the formation of NMC. Here’s a look at the people, events and places that shaped the organization.

The beginning The NMC originated from the desire of the Executive Board of the International Association of Milk and Food Sanitarians (IAMFS), [later known as the International Association of Milk, Food, and Environmental Sanitarians, and now known as the International Association for Food Protection], to assemble the available information on bovine mastitis and to stimulate collective action for controlling the disease. The IAMFS Executive Board, through its Committee on Farm Methods, appointed a Mastitis Action Committee in early 1960 for the purpose of bringing about means for improved action on a national basis. The committee, chaired by K.G. Weckel, University of Wisconsin, was comprised of representatives of organizations concerned with milk production, dairy processing, equipment manufacture, and food sanitation. On October 29, 1960, the Mastitis Action Committee planned and sponsored a Mastitis Action Conference in Chicago, Illinois. With a turnout of 225 registrants, the conference recommended formation of a permanent National Committee on Mastitis Action. The initial meeting to organize a National Mastitis Action Committee was held on January 20, 1961 in Chicago, Illinois. R.W. Metzger, Dairymen’s League Cooperative was elected president. G.W. Willits, retired from Johnson and Johnson, was elected Executive Secretary


and M.G. Van Buskirk with the Illinois Dairy Products Association was elected Treasurer. The permanent name of the organization, National Mastitis Council, was agreed upon at a session on March 17, 1961. Three more meetings were held in 1961 to plan the financing and function of the Council. A constitution and bylaws were adopted, with the purpose of NMC being “to promote, aid or engage in educational activities and scientific research in the field of mastitis control, including the coordination and focusing of all forces of organized agriculture in the United States to combat, through every practical device, the mastitis threat to the nation’s health and food supply.”

NMC office and administration In 1963, the NMC office was established in Hinsdale, Illinois. Following the resignation of G.W. Willits as Executive Secretary in 1965, NMC accepted an offer by the Evaporated Milk Association of Chicago, Illinois, to administer the affairs of NMC. The office remained in Hinsdale, Illinois, and John Flake with the Evaporated Milk Association, assumed the administrative duties of the Executive Secretary. During September 1966, the NMC headquarters moved to Washington, DC. The move was dictated by the relocation of the Evaporated Milk Association office. John Flake, still with the Evaporated Milk Association, continued to administer affairs of the NMC. After John Flake stepped down in 1978, John Adams, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), Washington DC, was elected Secretary/Treasurer. The NMC office subsequently moved to the NMPF offices in April 1978, and NMC operations were administered through NMPF. In July 1982, NMPF (and NMC) relocated to Arlington, Virginia. In 1986, the Board of Directors approved creation of a full-time, salaried position to provide leadership and administrative coordination for the organization. Anne Saeman, NMC’s current Executive Director, was hired to fill this position. The NMC remained headquartered in the NMPF offices until December 1995 when NMC moved to Madison, Wisconsin. In early 2004, the NMC office moved to its current location in Verona, Wisconsin, sharing office space with National Dairy Herd Improvement Association.

Committee system One of most important features of NMC has been the committee system. Over the years, committees have provided important guidance to the Council and assisted in the implementation of projects. Committee work, organized and carried out by NMC members, has been vital to the continued effectiveness and success of the organization. The NMC Research Committee developed from one of the five task

National Mastitis Council

forces that presented reports at the first Mastitis Action Conference in 1960. Appointed in May 1961, the first Research Committee chairman was J.R. Hay (American Veterinary Medical Association). Other committee members were L.W. Slanetz (University of New Hampshire), J.M. Murphy (University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine), G.R. Spencer (Washington State University), and D. Jacobson (American Dairy Association). R.W. Brown and C.A. Manthei (both with National Animal Disease Laboratory) were consultants to the committee. During its first year, the committee conducted a survey of research projects with a view to coordination of research efforts.

The Education Committee considered the primary need in the control of mastitis to be a “well-documented compilation containing the basic non-controversial information that is now known about mastitis.” Another long-standing committee, education, was first chaired by G.E. Parsons (Michigan State University). In a report during the first NMC annual meeting in 1962, the Education Committee considered the primary need in the control of mastitis to be a “well-documented compilation containing the basic non-controversial information that is now known about mastitis.” Other members on the first Education Committee were J.B. Herrick (Iowa State University), S.L. Kalison (Virginia Polytechnic Institute), S.B. Guss (Pennsylvania State University), L.H. Schultz (University of Wisconsin) and W.D. Knox (Hoard’s Dairyman). R.E. Burleson (US Department of Agriculture) was a consultant to the committee. By 1964 there were four committees: Research, Education, Membership/Finance, and, Programs and Procedures. The number of committees has varied over the years, depending on project needs and activities. Currently there are 12 committees.

Annual and regional meetings The NMC annual meetings have developed into an international forum for the exchange of information relating to mastitis control and milk quality. The first annual meeting of the NMC was held February 15, 1962 at the Pick Congress Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. One hundred people were in attendance. The program included discussions on screening tests for abnormal milk and sessions on planning for the future. Chicago hosted the NMC annual meeting for 10 of the first 11 years. However the venue that many NMC members remember as “home” for the NMC annual meeting was the Executive Inn, in Louisville, Kentucky. 1984 marked the end of an era when the annual meeting left Louisville and began rotating to different cities throughout the US. The NMC regional meeting has its roots in a half-day program that was held on August 15, 1966 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The program was part of an NMC Board of Directors meeting which took place the day before the start of the International Association of Milk, Food, and Environmental Sanitarians (IAMFES) annual meeting. The afternoon of the NMC board meeting featured two speakers and was open to all interested individuals. Following the next mid-year meeting in October

50 Years of Milk Quality

1967, the NMC board recommended that these interim meetings should be continued in future years. The meetings then became known as regional meetings. For many years the NMC regional meeting was held in conjunction with IAMFES annual meetings, the last being in 1989. Since that time, the meeting has moved around, most often in a region with a strong dairy industry. Canada has hosted the NMC regional meeting three times. In 1987, the NMC regional meeting was associated with the International Mastitis Symposium, held in conjunction with the 23rd World International Veterinary Congress in Montreal; in 1999 the NMC partnered with the Ontario Large Herd Operators to host a meeting in Waterloo, Ontario; and in August 2006 the NMC regional meeting was held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The first NMC meeting held outside of the US or Canada was in 1996, when NMC accepted an invitation to hold the regional meeting in Querétaro, Mexico. The goal was to further the organization’s global outreach. The format of the annual meeting programs has continued to evolve over the years. In 1983 the Technology Transfer Session (TTS) was added to the annual meeting program. The TTS has developed into a very robust part of the annual meeting and now supplements the main program by providing mastitis and milk quality information through the use of posters and one-on-one interaction. Since 2007, TTS participants have been provided the option to submit their poster presentation for consideration as an oral presentation during the Research and Development Summaries Session now held at the annual meeting. The goal was to provide additional opportunities for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research associates, and others to be involved in the oral presentations at the NMC meeting. Additional learning opportunities were added in 1990 when NMC offered limited-enrollment short courses for the first time. These courses, designed to facilitate in-depth coverage of subject material and encourage open discussion, continue to be a popular component of the meetings. Spanish translation was offered at the 1997 annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Additional language opportunities were added to the regional meeting in 2008 and 2010 when short courses were offered in Spanish. Featured symposia have become an integral part of the annual meeting program, which were added to the schedule following the success of the pre-conference symposium held at the NMC annual meeting in 1997. Occasionally, NMC documents have been generated from papers presented at the featured symposia, such as the NMC report “Human Health Risks Associated With High Somatic Cell Count Milk” (2005).

Significant projects and educational materials One of the first acts of the NMC was to develop uniform recommendations for promoting and implementing mastitis prevention and control programs. First outlined in 1962, several hundred copies of the NMC recommendations were distributed to states, local groups, and individuals, becoming the foundation for formation of state or local organizations and programs.


The next major project by NMC was away from using diagnostic procedures to initiated in 1962, when a committee select appropriate antimicrobial for therapy that included R.W. Brown, National of clinical mastitis. Instead, the emphasis Animal Disease Laboratory; H.G. Blobel, of the second edition was the appropriate University of Wisconsin; W.D. Pounden, use of microbiological procedures to Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station; differentiate pathogens causing mastitis, O.W. Schalm, University of California; L.W. whereby the most likely sources of these Slanetz, University of New Hampshire microbes can be identified and eliminated and G.R. Spencer, Washington State within a herd. The handbook has become University, accepted the task of putting an international reference for use by together what was known about mastitis. The first edition of Current Concepts of Bovine Mastitis researchers, veterinarians, and diagnostic A draft of the booklet, which would sold for $1.00 in 1963. laboratories. The handbook is currently eventually become known as “Current Concepts of Bovine Mastitis” undergoing its third revision. was presented at the 1963 annual meeting and eventually published later that year selling for $1.00 per copy. According to a promotional Issues related to milking management have been an important brochure announcing its availability, “this important book contains subject during NMC’s history. In 1964 the NMC first cooperated with documented discussion by six distinguished animal and veterinary the Milking Machine Manufacturers Council of the Farm Equipment scientists on the three major factors involved in mastitis: the cow, Institute to publish the booklet Modern Way to Efficient Milking. the microorganisms, and the environment.” Recognized as NMC’s flagship publication, Current Concepts of Bovine Mastitis is still in use The NMC Machine Milking Committee has provided leadership coordinating research and education efforts aimed at understanding today and is currently in its fifth revision. the milking machine’s role in mastitis and teat health. The committee’s In 1967 the Research Committee formed a subcommittee on screening first major document, “Procedures for Evaluating Vacuum Levels and tests. The subcommittee was charged with developing a collaborative Air Flow in Milking Systems” was published in 1996. The history of project to evaluate several screening tests for detection of abnormal this publication can be traced back to the early days of NMC. A video milk. The first result of the subcommittee’s work was the development on evaluating milking systems was also produced, explaining the and publication of an improved method for direct microscopic counting procedures in detail. The second edition of the procedures, published of somatic cells in milk. Work of the committee gained wide exposure in 2006, brought clarity and focus to the primary machine-related aspects of milking performance. The third edition incorporates changes and was published in seven scientific papers and two abstracts. in standards for milking machine performance and construction and In addition to evaluating screening tests, the Research Committee recent developments in machine technology. The Machine Milking was instrumental in developing standardized bacteriological tests for Committee also published Troubleshooting Cleaning Problems in diagnosing bovine mastitis. Although a number of bacteriological tests Milking Systems in 2004. had been developed over the years, there had been no attempt to adopt recommended or standard procedures. The resulting manual, The NMC Machine Milking Committee was instrumental in the “Microbiological Procedures for Diagnosis of Bovine Mastitis” was formation of the Teat Club International (TCI), whose primary focus published in 1969. The writing committee included R.W. Brown, was the health and condition of the teat. The TCI first presented a National Animal Disease Laboratory; G.E. Morse, University of series of publications at the 2nd International Symposium on Mastitis Pennsylvania; F.H.S. Newbould, Ontario Veterinary College; and L.W. and Milk Quality in 2001, advancing the science and practice of taking Slanetz, University of New Hampshire. The most recent 4th edition of care of teats. In 2002, the TCI released the Teat Condition Portfolio the manual, “Microbiological Procedures for the Diagnosis of Bovine CD-ROM as an aid to detect and diagnose various teat conditions that Udder Infection and Determination of Milk Quality”, continues to serve may be encountered on the farm. as a basic reference for workers in mastitis research and control. The NMC slide set Dollars and Sense of Mastitis Control had its During the mid-1980s, a subcommittee worked on an expanded premier showing at the NMC summer meeting in 1980, and consisted microbiological procedures manual, which presented several diagnostic of 586 slides broken into 14 chapters. The slide set was replaced in schemes of increasing sophistication. The 208-page Laboratory and 1992 by the NMC video, Mastitis Prevention and Control which was Field Handbook on Bovine Mastitis was published in 1987 and written distributed until 2004. by Frances Barnes-Pallesen (Cornell University), Paul Blackmer (DVM), Allan Britten (DVM), Robert Bushnell (University of California- In addition to numerous books, guidelines, factsheets and informational Davis), Douglas Van Damme (DVM), and Francis Welcome (Cornell brochures developed by the NMC since its inception in 1961, hundreds University). The second revision, published in 1999, was retitled the of papers have been presented at NMC annual and regional meetings Laboratory Handbook on Bovine Mastitis. The writing committee and published in the NMC proceedings. No other organization in the included Joe Hogan (Ohio State University), Ruben Gonzalez (Cornell world has generated more information related to mastitis control and University), Robert Harmon (University of Kentucky), Steve Nickerson the production of high quality milk. The NMC materials have been (LSU Hill Farm Research Station), J. Woodrow Pankey (University referenced worldwide and have contributed to the increased quality of of Vermont), and K. Larry Smith (Ohio State University). Many of the global milk supply. the changes in the revised edition were intended to shift the focus


National Mastitis Council

Somatic cell count regulations Issues related to the regulatory aspects of abnormal milk and somatic cell count standards have been addressed by NMC since its inception. In the early 1960s, NMC worked closely with the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) “Abnormal Milk Committee” which developed the Abnormal Milk Program. This program was incorporated in the Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance and set the first US regulatory limit at 1,500,000 cells/ml. NMC continued to monitor regulatory activities and efforts to change the SCC standard. Although the NMC Board of Directors did not take official action supporting a decrease in the SCC standard during the 1970s and 1980s, NMC began to take a more proactive role in the 1990s. NMC submitted its first proposal to NCIMS in 1991, recommending a reduction in the SCC regulatory limit in the US to 500,000 cells/ml. An amended version of the proposal was adopted setting the SCC limit at 750,000 cells/ml effective in 1993.

between researchers and strengthened ties with the international scientific community. The first large international gathering at an NMC event occurred in 1978, when the NMC annual meeting program featured the International Symposium on Machine Milking. Over 500 people from 15 countries attended the symposium, which summed up the current state of knowledge on machine milking. Forty-six papers presented by speakers from 11 different countries were published in the 477 page proceedings.

Between 1999 and 2011, NMC submitted five separate proposals to NCIMS recommending that the US adopt a SCC limit of 400,000 cells/ml, matching the SCC limit in the European Union. Although the NCIMS has not approved a change in the SCC limit, progress has been made. In 2011, a proposal to lower the SCC standard to 400,000 cells/ml failed by only one vote. For additional information see related article A brief history of SCC regulations in the US (page 31).

International communications and relations The value of communicating and working with individuals from outside the US was recognized during the early years of NMC. The first international speaker at an NMC annual meeting was K.A. McEwen, Ontario Department of Agriculture and Food, in 1967. The following year, Carl Olof Claesson, Agricultural College of Sweden, became the first person from outside North America to be featured on the annual meeting program. The tradition of inviting a distinguished international mastitis researcher as a featured speaker at the annual meeting lasted for many years, and included individuals such as W. Whittlestone (New Zealand); F. Dodd (England); Murray Woolford (New Zealand); N.O. Klastrup (Denmark); J. O’Shea (Ireland); J. Bramley (England); G. Mein (Australia); and S. Soback (Israel). Speakers from all over the world continue to be a regular part of NMC annual meeting programs. NMC also fostered relationships with international organizations that shared similar concerns and objectives. During the mid 1970s, at the urging of the Research Committee, NMC initiated a more formal cooperation with the International Dairy Federation (IDF). In 1976, NMC accepted an invitation by the IDF A2 Group of Mastitis Experts to appoint an observer from the US to attend their meetings. W.D. Schultze, US Department of Agriculture, represented NMC at the IDF meetings from 1976 until his retirement. K. Larry Smith, Ohio State University, was then appointed by the NMC Board of Directors to serve as the NMC representative to the IDF mastitis group in 1987. Currently, Joe Hogan, Ohio State University, serves as the NMC representative to IDF. The resulting interactions have provided valuable consultation

50 Years of Milk Quality

In 1997, the NMC and the IDF A2 Group of Mastitis Experts cosponsored a special pre-conference symposium at the NMC annual meeting. International participation in NMC, which was already growing every year, benefited from the joint symposium. Nearly 25% of the registrants were from outside the US, representing 15 countries. In 1990, the NMC, along with the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), co-sponsored an International Symposium on Mastitis. Held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in conjunction with the AABP annual conference, the symposium featured speakers from 16 countries who presented 75 papers and 25 posters. Eleven years later NMC and AABP co-sponsored the 2nd International Symposium on Mastitis and Milk Quality in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Although attendance was influenced by the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the symposium featured more than 130 papers and posters. The 3rd International Symposium, again hosted by NMC and AABP, was held in 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. These successful symposia brought together international leaders to address current and future issues in mastitis research and control and the production of high quality milk.

Working together To develop partnerships throughout the dairy industry, NMC pursued opportunities to host meetings with other organizations with similar goals. In addition to the three international symposia held with AABP, NMC held meetings with AABP in 1970 and 1982. NMC also partnered with the American Veterinary Medical Association on several occasions, including 1976, 1980, 1981 and 1982. Seminars were conducted by NMC during the Western Veterinary Conference in 1985 and at the Eastern States Veterinary Conference in 1987. The Milk Quality Council of California co-sponsored a seminar at the International Association of Milk, Food and Environmental Sanitarians


annual meeting in 1987. The NMC annual meeting was held in conjunction with the International Dairy Housing Conference, hosted by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, in 1994, 1998, and 2003. The NMC regional meeting was held jointly with the Empire State Mastitis Council (now Empire State Milk Quality Council) on three occasions (1993, 1997, and 2002); with the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin in 2001; and with the Mid-Atlantic Consortium in 2009. The goal of these joint meetings, and others, was to expand the shared mission of communicating knowledge and ideas. NMC has a long history of providing information and feedback to government regulatory agencies in the US regarding issues related to intramammary infection and milk quality. In 1963, the US Public Health Service adopted National Mastitis Council’s recommendations for mastitis screening procedures, and developed a pamphlet that was distributed throughout many states. In his NMC president’s report in 1965, R.W. Metzger stated “the latest draft of the Public Health Service code devotes considerable attention to abnormal milk and urges the development of mastitis control programs based on National Mastitis Council’s published material.”

which was charged with reviewing current FDA guidelines and to suggest revisions, if necessary. Lactating cow and dry cow mastitis product guidelines were prepared by the committee and submitted to the FDA the following year. In 1981, the FDA published draft guidelines for the evaluation of antimicrobial drugs for intramammary infusion, outlining the regulatory requirements and procedures for conducting evaluations for drug products being considered for approval. NMC submitted written comments in 1982. In June 1985, guidelines for anti-infective bovine mastitis product development were issued by the FDA. The NMC, along with the Animal Health Institute (AHI), AABP, and AVMA worked with the FDA again in the early 1990s, following the agency’s request for comments on the 1993 draft guidelines for developing and manufacturing anti-infective bovine mastitis products. The draft guidelines were presented at the 1993 NMC annual meeting. The final guidelines, Target animal safety and drug effectiveness studies for anti-microbial bovine mastitis products (lactating and nonlactating cow products) were published by the FDA in 1996. Guidelines for the uniform labeling of antimicrobial drugs for intramammary infusions were published by FDA in 1983. NMC participated in the development of the guidelines, along with the Animal Health Institute, NMPF, and the FDA National Center for Veterinary Medicine. The goal was to promote standard labeling that could be uniformly understood and interpreted by all users.

“...the latest draft of the Public Health Service code devotes considerable attention to abnormal milk and urges the development of mastitis control programs In March of 1993, the FDA Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee based on National Mastitis Council’s published material.” held a meeting to address concerns regarding bovine somatotropin - R.W. Metzger, NMC president, 1965 (rbST), mastitis and drug residue risk. Bob Harmon, University In the late 1960s and early 1970s, teat dipping was being accepted as an excellent management tool to reduce the number of new intramammary infections. Several teat dip products were quickly introduced to the market – some were extremely effective while others were not. There was considerable confusion regarding teat dip use, proper classification for teat dips, labeling requirements, and regulation. In response, the NMC Research Committee established a subcommittee on teat dips in 1972 (which later became the Teat Dip Committee) that was charged to work in cooperation with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that products sold for teat dipping were safe and effective. W. Nelson Philpot, NMC president in 1974, said he was “heartened by the concerned attitude of FDA to obtain maximum input from NMC into any regulations that they may develop regarding teat dips”, and also reported that the Teat Dip Committee submitted a comprehensive literature review of teat dips to the FDA Bureau of Veterinary Medicine at their request. The FDA also requested information on protocols for determining effectiveness and safety of teat dip products. A series of recommended protocols for teat disinfectant manufacturers to follow for determining efficacy of products were later developed by NMC. Work with FDA on issues related to regulating and marketing teat disinfectant products continued over the course of 20 years. NMC also worked with the FDA to ensure availability of safe and effective mastitis infusion products. In 1970, the NMC Executive Committee appointed a Mastitis Treatment Committee which was charged to counsel with the FDA on policy matters regarding mastitis therapy. In 1974 NMC appointed the Infusion Products Committee


of Kentucky, testified on behalf of the NMC, summarizing factors influencing mastitis incidence in dairy cows. In 1988, NMC had submitted a protocol for the evaluation of mastitis in efficacy studies of bovine somatotropin and production drugs in dairy cattle. The protocol was developed to assist FDA during their review of rbST and any impacts on incidence of mastitis.

In an ongoing project that began in 1997, the NMC and the USDA are collaborating on a monitoring program to summarize US milk quality, using federal milk marketing order data. The report shows averages and trends in somatic cell count data within states and regions of the country on an annual basis.

Organization and structure The organizational structure of NMC has gone through several changes over the years, with the goal of refining operations, policies, and procedures. NMC was first governed by a 35 member Board of Directors and a 15 member Executive Committee. In 1966 the board was increased to 48 members. It wasn’t until 2001 that the board was reduced to 15 members with a five member Executive Committee. The current NMC officer positions include president, first and second vice presidents, secretary, and treasurer. The second vice president position was added in 1997, to create better year-to-year continuity in leadership. All officers serve a one year term, with the vice presidents moving into the presidential position. The president alternates each year between a person in academia or public service and industry; in a stipulation added to the bylaws in 1979. Between 1961 and 2011, forty-seven presidents have guided NMC.

National Mastitis Council

NMC went through a restructuring in 1992 to increase functional efficiency and productivity of NMC by improving flow of information through the organization. In 1995, a new committee structure was implemented that included term limits for members and size limits for committees. While NMC’s overall goal has remained the same since the 1960s, the organization’s actual mission statement has been revisited several times. The current NMC vision and mission statements were adopted in 1999: Vision: The global information source for the production of quality milk. Mission: To provide a forum for the global exchange of information on milk quality, mastitis and relevant research. Communicate that information to the dairy industry enabling it to reduce mastitis and improve milk quality. From time to time, discussions centered around a possible name change for the organization, a reflection of NMC’s growing global membership and expanding interest in other milk quality issues. Following several years of debate, in 2004 the organization decided to adopt a new name and new look, and became known as: “NMC” with the tagline “A Global Organization for Mastitis Control and Milk Quality.” (The legal name remained National Mastitis Council, Inc.) To complement the name change, NMC also adopted a new logo which is still used today. Using only the initials “NMC” for the organization’s name proved challenging to both members and non-members alike. As a result, the organization underwent another name change in 2011; returning to its roots to be known once again as the National Mastitis Council. The change back to the original full name is hoped to better reflect the history and mission of the organization. It is important to note that the word “National” is not intended to refer to any particular nation; instead, the word “National” applies to NMC’s worldwide membership and all nations represented.

Communications Communication has always been an essential part of NMC. The NMC newsletter was first published in 1964. There have been six editors, the first being Graham Coulter of Kraft (1965). James Smathers of the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Association took over in 1970, followed by Cathy (Machan) Sherman from Farm Journal in 1978, Ewing Row from Hoards Dairyman in 1982, Jim Dickrell from Holstein World (now with Dairy Today) in 1985 and Ewing Row again in 1987. In 1989 NMC Executive Director Anne Saeman assumed editing responsibilities. The NMC annual meeting proceedings, containing all of the papers and reports presented during NMC meetings, have been published since 1962. These proceedings have included a remarkable amount of valuable information and history related to the advancements in management and technology related to mastitis prevention and control and the production of high quality milk. In 1975 the NMC Board of Directors established a policy that all NMC members would receive a

50 Years of Milk Quality

copy of the proceedings whether or not they attended the meeting; a policy that remains today. The tradition of publishing a separate regional meeting proceedings began in 1993. Prior to that time, papers from regional meetings were generally included in the annual meeting proceedings. The meeting proceedings were made available on a CD-ROM for the first time in 2001, and an online proceedings library was added to the members-only section of the NMC website in 2003. The NMC website was unveiled in 1996. More recently, newer forms of communication using various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have been implemented. These types of communication will continue take a more prominent role in the future.

National Mastitis Research Foundation In 1983 the NMC Past Presidents Committee and Long Range Planning Committee recommended that NMC study the possibility of establishing a research foundation representing all segments of interest in the industry. W. D. Schultze, US Department of Agriculture, was named chairman of the study committee. After several years of planning, the National Mastitis Research Foundation (NMRF) was formally established to support research in areas affecting udder health and milk quality. The foundation awarded its first research grant in 2000 during the NMC 39th annual meeting. Additional grants were awarded by the NMRF in 2004 and 2006. The NMC Scholars Program was introduced in 2007. This program, funded by the NMRF, provides travel scholarships for students who have a strong interest in udder health and quality milk production to attend and participate in NMC meetings and activities. The overall goal of the program is to support the development of future milk quality researchers and specialists. The NMRF is funded solely through donations by NMC members and supporters as part of their annual dues payment, renewals, or through special fund-raising activities. The NMRF no longer provides grants for active research projects.

The people “The NMC is a unique organization. I cannot think of any other group comprised of so many segments of an industry, all linked by their common interest in a single disease,” said Bob Eberhart, Pennsylvania State University and NMC president in 1984. Indeed, no other professional dairy organization enjoys the wide range of expertise as is found in the NMC membership. From the farm to the processing plant, all of the groups involved in the production of high quality milk are represented within NMC, including farmers, dairy

“The NMC is a unique organization. I cannot think of any other group comprised of so many segments of an industry, all linked by their common interest in a single disease.” - Bob Eberhart, NMC president, 1984


cooperatives, milk handlers, veterinarians, researchers, extension educators and specialists, industry suppliers and manufacturers, sanitarians, regulatory personnel, and students. The first NMC membership drive was initiated in 1963. By 1964, there were 102 individual NMC members; 13 state/local and 17 national/regional members. In his Membership and Finance Committee report at the 1964 NMC annual meeting, Ernest B. Kellogg, Milk Industry Foundation, recommended a “vigorous membership campaign be initiated” and encouraged every member to carry membership brochures to help secure new memberships. In 1984 there were about 1,000 people on the NMC membership list, and in 1994, the number had reached 2,000. NMC membership currently stands at about 1,500. A membership survey conducted in 1984 showed that practicing veterinarians made up the largest segment of NMC membership. The same is true today, with close to one-third of the membership being veterinarians. Individuals from industry (such as milking machine manufacturers, pharmaceutical and animal health companies, teat disinfectant/sanitizer companies, etc.) represent over 20% of the membership, followed by university researchers and extension educators (nearly 15%). Dairy producers make up about 10% of the membership. Although the organization is based in the US, NMC membership is truly global. The NMC newsletter reported 40 international members in 1979; today, the number of NMC members from outside the US is close to 400 (about 25% of total membership). In 1966, 300 people registered for the NMC 5th Annual Meeting. Three countries were represented (US, Canada and Peru). Meeting attendance now averages 400 people. About 20-25% of the attendees come from 15-20 different countries. The NMC leadership also reflects the global membership. The first international member of the board of directors was Marcelo Perez, from Mexico, elected in 1985. Ken Leslie became the first Canadian board member in 1991. Another Canadian, Ann Godkin, was the first NMC president from outside the US, serving in 2000. In 2011 Eric Hillerton, from New Zealand, became the first NMC president from outside North America.

Honored individuals There are far too many individuals to mention who have contributed greatly to the ideals and mission of the NMC. However a few individuals have received NMC awards for their contributions to the organization The first two honorary lifetime members of NMC were named at the 1984 NMC Annual meeting – Jim Smathers, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers (NMC president in 1969) and John Flake, Evaporated Milk Association (NMC secretary/treasurer for 11 years). Both were instrumental in guiding NMC through the early years. Ken Kirby with A&L Laboratories received the Honorary Lifetime Membership Award in 1994. An NMC charter member, Ken Kirby


was well-known throughout the entire dairy industry. John Adams with NMPF was presented with the Distinguished Service Award in 1994 for the 15 years he served as NMC Secretary/Treasurer. Dale Termunde, Babson Brothers Co., and Ewing Row, Hoard’s Dairyman, were honored with the NMC Distinguished Service Award at the 1999 annual meeting, for their years of contributions towards the ideals and mission of the NMC. The NMC award for excellence in mastitis prevention and control was initiated in 2011. The first recipient, Ken Leslie, University of Guelph, was honored at the 2012 NMC annual meeting.

Concluding remarks The NMC was first First NMC membership pamphlet in organized to stimulate 1963. thinking, compile all that was known about mastitis, and promote effective action to control the disease. Today, the NMC represents a global effort to coordinate all available resources to help the dairy industry control mastitis and improve milk quality through research, exchange of information, and education. Largely as a result of the work of NMC, the incidence of mastitis has been reduced very significantly and milk quality has been improved, increasing the profitability of the global dairy industry. Much of the early vision of the original NMC founders has now been realized. As NMC begins its next 50 years, there will be changes in research, technology, and communication. And has always been the case, the success of NMC depends on its members. As NMC past president Bob Dawson, Babson Brothers Co., said in his presidential address at the 1982 annual meeting, “Membership is the lifeblood of any organization. Members provide all the resources, build interest in the organization and its activities, and are vital in dispersal of information and implementation of its programs.” It is thanks to all members – past and present – that NMC is the current vibrant and successful organization of today.

National Mastitis Council

“Quality milk comes from a healthy cow. it’s a measurement of how we are taking care of the cow.”

– Ron Locke, Top O’ The Morn Farms

Pfizer Animal Health congratulates the National Mastitis Council on 50 years of milk quality. Improve milk quality, increase production and boost profitability. We can help by sharing information that makes a real difference in your business. It’s all part of an online video resource developed specifically for you, featuring success stories, expert opinions and useful advice. Continue Ron’s story at www.milkqualityfocus.com

All brands are the property of Pfizer Inc., its affiliates and/or its licensors. ©2011 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. GDR11064

NMC’s global impact

NMC publications the core of its influence Contributed by Dairy Today


ost dairy farmers probably recognize the National Mastitis Council (NMC) as an organization that is centered on preventing and controlling mastitis.

But few, if any, appreciate how ubiquitous the organization is in all aspects of cow health, food safety and milk quality. From the mastitis test results they get back from their veterinarians to the teat dips they apply at each milking to the design of their milking systems, NMC has played a key role over its 50-year history. The organization’s influence has grown from being centered solely on the United States to becoming a truly global force. For the first time in its history, Eric Hillerton, a Scottish Ph.D. working in New Zealand became the first non-North American NMC president in 2011. (Canadian Ann Godkin, president in 2000, was the first non-American to lead the organization.) “NMC started when the world was still a very big place. International contacts were few and very far between,” says Hillerton. “But in NMC’s first decade, the Europeans started to arrive on American shores once again (but not Spanish, Portuguese or Italians this time), and the fruits of the US validation of the UK’s five-point mastitis control plan and significant contacts in machine milking ripened.

Microbiological Procedures for the Diagnosis of Bovine Mastitis, brought consistency and uniformity to microbiological procedures for diagnosing bovine mastitis. Prior to NMC’s recommended procedures, diagnostic lab technicians often relied on training they received in human medicine. “Mastitis organisms are a little more unusual than what you generally find in the human medical field,” says Bob Harmon, with the University of Kentucky. “The quick procedures you would use in a hospital laboratory to identify Staphylococcus aureus, for example, don’t work with bovine isolates because they have hemolytic patterns that are different than human strains. So you have to take the diagnosis a step further.” The original version of the Lab Handbook focused on the treatment of mastitis organisms and sensitivities to various antibiotics. The later edition, published in 1999 and spearheaded by Joe Hogan and his staff at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, focused more on the organisms themselves: who they are, what environmental conditions are conducive to their growth and how to prevent new infections. Veterinary clinics, rather than specialized mastitis labs, were also doing more diagnostic work in the 1990s. “Our revised handbook gave a face to these organisms, what they looked like and how they reacted,” says Hogan.

“NMC started when the world was still a very big place. And it gave veterinarians a way to go back to the producer to teach International contacts were few and very far between.” prevention rather than an after-the-fact, shotgun treatment that might - Eric Hillerton, NMC president, 2011 or might not work. “NMC is now evolving even more rapidly into a truly international organisation,” Hillerton says. “Its true value is being tested as debate becomes more intense on somatic cell count and hygiene standards being key to trade in milk and milk products.” NMC’s greatest contribution is its publications. Written by NMC volunteers, most with specialized industry experience and/or advanced university degrees in microbiology, engineering, chemistry and dairy sciences, the contents of each new handbook, guideline or protocol undergoes an arduous, often tedious journey through the NMC committee structure. Once they survive this gauntlet, the publications often become the dairy industry gold standard for microbiological procedures, milking system design and teat dip protocols. Even government agencies, such as the US Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration, look to these publications and NMC as the definitive authority. The Laboratory and Field Handbook on Bovine Mastitis, first published in 1987, a more in depth version of the previously published,


NMC’s Teat Dip Protocols followed a similar evolution. The US Food and Drug Administration never required efficacy protocols for teat dips (though manufacturers were required to follow good manufacturing practices). As a result, dairy farmers were bombarded with teat dip marketing messages that claimed to control mastitis but had little testing to back up those claims. NMC’s push to establish standardized protocols in the to the 70s and 80s was often met by angry threats of lawsuits from sometimes less than scrupulous manufacturers. Legitimate manufacturers, though they sometimes battled specific nuances of the protocols, welcomed a level playing field. They recognized that their efforts in producing well-researched, efficacious products would win the day over cheap, “bath tub” mixes. NMC’s first set of published guidelines included three protocols: A. Germicidal effectiveness in the lab B. Efficacy in challenge trials C. Efficacy in field trials

National Mastitis Council

But both university researchers and manufacturers soon learned the ability to kill mastitis organisms in a laboratory on excised teats was far different (and easier) than the ability to consistently prevent infections in the teat canal of a living, cud-chewing cow. So, in 1989, the teat dip protocols were revised. The in-lab germicidal protocol was dropped, as were the alphabetical designations of the protocols. The protocols for post-milking teat dips underwent further revision in 2003. In addition, protocols for determining efficacy of barrier dips and pre-milking dips were developed during the 1990s. NMC also started publishing a list of teat dips as an appendix to its annual meeting proceedings. To be included in the list, the teat dip must be tested by one of the NMC protocols and have that research published in a peer-reviewed journal. There are more than 80 teat disinfectant products listed.

“NMC is an ‘information dissemination mechanism’, both domestically and internationally.” - Doug Reinemann, University of Wisconsin put aside their corporate competitiveness and worked together to get the science right first,” he says. NMC is also good at assimilating information. For example, Danish workers have done a lot of research with milking speed and automated detachers. “US NMC members were the first to apply this research in the field, realizing that you don’t have to get that very last drop of milk out of the udder and have detrimental effects,” says Reinemann.

“The NMC teat dip protocols also now serve as a template for what is done throughout the world,” says Hogan.

In combination with proper milk prep procedures before milking, milking speed has increased and machine on-time has decreased. The result has been a monumental increase in milking parlor efficiency, resulting in more turns per hour, more cows milked per hour and less money spent doing it.

Increasing herd sizes in the mid- to late-80s led to ever larger milking parlors with their ever larger milk lines, vacuum lines, reserves and pumps.

All of this is the result of collaboration among NMC members. In the end, NMC is an “information dissemination mechanism” both domestically and internationally, says Reinemann.

“By 1987 or 1988, we realized we needed some kind of US performance standards,” says Norm Schuring, with GEA Farm Technologies in Naperville, Illinois. “Prior to that, it was left up to every company and every dairy consultant out there to interpret what the existing international standards meant. We needed to get some similarities on how we test milking systems.

“In my view, NMC is the very best place in the world to get information on milking machines, teat health and milk quality,” he says.

“But that also meant we needed to come up with standards on how to measure vacuum, where to measure it, and what our standards were trying to achieve,” he says. Coincidentally, NMC is not a standards setting organization, says Schuring, but it is often viewed as such. Its members, their universities and private companies often do the testing to determine what those standards should be. “These efforts have increased the working knowledge of the physics of the milking machine worldwide,” says Doug Reinemann, a milking systems engineer with the University of Wisconsin. “Through this work, common testing procedures have been developed that everyone is using in the world.” The development of the equipment guidelines also was not without controversy. “There were lots of opinions about how things should be done,” says David Reid, a veterinarian with Rocky Ridge Dairy Consulting, LLC, Hazel Green, Wisconsin. “We didn’t make friends with a lot of equipment dealers out in the field.” But eventually, as the standards were developed using sound data, folks started to look to NMC for guidance. Equipment companies then started to use the guidelines as the basis for their in-house technician training.

Congratulations to on 50 Years of leadership and innovation in mastitis control and milk quality! Ed al uc ion t ati a rn on e Teat Health t In Re y t i l sea ua rch kQ l i M Machine Milking Residue Avoidance




The key, says Reid, is that everyone involved in the NMC process was concerned about what was the right thing to do at the cow level. “They

50 Years of Milk Quality


What milk quality means to the dairy industry Contributed by Hoard’s Dairyman


hether we are referring to the dairy industry in the United States or in any other country around the world, having a milk supply of the highest possible quality is vital to the industry’s growth and prosperity. Producing quality milk is important in three ways: We must supply milk and other dairy products that are safe and nutritious. That is the only way we can maintain the trust and confidence of our ultimate customers, wherever they may be or whatever dairy products they are consuming. =

Producing milk of high quality improves the economic health of dairy producers and all businesses that depend on them. It also makes dairy producers greater stewards of our environment. =

And, producing high quality milk documents the commitment we have to providing a healthy and humane environment for cattle under our care. =

Dairy Management, Inc. regularly conducts consumer attitude surveys. Recently, it found that consumers have high degrees of confidence in milk quality and safety, and most consumers appear to be highly involved and positively engaged with dairy products. These results should not be surprising. Ours is one of the most heavily regulated industries from the standpoint of quality assurance along all supply channels. Our industry also has an excellent track record in dairy product safety. Fortunately, we have not had high-profile, food-related disease outbreaks such

as those associated with peppers, spinach, peanut butter, eggs, or some other foods. The few problems we have had have been addressed quickly and competently by the suppliers involved. The respect that our industry and its products have, make it all the more important that we continue our solid commitment to food safety and quality. And the dairy industry has been on a path of continual improvement. One of the most often analyzed and reported measures of milk quality is the somatic cell count (SCC) given in cells per milliliter of milk. It is an indication of mammary gland infection or mastitis. Every dairy herd should have an SCC goal of 200,000 cells per milliliter or less. In recent years, there has been a steady downward trend in SCC levels in the US milk supply. For example, the SCC trend among herds on Dairy Herd Information testing between 2005 and 2010 has been 296,000, 288,000, 276,000, 262,000, 233,000, and 228,000. In 2011 the SCC trend among herds was 217,000. David Barbano at Cornell University conducted research on the shelf-life of pasteurized milk. He demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of days (56 to 18) before an off-flavor could be detected when milk had an SCC of 25,000 compared to 1 million. Also, milk with low SCC levels produces higher cheese yields than higher-cell count milk. In fact, some cheese makers will not provide protein (cheese-yield) premiums unless a producer’s milk is below a certain SCC level. Milk and dairy product quality is important to all users of dairy products. For the US, it is becoming more important because we are relying more on exports. Dairy product exports recently have been as much as the equivalent of 12 percent of the US milk supply. Many global dairy market competitors have more stringent milk quality standards than the US. All countries wanting to export dairy products, including the US, must meet high milk quality standards in order to be a preferred source of dairy products. Some areas of the world, such as the European Union, are imposing higher standards on products from the US and other countries. For example, the EU has indicated that it wants to enforce an existing rule that dairy products from the US be from


National Mastitis Council

First poster session held at 1983 Annual Meeting The Technology Transfer session was initiated in 1983 at the NMC 22nd Annual Meeting. The objectives were to share methods shown effective in bringing about adoption of NMC information and to communicate new ideas and concepts that may assist mastitis control. Since then, over 1,000 posters have been presented at NMC meetings.

milk sources with SCCs below 400,000 cells per milliliter. Also, the EU plans to interpret the rule as meaning that each individual farm involved be below 400,000. Other foreign and domestic buyers may put equally stringent regulations in place. Looking ahead, even a 400,000 upper limit may not satisfy all buyers. One fluid milk processor in the US wants its milk to contain no more than 250,000 cells per milliliter. One strong point of our industry’s quality program is absence of any drug residues in milk. It is necessary for us to use medicine to treat our animals when they are not healthy. But no milk that has a drug residue is used for human consumption. This is especially important with current human-health concerns about some bacteria becoming resistant to some antibiotics. In the US, every tanker truckload of milk that arrives at a dairy plant is screened for the presence of antibiotic residues. The number of positive truckloads has been declining steadily for many years – in 2010, it was 802 out of 3.2 million loads sampled or 0.025 percent. Any milk testing positive is deposed of. Milk quality also is important because mastitis likely is our industry’s most costly disease. A study of five New York dairy farms put the cost of each clinical case of mastitis at $179. That included $115 through milk loss, $14 for greater death loss, and $50 attributed to treatment-associated costs. Pam Ruegg at the University of Wisconsin cites an estimate that subclinical mastitis costs the US dairy industry $1 billion per year. This would be due to lost milk production and lost milk quality premiums. Finally, producing milk of the highest quality possible simply is the right thing to do. It is right for the health and safety of consumers. It is right for dairy producers as business owners. And it is right for the animals under our care.

50 Years of Milk Quality


The importance of the Five-Point Plan in abating mastitis Contributed by W. Nelson Philpot


NMC President, 1974

he first mission for the NMC was “to bring all available resources to bear to the end that mastitis is abated and milk quality is improved.� That simple statement was our marching orders in the early days of the Council.

When the NMC was established in 1961, most herd milk had somatic cell counts in the millions, the contagious pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus agalactiae predominated, clinical mastitis was excessively high, and economic losses were staggering. Unfortunately, little was understood about the dynamics affecting the level of mastitis in individual herds and there was no general agreement on how best to control the disease. Understanding the Dynamics of Mastitis. All national dairy industries owe much to a team of imaginative researchers at the National Institute for Research in Dairying (NIRD) in England led by Dr. Frank Dodd. Dr. Dodd and members of his research team spoke at NMC meetings on numerous occasions. Those researchers conducted three major field experiments on commercial dairy herds in the 1950s and 1960s that enabled dairy specialists everywhere to better understand the dynamics involved in mastitis control. The NIRD researchers demonstrated that the level of infection in an individual herd was a function of both the rate of infection and the duration of infection. Rate referred to the frequency with which new infections developed, while duration referred to how long infections persisted before being eliminated. If the rate of infection was reduced the level would fall to a new equilibrium, and the time taken to reach the new level would be the average duration of existing infections. Their findings indicated that if either the rate or duration could be reduced by 50%, the level would decrease by 50% over time, but if both rate and duration could be reduced by 50%, the average level would decrease by 75%. Thus, effective control of mastitis could be achieved by modest reductions in both rate of new infections and duration of existing infections. A control program relying only on reducing new infections would act slowly because of the high average duration of infections. This was confirmed when the British researchers observed that a 50% decline in new infection rate reduced the level of infection by only 12% in one year. Therefore, the rate of decline of infection in the first year after a control program was applied depended much more on reduction in duration of existing infections than on reduction in the rate of new infections. This


observation resulted in increased focus on methods for reducing the duration of infections and gave birth to the concept of dry cow therapy. The Basis of Successful Control Methods. Mastitis is different from other cattle diseases such as brucellosis and tuberculosis in that the main goal must be control rather than eradication. The individual herd is the unit of control, and the level of mastitis in a given herd is independent of the level in nearby herds. Thus, it was evident that the need was not for a national mastitis control program, but for a herd control program applied nationally. In the absence of methods for preventing all new infections, two main approaches to mastitis control were evident. The first approach was based on individual herd investigations to confirm the type and prevalence of infections. This program was clearly impractical on a national basis because it was expensive and had little chance of reaching more than a minority of dairy herds. The second and more practical approach to mastitis control was a regimen each dairy farmer could apply without the need for information on types of infection or individual quarters that were involved. The Five-Point Plan of Mastitis Control. The field experiments on commercial dairy herds in England resulted in the development of a program that involved five points for preventing a substantial percentage of new infections and for eliminating many existing infections. The five points were as follows. =Point

one. Use functionally adequate milking machines in the correct manner. =Point

two. Dip teats after milking with an effective germicide.


three. Administer a full series of recommended treatments to all clinical cases. =Point

four. Treat every quarter of every cow at drying off with a specially formulated antibiotic preparation. =Point

five. Cull animals with recurring cases of clinical mastitis.

It should be noted that dry cow treatment not only reduced the duration of existing infections, it also reduced the rate of new infections by preventing development of many new infections during the early dry period.

National Mastitis Council

Each of the five points in the mastitis control program complemented the others as follows. Control Component

Infection Dynamic Controlled

Milking machines


Teat dipping


Dry cow treatment

Duration and rate

Treatment of clinical cases




Other Considerations. Emphasis on the Five-Point Plan of Mastitis Control should not be interpreted as indicating that other management factors are not important. Indeed, one of the great advantages of the Five-Point Plan is that it is subject to easy modification when new research findings warrant. For example, the milking of teats that are clean and dry has been shown to contribute to both a reduction in new infections and improved milk quality. In addition, the dipping of teats before milking has proven highly effective in controlling infections caused by environmental pathogens such as Streptococcus uberis, as well as improving the quality and shelf life of processed dairy products. No doubt, future research on such topics as improved vaccines, more effective antibiotics and germicides, better milking machines, and selection of cattle with enhanced resistance to mastitis will lead to even better control methods. The dairy industry can take great pride in progress made in the abatement of mastitis and improvement of milk quality. Somatic cell counts and bacteria counts have been reduced in herd milk, clinical mastitis has been diminished, the nutritional quality of milk has been enhanced, and milk losses due to mastitis have improved the economy of dairying worldwide.

As a farmer-owned cooperative, we believe that by working together, we can achieve more. That’s why we’re honored to join in celebrating the National Mastitis Council’s 50th Anniversary.

It is reasonable to conclude the work of the NMC on abating mastitis and improving milk quality has returned many billions of dollars to dairy farmers of the world. Moreover, the quality and safety of dairy products have been enhanced. The continuing prevalence of mastitis in some herds may be attributed to failure to properly implement proven mastitis control methods, improper milking procedures, inadequate housing, unsanitary environmental conditions, and breeding cattle for ever-increasing yields of milk.


50 Years of Milk Quality


A look back at milking machines Contributed by DairyBusiness Communications


ilk has been long recognized as an important source of human nutrition. People living in towns and surrounding communities had to be fed. Because the centuriesold practice of hand milking was labor-intensive and, increasingly, fell short of meeting the growing demand for fresh milk, inventors began to devise mechanical gadgets to take the place of hand milking from about the 1830s.

Dairyman that “milking machines would result in poorer quality of milk and lowering the standards of dairy animals.” In The Farmers Advocate, L.B. Arnold, secretary of the American Dairyman’s Association, wrote about the great value of hand milking in the development of the bovine udder, and warned against resorting to machine milking. As a result, success of machine milking proved difficult and it would take more than a half of a century before it gained in popularity.

The earliest evidence of attempts to replace hand milking comes from archaeological records which show that wheat straw was inserted into the teat canal around 380 BC and, later, leg bones of birds were tried. Despite the obvious flaw in this early attempt to replace hand-milking, the world’s first patent for a mechanical milking device – in 1836 to Blurton (Britain) – involved the same flawed principle. Blurton’s patent involved the insertion of metal tubes, or cannula, into the four teat canals of an udder to allow milk in the teat and udder cisterns to flow out under the forces First milking machine patent, filed in of gravity and intramammary 1836 by Blurton. pressure. Not surprisingly, Blurton’s device was destined for the scrap-heaps of history – like its predecessor in 380 BC – no doubt due to the inevitable increase in mastitis caused by pathogens carried through the teat canal on contaminated tubes.

Later, some astute innovators began studying the way calves suckled their mother’s teats. The observation of suckling led to the idea of using vacuum. Early inventions used vacuum tubes placed inside the cow’s teat while others covered the whole udder. Hand pumps and cranks were used to extract the milk. A device using single-chambered, individual teatcups was patented in 1860 by L.O. Colvin of Cincinnati, Ohio. The individual teatcups were connected to hand-operated diaphragm vacuum pumps by short rubber tubes to facilitate adjustment. This technology laid the ground work for the first of three key principles required for successful mechanization of milking – i.e., milk withdrawal from the teat using a regulated vacuum supply.

From the mid-nineteenth century onwards, lots of would-be inventors attempted to mechanize the process of milking dairy cows. The inventors were a mixed bag of plumbers, tinsmiths, inventor-farmers, doctors and engineers. The first machines ranged from simple mechanical devices to highly elaborate mechanisms which were wheeled, or hung, under the cows. Some of the milking inventions even provided seating for the operator. Cheap labor and a strong belief that the natural method of milk harvest could never be duplicated by a mechanical process remained strong among farmers. Most farmers remained reluctant to use any form of mechanical milking especially since some experts declared milking machines to be unnatural and injurious. In 1892, for example, S.M. Babcock (from the University of Wisconsin) wrote in the National


The Colvin hand operated vacuum milker (1860).

A Scottish plumber, William Murchland, introduced a vacuum milker in 1889 that is considered to be the first successful commercial milking machine. This machine used a hand-operated vacuum pump to maintain a vacuum and used a water column as the regulation device. This vacuum control strategy had a great deal of merit in that there were no moving parts. This vacuum supply was connected to an overhead pipe system around the cowshed with a stall cock between each pair of cows. Each stall cock could be connected via a rubber hose to a bucket suspended under the cow. Apparently, ‘one boy could maintain the necessary vacuum to enable three girls to operate two or three units each’. The vacuum applied to the teat was continuous and the

National Mastitis Council

teatcups were specifically designed to keep the teat wet with milk. The application of constant vacuum usually resulted in badly-swollen teats, however. A steam driven milking machine debuted in Scotland near the end of the 19th century. This machine named the “Thistle”, was invented by Alexander Shiels and it included the world’s first pulsator. This mechanism created short alternate periods of vacuum and relief which was claimed to closely simulate the calf as it opened and closed its mouth while suckling. While the Thistle machine presented problems of sanitation, it proved to be an efficient milker. In Hoard’s Dairyman, in 1898, a reviewer of the Thistle machine demonstrated at the Hamburg Exposition faulted the machine for its intermittent flow, as observed in the glass tube leading to the milk vessel. Nevertheless, the pulsator is the second of three key developments that finally led to a fully functional milking machine. The third key development was the two-chambered teatcup. The teatcups and liners used in the milking machines designed by Struthers and Weir (Scotland) in 1892, Hartnett (Australia) in 1893 and Gillies (Australia) in 1902, were the forerunners of all modern milking machines.

Suspended milking machine, Herbert McCornack, 1922, which became the Babson Brothers Co. Surge milker.

to improvements in milk quality. The early milking parlors used bucket milking systems but new and better ideas were soon to follow.

By the end of the nineteenth century, more than 100 milking devices were patented in the United States. Some inventions were simple, yet others were comprised of hundreds of parts. Unfortunately, most mechanical marvels failed to milk cows safely and efficiently when compared with the traditional pair of hands. Cost and the unsatisfactory performance sealed the fate of many, if not all of these early milking inventions.

Milking parlors were followed by milking pipelines. The first pipeline was installed by DeLaval in 1925 but considerable time elapsed before this technology reached significant adoption. Severe labor shortages that plagued dairy farms after World War II was a driving factor of adoption. However, milking pipelines also provided a more sanitary way to carry milk from the cow to bulk storage vessels. Milking pipelines and new milking units replaced bucket milking units and gave way to new milking methods reducing labor and improving milk quality.

Milking pails or bucket milkers came on the market in the early twentieth century. The first endeavors into this arena incurred some challenges as the buckets were made of various materials, which sometimes added unwanted flavors. In 1917, Babson Brothers began manufacturing the Pine Tree milking machine, an upright floor pail. DeLaval introduced a bucket milker in the US in 1917. The parent company, Alfa Laval, brought the design to Europe where it was manufactured and sold throughout the world. In 1922, a US farmer named Herbert McCornack invented a suspended bucket machine, which became the Surge milker. This revolutionary milker hung under the cow, suspended on a steel spring rod that was attached to a strap over the cow’s back. This invention went on to reach 76 percent of the US market share when the patent expired in 1955.

While pipeline milking was successful, milking machine manufacturers along with researchers and others in the dairy industry continued to look for better methods to milk cows safely, efficiently and comfortably. By the 1940s, researchers started investigating milking machine mechanics and component parts. W.E. Whittlestone (New Zealand), devised equipment and methods for testing pumps, regulators and pulsators. This work led to worldwide interest in performance of milking machines and national and international codes of practices and standards. These guidelines are still continually reviewed and are published by the International Standards Organization (ISO), American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), as well as many local regulatory agencies which provide sanitary requirements for milking systems, on farm storage of milk and milk quality criteria.

Through practical experiences and hard work, mechanical milking emerged as the future way to harvest milk. By the 1920s, it was clear that machine milking was here to stay and the economics of demand and supply offered a great opportunity to anyone who could provide an efficient, reliable, reasonably-priced, mechanical milking machine. After the introduction of the bucket milking systems, inventors and engineers quickly developed milking stations that meant cows were brought to the milking system rather than taking the milking system to the cows. Operators were able to milk more cows per hour. Moving cows to the operator reduced the operator’s need to walk, carry milk and complete other tasks associated with earlier milking in barns. The new concept of milking parlors provided better sanitary conditions and lead

Over the years, development of automation such as detachers and other labor-saving devices continued. New developments and technologies provided better ways to reduce manual labor, provided operational consistency and improved overall performance in milk harvesting techniques. Highly automated systems used on dairy farms today deliver individual cow data such as milk production, cow identification and milk quality information. New technologies also reduce labor, help to milk more cows per hour and replace many manual aspects of cow and labor management. Robotic milking systems are also used on an increasing number of farms around the globe and will deliver new technologies that will help us provide innovative concepts and functions for milking cows.

50 Years of Milk Quality


International exchange leads to success Contributed by Dairy Today


hough NMC started as a US-centric organization, its members quickly realized the United States did not have a lock on mastitis or milk equipment research.

In the 1970s, Don Schultze, a researcher with the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, opened up contact with many of the European researchers through the International Dairy Federation (IDF) Group of Experts on Mastitis (Group A2) meetings in Europe and Oceania. Schultze served as the NMC liaison representative to the IDF A2 group for over 10 years. After Schultze’s retirement, K. Larry Smith, mastitis researcher with The Ohio State University, became NMC’s liaison with the IDF A2 mastitis group. Smith urged NMC to continue bringing in some of these international researchers, such as Frank Dodd from the United Kingdom and Graeme Mein from Australia. Mein’s specialty was milking systems and mastitis. Paul Thompson, then president of BouMatic (and who served as NMC President in 1989) sponsored Mein’s move to Madison, Wisconsin, where he took a joint appointment at the University of Wisconsin and BouMatic from 1990 - 1999. Mein was a key player in the development of NMC’s milking system guidelines and proved to be a key mentor for Norm Schuring, GEA Farm Technologies, and Wisconsin veterinarians Andy Johnson and David Reid. Together, these four provided leadership in the development of the guidelines. The UK’s Frank Dodd and team at the National Institute for Research in Dairying had developed the first five-point plan for the prevention of infectious mastitis in the late 1960s. He, too, was invited to provide a keynote at an NMC annual meeting.

“We had a horrendous environmental mastitis problem in our brand new research facility at Wooster,” says Smith. So he and his graduate students started the arduous task of sampling every cow at precise intervals to follow the dynamics of those infections. Smith published his first research on environmental mastitis in the Journal of Dairy Science in 1985. And through NMC, the findings spread through the industry. Dairy veterinarians, many of whom were NMC members, picked up the research and started to apply it in their clients’ herds. Shortly after publishing the ground breaking research on environmental mastitis, Smith was invited to New Zealand. The New Zealand dairy system is pasture based, with environmental streptococcal mastitis its greatest challenge. While in New Zealand, Smith collaborated with Murray Woolford and Mel Eden to develop New Zealand’s SAMM Plan (seasonal approach to mastitis management) to help producers prevent and control mastitis. Woody Pankey, another key mastitis researcher who worked in Louisiana and Vermont, was later invited to New Zealand and worked with Woolford to entice dairy producers to adopt the SAMM Plan. Contacts through NMC have led to many international exchanges over the years. In fact, Smith and Pankey first encountered Eric Hillerton, then a young Scottish mastitis researcher, during a trip to the 1985 IDF Mastitis Seminar in Kiel, Germany. Hillerton was elected president of NMC when the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Realizing the educational value of Dodd’s approach, US researchers such as Nelson Philpot with Louisiana State University and Roger Natzke with the University of Florida adapted Dodd’s plan for use in the United States. Through NMC, the plan was disseminated to dairy farmers and became standard operating procedure. The approach worked. But as infectious bugs such as Streptococcus agalactiae and Staphylococcus aureus were being brought under control, Bob Eberhart at Pennsylvania State University, began to realize that environmental mastitis organisms were emerging as the next threat. In the late 1970s, Smith decided to tackle environmental mastitis.


Murray Woolford (left) and Eric Hillerton (right) during the NMC 36th annual meeting, 1997.

National Mastitis Council

Contagious vs. environmental mastitis The evolution of knowledge

Contributed by Progressive Dairyman


he differences between environmental and contagious mastitis are now largely understood among researchers and dairy producers alike. But it took a great many studies over a number of years to make that distinction. One project in particular that helped to point out the need for new mastitis control methods was developed in the 1960s by The National Institute for Research in Dairying (NIRD) in Britain. “NIRD researchers identified that milking time hygiene practices could prevent the spread of contagious mastitis — notably Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus agalactiae“ says Washington State University’s Larry Fox. “Later studies indicated that such practices did not impact environment mastitis. It was discovered that mastitis control strategies weren’t like tube socks, where one size fits all.” Fox researches contagious mastitis, particularly in the areas of Staph. aureus transmission and epidemiology as well as intervention and prevention strategies. For a number of years, Fox studied Staph. aureus related to mastitis in heifers and its transmission. More recently, he has done work on mycoplasma mastitis and identifying how to prevent it. The knowledge developed in the 1960s played a large role in Fox’s beginning years at Washington State University, where he and colleague John McDonald developed production medicine and management techniques at the university’s Field Disease Investigation Unit. McDonald focused on environmental mastitis while Fox studied contagious forms of mastitis. Their collaborative efforts led to discoveries and strategies in both areas for mastitis abatement. Areas where the two researchers were able to work together included a study on the control efficacy of segregating cows with Staph. aureus mastitis and utilizing bulk tank cultures to monitor herd mastitis. Larry Smith, who specializes in mastitis research at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), credits individuals like Robert Eberhart at Penn State’s veterinary science department with helping fellow researchers see that there were multiple groups of mastitis pathogens. “He found that procedures being implemented to control contagious mastitis weren’t necessarily controlling these other


forms, like the coliforms and environmental streps,” Smith says. “So it was in the late 1970s, early ’80s, that people really began to see that there were at least two different groups of pathogens to deal with.” Smith explains that the knowledge became the “driving force” behind what was being studied with the research herd at the OARDC. In 1978, a “state-of-the-art” freestall barn was built at the center, and administrators chose to use recycled manure solids as bedding. Smith and his team soon discovered multiple cases of mastitis in the herd but realized it wasn’t in contagious forms — it was all environmental mastitis. “We had a built-in ‘brewery’ of environmental mastitis in this new facility,” Smith says. “It gave us the opportunity to study the dynamics of these pathogens across all stages of lactation.” Smith and his team were then able to draw conclusions, published in two papers in 1985, on the effects of environmental mastitis related to bedding, parity and stage of lactation across the dry period and as cows approached the calving period. The use of this research herd eventually lead to other discoveries, including how the ration, particularly selenium and Vitamin E intake, plays a role in the prevention of environmental mastitis. Smith and his team also spent time researching vaccines used to control coliform mastitis.

National Mastitis Council

Both Smith and Fox say their respective studies — and the research herds involved — were a good representation of how the industry was beginning to trend toward larger scale, confinement operations. In fact, Fox began focusing his research on mycoplasma mastitis, due to what he called the “supply and demand” of the situation.

being developed to differentiate forms of coagulase-negative staphs. “We hope to refine techniques and strategies to control CNS mastitis, and I think this will help us educate dairy producers on how they can better deal with it, and they can become more knowledgeable about this form of the mastitis disease complex,” Fox says.

“We noticed there was an increase in mycoplasma mastitis herd prevalence in our area, growing from less than 1 percent to close to 8 percent,” Fox says. “And that was documented and substantiated by others, who found that it was correlated mostly to the increase in herd size. So we were trying to address the problems of a disease that seemed to be influenced by herd size.” More than 30 years of research across the world has helped dairy producers understand the differences between environmental and contagious mastitis and the methods used to prevent, treat and control them. But according to Fox and Smith, education is still needed. “I think where producers get confused is with the coagulase-negative staphylococcus (CNS), or non-aureus staphylococcus,” Fox says. “We tend to lump CNS as non-contagious, but they’re not necessarily environmental. They’re more opportunistic and reside on the teat skin of cows. The mechanism of infection for Staph. aureus and CNS are very different.” Smith believes producers have done a great job of understanding the need for reducing exposure of teat ends in the milking parlor but that they need to bring other areas of the farm into consideration. “The way you really control these pathogens is to prevent quarters from becoming infected in the first place,” Smith says. “Bedding plays such a huge role in that.” According to Smith, one of the most consistent and high-priority items for today’s dairy industry is better facilities that maximize cow comfort and minimize pathogen exposure, reducing the risk of environmental mastitis. On the staphylococcal side, Fox believes the industry has made great strides in developing the intervention strategies to deal with this group of mastitis pathogens. Today, technology is

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President’s List 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1989 1988 1987 1986 1985 1984 1983 1982 1981 1980 1979 1978 1977 1976 1975 1974 1973 1972 1971 1970 1969 1968 1967 1965-1966 1961-1964 22

Sheila M. Andrew, University of Conneticut, Storrs, Conneticut J. Eric Hillerton, DairyNZ, Hamilton, New Zealand Pamela L. Ruegg, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin Norman G. Schuring, GEA Farm Technologies, Inc., Naperville, Illinois Lawrence K. Fox, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington Jeffrey A. Johnson, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Arden Hills, Minnesota Joseph S. Hogan, Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio James L. Winter, Ecolab Inc., St. Paul, Minnesota Leo L. Timms, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa Andrew P. Johnson, Total Herd Management Services, Clintonville, Wisconsin Stephen C. Nickerson, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia Gary D. Heinrich, Pharmacia Animal Health, Kalamazoo, Michigan M. Ann Godkin, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Fergus, Ontario, Canada James A. Dickrell, Dairy Today, Monticello, Minnesota Robert J. Harmon, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky Keith E. Sterner, Sterner Veterinary Clinic, Ionia, Michigan K. Larry Smith , Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio Joseph P. Scolaro, IBA, Inc., Millbury, Massachusetts Jeffrey K. Reneau, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota Robert E. Gray, Alfa Laval Agri, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri Stephen B. Spencer, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania Terence M. Mitchell, Babson Bros. Co., Naperville, Illinois William L. Crist, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky Paul D. Thompson, Bou-Matic, Madison, Wisconsin J. Woodrow Pankey, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont Donald M. Berg, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota Roger P. Natzke, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida Ewing H. Row, Hoard’s Dairyman, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin Robert J. Eberhart, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania Arlen Schwinke, dairy producer, Morrison, Missouri Allan N. Bringe, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin Robert C. Dawson, Babson Bros. Co., Oak Brook, Illinois James J. Jezeski, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida Loris H. “Bud” Schultz, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin Boyd M. Cook, Dairymen, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland James R. Welch, Economic Labs, Inc., St. Paul, Minnesota Richard D. Mochrie, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina Burdet Heinemann, Mid-America Dairymen, Inc., Springfield, Missouri W. Nelson Philpot, Hill Farm Research Station, Louisiana State University, Homer, Louisiana Harvey J. Wilhelm, Mountain Empire Dairymen’s Association, Thornton, Colorado Donald E. Jasper, University of California, Davis, California William L. Arledge, Dairymen, Inc., Louisville, Kentucky James W. Smith, United States Department of Agriculture-ARS, Beltsville, Maryland James B. Smathers, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers, Arlington, Virginia Christian J. Haller, veterinarian, Avon, New York Graham T. Coulter, Kraft Foods, Chicago, Illinois Harry G. Hodges, De Laval Separator Co., Phoenix, Arizona Robert W. Metzger, Dairymen’s League Cooperative, Syracuse, New York

National Mastitis Council

Past President’s Dinner NMC 50th Annual Meeting

Moments in National Mastitis Council history 1960 International Association of Milk & Food Sanitarians appoints Mastitis Action Committee

1964 NMC begins to

1978 NMC office begins

distribute newsletter

to be housed with National Milk Producers Federation in Washington, DC

Oct. 30, 1960 Mastitis Action

July 1980 The slide set

Conference held (organized by the Mastitis Action Committee); recommends formation of a permanent national committee

Dollars and Sense of Mastitis Control has premier showing during the NMC Regional Meeting

Jan. 20, 1961 Initial meeting to organize a National Mastitis Action Committee held; first officers elected

1969 Microbiological

Procedures for the Diagnosis of Bovine Mastitis published

March 17, 1961 National

Mastitis Council selected as the permanent name



Feb. 1962 NMC 1st Annual Meeting held in Chicago

1963 NMC office established in Hinsdale, Illinois

1963 Current Concepts of Bovine Mastitis published



1965 NMC office housed

with the Evaporated Milk Association in Hinsdale, Illinois

1966 NMC office moves

to Washington DC (with Evaporated Milk Association)


1972 Subcommittee of

Research Committee appointed to develop guidelines to assure safety and efficacy of teat dips; becomes the Teat Dip Committee in 1973

1974 Infusion Products

Review Committee appointed to review the current FDA mastitis guidelines and ensure continued availability of safe and effective mastitis infusion products



1982 NMC office relocates to Arlington, Virginia (with the National Milk Producers Federation)

1983 Update on Postmilking Teat Antisepsis published in the NMC Annual Meeting Proceedings

1976 NMC begins a more

formal cooperation with the International Dairy Federation Group of Mastitis Experts


National Mastitis Council

1992 Mastitis Prevention and Control video released

2004 NMC adopts new logo and tagline

1995 NMC office relocates to Madison, Wisconsin

1996 4th edition of Current Concepts of Bovine Mastitis published

2004 NMC headquarters

1996 Procedures for

Evaluating Vacuum Levels and Air Flow in Milking Systems published

moves to Verona, Wisconsin; shares office space with National Dairy Herd Improvement Association

Jan. 2011 NMC 50th Annual

Feb. 1986 NMC celebrates

Meeting held in Arlington, Virginia

25th Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio





1999 Laboratory Handbook on Bovine Mastitis revised

2000 National Mastitis

Research Foundation funds its first research grant 25th anniversary logo

1986 National Mastitis Research Foundation established

2000 NMC assumes

management of National Dairy Quality Awards




2004 Procedures for

Evaluating Vacuum Levels & Airflow in Milking Systems revised

2004 Troubleshooting

50th anniversary logo

Cleaning Problems in Milking Systems published

2004 Microbiological

Procedures for the Diagnosis of Bovine Udder Infections and Determination of Milk Quality (4th edition) published

1987 Laboratory and Field

Handbook on Bovine Mastitis published

50 Years of Milk Quality

2007 NMC Scholars program introduced


Somatic cell count regulations

The evolution and implementation in the European Union


Contributed by Walther H. Heeschen formerly with the Federal Dairy Research Centre Kiel and University of Kiel

he somatic cell count (SCC) of raw milk is an indicator of the status of health and function of the mammary gland and is regarded internationally as an important determining factor for the mastitis situation in the herd and the hygienic quality of milk. The term “milk hygiene”, according to the definition of Codex Alimentarius, stands for the the safety and suitability of milk for the intended use. In the early 1960s discussion started in the International Dairy Federation (IDF) and in some European countries on how far an elevated SCC could influence the safety and suitability of milk, taking into account potentially enterotoxin forming microorganisms such as Staphylococcus aureus and residues of veterinary drugs, as well as technological concerns in manufacturing high-quality products due to the changed composition of the milk. At the World Dairy Congress in Copenhagen in 1962 it was decided to start work on the definition of mastitis in an Expert Group with Professor Dr. Paul Kästli, Switzerland, as rapporteur (3). In 1966 a first udder health classification was proposed with the four categories “normal udder”, “latent infection”, “subclinical mastitis” and “unspecific mastitis”. A “preliminary SCC threshold” in milk of 500,000 cells/ml from a single quarter was first discussed.

Development of automatic methods for counting somatic cells The discussions during the 1960s pointed out that counting of somatic cells in milk in combination with the cultural detection of pathogenic microorganisms would be decisive for a systematic approach to control mastitis in dairy herds and to improve the hygienic quality of milk. However, neither the direct microscopic counting method of Prescott and Breed nor the indirect California Mastitis Test (CMT), introduced in the early 1960s, would meet the requirements for SCC testing of high numbers of milk samples with sufficient precision. In 1966 the Mastitis Group at the Federal Dairy Research Center in Kiel, Germany, developed a novel method for the


electronic counting of somatic cells in milk using the Coulter Counter. The “electronic SCC” was further developed and improved in the early 1970s by the Foss Company in Denmark (“Fossomatic”) in close corporation with the Kiel Institute. In the last 25 years a number of national and international technologies for cell counting (Coulter Counter, Fossomatic, Bentley and some others) have been developed and validated in national and international collaborative and/or proficiency studies. Moreover, SCC reference material has been made available for national and international use.

SCC threshold in milk The first approach to define the categories of udder health started after the availability of a suitable method for cell counting in the early 1970s in the IDF Mastitis Group. On the basis of more than 8,000 quarter milk samples, analyzed at the Kiel Institute in Germany, the following categories were agreed upon in 1971 (3): 1. SCC <500,000/ml and no pathogens present – normal secretion 2. SCC <500,000/ml and pathogens present – latent infection 3. SCC >500,000/ml and no pathogens present – disturbance of secretion 4. SCC >500,000/ml and pathogenic microorganisms present – mastitis This approach has led to some misunderstanding. The figure of 500,000 cells/ml was proposed as a limit or threshold for “mastitic milk” at the quarter level. However, follow-up investigations have clearly shown, that the SCC of a healthy quarter of a lactating cow is <100,000 cells/ml (2). The recommendation of an SCC value for bulk milk (ex farm milk) will always be a compromise due to the mixture of milk from animals with different health status of the mammary gland. In 1973, principles of mastitis control were published [IDF Bulletin No. 76] (3), stating that the control strategy should be based on systematic testing for SCCs in bulk milk. It was already envisaged to define a SCC classification and to establish “quality classes” (e.g. <500,000, <1.0 million and <1.5 million cells/ml).

SCC and the introduction into the practice of quality payment and mastitis control in European countries The first publication of the Kiel Institute on automatic counting of somatic cells in 1966 recommended including SCC in quality payment systems for ex farm milk delivered for further processing to the dairy factories in order to support an effective control of mastitis and improve the

National Mastitis Council

hygienic quality of milk (2). However, it took about 15 years before the SCC, for the first time in Europe, was included in Germany’s “National Ordinance for Testing and Quality Payment of ex Farm Milk” (8 July 1980). Three SCC classes were established, including graduated price reductions (penalties) on a monthly basis, but no rejection of the milk even of the “worst class” was foreseen. A first survey on the “Progress in mastitis control in 23 countries” was published by IDF in 1980 [IDF Bulletin No. 121] (3). Somatic cell counting of bulk milk, made practical on a large scale by the development of electronic methods, was being widely used in European countries and a cornerstone of most of the mastitis control schemes. Active mastitis control programs started with good progress. A third IDF survey on “International progress in mastitis control” [IDF Bulletin No. 187, 1985] (3) showed that all participating countries recommended SCC-based mastitis control measures, mostly administered jointly and in approximately equal proportions by government, dairy industry, farmer organizations, and veterinarians. The number of countries adjusting the milk price according to SCC had increased to 10, with action levels between 250,000 and 1,000,000 cells/ml.

The EU Milk Hygiene Directives and the SCC approach The first harmonized approach in the EU-15 was Directive 85/397/ EEC of the Council (5 August 1985), which covered only the trade of heat treated milk in the Community (i.e. between Member States). The SCC standard for raw ex farm milk to be processed into heat treated milk (pasteurized milk, UHT milk, sterilized milk) was 400,000 cells/ml, expressed as the rolling geometric mean of three tests with monthly intervals. The standard of 400,000 cells/ml was agreed upon as a feasible approach in an Expert Working Group of the Council on the basis of a proposal from the Commission via Germany, combining aspects of safety and suitability and realizing that this figure would not identify a “satisfactory” mastitis situation in the respective herd. Since the trade with raw milk and heat treated milk at that time was rather limited between the EU Member States, this new standard was primarily of concern only to countries exporting milk to other EU countries. It was still possible to keep national standards with higher values for the milk on the domestic market. This opened the possibility for an export-oriented Member State to manufacture two types of milk: one for the Common Market (“export quality”), fulfilling the SCC criterion for ex farm milk, and the other for the national market with national regulations (e.g. payment according to quality). However, the differentiation between “export” and domestic milk was difficult to communicate to consumers. Therefore, in the late 1980s work started on the development of a Directive applicable to the whole EU market. The outcome of these long-lasting and very difficult discussions was the Council Directive 92/46/EEC (16 June 1992), laying down the health rules for the production and marketing of raw milk, heat treated milk

50 Years of Milk Quality

and milk-based products (“Milk Hygiene Directive”) (1) with the SCC standard of 400,000 cells/ml for all ex farm milk. The requirements of the Milk Hygiene Directive and national regulations in the Member States based upon this Directive, are part of food legislation (food inspection) with minimum requirements in order to keep food safe, suitable for the intended use and to avoid misleading the consumer. It is in the responsibility of the Competent Authority to make regular checks on the fulfilment of the requirements from primary producers to the retailers. In parallel to this system, a quality payment system is established by the processing dairies, where the payment is based on the compositional and hygienic quality of the milk in terms of quality classes and with bonuses or price reductions. This is done within the frame of the minimum requirements of the Directive 92/46.

The EU “Hygiene Package” with regulations on SCC The so-called “Hygiene Package” consists of three regulations, which, in contrast to the Directives, are directly and “word by word” applicable in the 27 Member States of the EU. • The Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 (5) gives the general requirements for the hygienic production of food, and the SCC requirements are specified in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 (6) with the following wording: ”Raw milk from the food business operator producing the milk has to meet a somatic cell count of less than 400,000 cells/ml, calculated as a rolling geometric average over three months with at least one sample per month, unless the competent authority specifies another methodology to take account of seasonal variations in production levels”. The last part of this sentence has been the result of an Intervention from Ireland, as in this country large seasonal variations in milk production exist. • The specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin including SCC in milk are laid down in Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 (7). The Competent Authority is to monitor the checks carried out, and with respect to the rolling geometric mean, the following wording applies: ”If the food business operator (i. e. the farmer) has not corrected the situation within three months of first notifying the Competent Authority of non-compliance with the criteria with regard to somatic cell count, delivery of raw milk from the production holding is to be suspended or – in accordance with a specific authorisation or general instructions from the Competent Authority – subjected to requirements concerning its treatment and use necessary to protect public health. This suspension or these requirements are to remain in place until the food business operator has proved that the raw milk again complies with the criteria” • The decisions for the treatment and other use of the milk remain with the Competent Authorities of the respective Member State, taking into consideration a number of other aspects such as environment, waste material disposal, etc.

Continued on page 30


Re-registration, SCC testing and SCC situation EU Member States have developed systems specifying the conditions for re-registration of the affected farm to allow reinstatement of milk delivery to the processing dairy. As an example from Germany: The suspension of milk delivery can be lifted if the geometric mean of three months (including the current month) is below the limit and the SCC values of the current month meet the requirements and the Competent Authority is convinced that all “hygiene measures” necessary are in place. SCC testing in the 27 EU Member States is done in approved government or private laboratories. The results are used for food inspection as well as for the quality payment purposes. Most of the laboratories also offer SCC testing of individual cow milk samples to provide a basis for mastitis control measures. The SCC level of 400,000 cells/ml for ex farm milk is at present of no real concern to the milk producers in Europe. The national SCC averages in some countries (e.g. France, Germany, UK) are 200,000 cells/ml or less, and in other countries (e.g. Switzerland, Norway) values of about 100,000 cells/ml or less are reported.

References 1. Council Directive 92/46/EEC of 16 June 1992 laying down the health rules for the production and placing on the market of raw milk, heat-treated milk and milk-based products. Official Journal of the European Communities No L 268 of 14 September 1992 2. Heeschen, W. 2005. Somatic Cells as Indicator of Milk Hygiene - Scientific Basis and the EU Approach. Proceedings NMC 44th Annual Meeting, January 16-19, 2005, Orlando, Florida 3. Heeschen, W. 2010. IDF and Mastitis - a General Review. Proceedings 5th IDF Mastitis Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand 4. International Dairy Federation (IDF) 1979. Somatic cells in milk: their significance and recommended methods for counting. Bulletin of IDF 114 5. Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 Apr 2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs. Official Journal of the European Union L 139 of 30 Apr 2004 6. Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 Apr 2004 with specific rules on the hygiene of foodstuffs of animal origin. Official Journal of the European Union L 139 of 30 Apr 2004 7. Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 of 29 April 2004 laying down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption. Official Journal of the European Union L 155/206 of 30 April 2004

50 Years of Cooperation with NMC to Help Producers

“We dropped our somatic cell count using Land O’Lakes program. We changed our milking prep routine and now have healthier teat ends and better milk let down—not to mention higher quality premiums.” — Dean Shepek, Shepek Farms, Menominee, Mich. “We lowered our somatic cell count and have been able to maintain it for several years because we’ve stayed on the program. “I don’t know anyone who does it better than our Milk Production Specialist. Milk quality is important to me, and he’s a wealth of the latest information.” —Barb Liebenstein, Wolf Creek Dairy, Dundas, Minn. “He’s another set of eyes that sees things we might not.” — Brad Vold, Dorrich Dairy, Glenwood, Minn. “They help us catch things quickly—before something becomes a problem and costs us money.”

— Nic Schoenberger, Greendale Dairy, Kiel, Wis.

PO Box 64101, St. Paul, MN 55164-0101 1-800-328-9680 www.dairy.landolakes.com


National Mastitis Council

A brief history of SCC regulations in the US


he relationship between somatic cell count (SCC) and abnormal milk has been known for more than 100 years. In 1910, in the Journal of Infectious Disease, Prescott and Breed wrote: "For some time sanitarians have felt that it was important to be able to determine the number of body cells in milk. Large numbers have been held to be undesirable in as much as such conditions seem to be associated with abnormal conditions of the udder." Fifty years passed before action was taken on a national level in the US to establish regulatory limits on milk somatic cell counts. In 1963, the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS)1 appointed an Abnormal Milk Committee to study mastitis problems and develop a course of action. In May 1965, the NCIMS Abnormal Milk Committee presented a resolution requiring laboratory examinations or screening procedures for abnormal milk to be conducted at the same frequency as for bacteriological tests. The NCIMS voting delegates approved the resolution by a close vote. The effective date was July 1, 1967, with a strong recommendation that a screening program be in place by July 1, 1966. At the 1967 Conference, the NCIMS Abnormal Milk Committee presented the Abnormal Milk Program, which was approved and incorporated into the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). As stated in The History and Accomplishments of the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments: “It is certain the subject of consuming interest at the [1967] Conference was the abnormal milk program. Emotions ran probably as high as they did during the ‘Methylene Blue’ discussions of previous years.” The Abnormal Milk Program phased in a SCC limit of 1,500,000 cells/ml. Phase I, effective July 1, 1967, required that screening procedures for the presence of abnormal milk be made at the same frequency as bacteriological tests (at least four times in each sixmonth period). Phase II, effective July 1, 1968, provided procedures for producer notification and farm inspection when SCC exceeded the limit. The final phase (III), effective July 1, 1970, added a penalty clause for non-compliance. Permit suspension occurred if SCC limits were exceeded three out of five times. The original recommendation by the Abnormal Milk Committee called for a SCC limit of 1,000,000 cells/ml; however, this was changed to 1,500,000 cells/ml.

“It is certain the subject of consuming interest at the [1967] Conference was the abnormal milk program.”

50 Years of Milk Quality

During the 1970s, there were several attempts to change the SCC standard. At the 1971 NCIMS, much time was spent on the abnormal milk program and particularly on the effort to reduce the SCC limit from 1,500,000 to 1,000,000 cells/ml. The vote held the standard at 1,500,000 cells/ml. In 1975, a proposal was submitted to drop the SCC standard to 1,000,000 cells/ml. NCIMS delegates voted to maintain the SCC action level at 1,500,000 cells/ml which was in agreement with the action level recommended by the NCIMS Abnormal Milk Committee. An NMC ad hoc committee on abnormal cell counts also opposed a drop in the SCC standard at this time. Then in 1979, delegates rejected a proposal submitted by the NCIMS Abnormal Milk Committee to reduce the SCC limit to 1,300,000 cells/ml. NCIMS delegates finally approved a proposal in 1983 to reduce the standard to 1,000,000 cells/ml. The effective date was July 1, 1986. During the NMC annual meeting prior to the 1983 NCIMS, a concerted effort was made to obtain a recommendation from NMC regarding the proposed action level. However the NMC Board of Directors declined to act. A proposal to reduce the SCC limit further, to 750,000 cells/ml, was submitted in 1989, but no action was taken by NCIMS. In 1991, NMC submitted a proposal to NCIMS recommending a reduction in the SCC limit to 500,000 cells/ml. Voting delegates approved an amended NMC proposal which set the SCC standard at 750,000 cells/ml effective July 1, 1993. NMC submitted another proposal in 1991 to establish a state/national program to collect and report bulk talk SCC data from all commercial herds in the US at least once per year. Although the proposal was not approved, a resolution supporting NMC’s efforts to develop a national SCC database was adopted by the delegates. The resolution encouraged states to voluntarily provide NMC with at least one bulk tank SCC for each dairy herd annually. The first proposal recommending a reduction in the US SCC regulatory limit to 400,000 cells/ml (the same as the SCC standard in the European Union) was submitted to NCIMS in 1997 by Dr. K. Larry Smith, The Ohio State University. No action was taken. For the next four NCIMS conferences (1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005), NMC spearheaded efforts to lower the SCC regulatory standard to 400,000 cells/ml. NMC felt that a SCC limit of 400,000 cells/ml would lead to harmonization of standards for international trade of dairy products; reduce the risk of residues and potential human pathogens and their toxic products in the milk supply; and improve consumer confidence in the safety and wholesomeness of the US milk supply.


Timeline: SCC Regulatory Limits in the US 1963

The National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) appoints a committee to study the problem of mastitis and recommend a course of action for monitoring abnormal milk.


The Abnormal Milk Program, a three-phase program for implementing a somatic cell count limit, is approved by NCIMS. Phase I requires screening procedures for abnormal milk to be conducted at the same frequency as bacteriological tests.


Phase II of the Abnormal Milk Program provides procedures for producer notification and farm inspection when bulk tank SCC exceeds 1,500,000 cells/ml.


Phase III of the Abnormal Milk Program adds a penalty clause when SCC exceeds the 1,500,000 limit three out of five times; effective July 1.

1971, 1975, 1979

Proposals to reduce the SCC limit to less than 1,500,000 were not accepted by NCIMS.

1986 The SCC standard for Grade A milk drops from 1,500,000 to 1,000,000 effective July 1. This was the result of action taken by NCIMS in 1983.


A proposal to decrease the SCC standard to 750,000 submitted to NCIMS; no action taken.

1993 The SCC limit reduced to 750,000 effective July 1.

This was a result of action taken by NCIMS in 1991, when an amended proposal submitted by NMC was approved (original proposal recommended a limit of 500,000).


The first NCIMS proposal to reduce the SCC limit in the US from 750,000 to 400,000 was submitted by K. Larry Smith, Ohio State University. No action taken by NCIMS.


NMC submits its first proposal to NCIMS to reduce the SCC limit to 400,000 based on a 3-month rolling geometric mean. No action was taken.

2001, 2003, 2005

NMC continues to submit NCIMS proposals to lower the SCC limit to 400,000. A few proposals from other groups recommending a lower SCC limit also submitted. No action taken.


Proposals to reduce the SCC limit to 400,000 submitted to NCIMS by NMC and the National Milk Producers Federation. And amended version of the NMPF proposal, which was supported by NMC, nearly passed, failing by only a single vote (25-26).


In addition to the NMC proposals, there were a few proposals from other organizations supporting a tighter SCC standard that were also submitted to NCIMS during this time. Each year NCIMS took no action and the SCC limit remained at 750,000 cells/ml. Opponents argued that SCC is not a public health issue and that reducing the limit will not make the milk supply safer. Others argued that SCC is an international trade issue and not within the scope of NCIMS. Still others felt that maintaining a low SCC is not attainable in certain parts of the US, and would force some dairy farmers out of business. The movement for a tighter SCC standard in the US began to gain strength, however. Many people throughout the industry felt that 2011 might be the year that NCIMS would approve a reduction in the SCC limit. Both the National Mastitis Council and the National Milk Producers Federation submitted proposals to reduce the SCC limit to 400,000 cells/ml at the 2011 Conference. While there was considerable industry support for lowering the SCC limit, as well as support from the Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the USDA Dairy Industry Advisory Committee, ultimately there was not enough support from the state regulators. The final vote was 25 in favor and 26 opposed to lowering the SCC limit in the US from 750,000 to 400,000 cells/ml. The next opportunity to change the US SCC standard in the PMO will be at the 2013 Conference. Regardless of the federal SCC standard in the US, milk products that are exported to the EU must be produced on farms that meet the EU SCC standard of 400,000 cells/ml. The USDA European Health Certification Program outlines the requirements that dairy producers and processors must meet to demonstrate compliance with EU regulations. Although the EU SCC requirement of 400,000 cells/ml for exports from the US has been in place for several years, co-mingled milk samples from silos or tankers had been used for compliance. In late 2011, the USDA announced that effective January 1, 2012, the US dairy industry must begin the transition to testing of the farm-level milk supply to document compliance with the stricter EU standard of 400,000 cells/ml, based on a rolling three-month average SCC for individual farms. The 400,000 cells/ml EU certification requirement is not a US regulation; instead, it is a marketing requirement. Dairy farmers with a bulk tank milk SCC greater than 400,000 cells/ml can still sell milk in the US provided it meets the national 750,000 cells/ml SCC standard, and the milk is not co-mingled with milk that is destined for the export market. However, if processors want to access global markets, producers will need to meet international standards. So in effect, the 400,000 cells/ml SCC requirement will become the new national “standard� in the US. 1 The NCIMS meets every other year to consider proposed changes to the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) and allied documents that establish the conditions under which Grade A milk is produced, inspected, hauled, processed, and packaged in the US. Conference participants include representatives from industry, government, and universities. Voting delegates are limited to the state regulators. All conference actions are subject to review and concurrence by the US Food and Drug Administration.

National Mastitis Council

NMC Scholar spotlights


Her research has focused on Mycoplasma. Specifically, Bustos found that Mycoplasma bovis causes problematic intramammary infections on dairy operations near her home university. Due to the proximity of the problem, Bustos is emotionally connected to her goal of detecting and molecularly identifying the Mycoplasma strains.

Funding for these scholarships comes from the National Mastitis Research Foundation, which is financed through contributions from NMC members and supporters. Up to four NMC Scholars are selected each year.

With a passion for research, Bustos expanded her network of global milk quality associates. “Becoming a member of NMC opened a world of knowledge and experience,” she says. “The organization provides a strong foundation of research and offers updates on milk quality and udder health from researchers who have worked in the industry for years.”

he NMC Scholars program was initiated to support the development of future mastitis researchers and milk quality professionals from around the world.

First introduced in 2007, the program provides travel scholarships for graduate students to attend NMC annual meetings and to encourage their involvement in NMC activities.

The NMC scholars are excellent representatives of the many quality graduate and veterinary students from around the world who are focusing their studies on mastitis and milk quality. The students bring a fresh view and energy to the NMC annual meetings, and will help assure the continued success of NMC. The following scholar spotlights provide a brief overview of a few of the scholarship recipients.

In addition to sharing her research, Bustos plans to give back to NMC by securing an active role in meetings and committees. “To be part of this organization as a scholar is a great prize, but it also brings a great responsibility,” she explains. “NMC committees generate feedback on how to better share information. By working together, we are able to achieve our objectives – that’s reflected in the quality of the group’s professional performance. Working with this international team, I believe we can improve and develop areas of research to deliver innovative results that will improve milk production.”

Karina Bustos

Jolanda Jansen

In January 2011, Karina Bustos packed her bags, grabbed her passport and boarded a plane en route to Arlington, Virginia. Though she left behind proverbial Chilean warm temperatures for habitual east coast cold, the National Mastitis Council Scholar was greeted with familiarity at the NMC’s 50th Annual Meeting.

Neil Armstrong once said that “research is creating new knowledge.”

“Being a part of the NMC meeting was one of the best opportunities for me,” she says. “The meeting allows young researchers like me to share knowledge, opinions and experience with other professionals around the world. It is a forum for international exchange of relevant information.” NMC’s shared goal of milk quality improvement and udder health first intrigued Bustos who is now completing her Master of Science degree at the Universidad de Concepcion in Chile. Recognizing the importance of peer-reviewed research, Bustos applied for NMC’s scholar award in 2010 and then shared her master’s degree research at the 2011 NMC Annual Meeting after receiving a scholarship stipend to attend.

50 Years of Milk Quality

Though Jolanda Jansen agrees with that sentiment, it’s what happens to the knowledge after it’s been created that she’s most excited about. “During my undergraduate career I was given the opportunity to study Dutch dairy farmers’ attitudes, knowledge and behavior regarding mastitis in close cooperation with the Communication Science Group of Wageningen University,” she explains. The collaborative results of that study ultimately led to the development of a five-year program on mastitis control and, subsequently, to the establishment of the Dutch Udder Health Centre: UGCN. Jansen’s active role in the study then secured her a position at the center during her final two years of study. Later, the group funded her Ph.D. program at Wageningen University. Following her doctoral graduation in September 2010, Jansen accepted her current position as a communication consultant at Wageningen UR Livestock Research (a contract research institute of Wageningen


University in the Netherlands). She is also employed by the consulting agency St. Anna Advies. Jansen is steadfast in saying that the best way to generate change is to share knowledge. In her roles, Jansen focuses on communication strategies that are essential in improving animal health. She also serves as a consultant for several herd health programs and on a committee working to reduce the use of antibiotics in the Netherlands. Jansen’s communication presence was amplified when she was named an NMC Scholar during the program’s first year in 2007, receiving a scholarship to attend the 2008 NMC Annual Meeting. “I was lucky to receive a scholarship so that I could come to the annual meeting,” she says. “The most important aspect of NMC is that it facilitates networking among colleagues – especially in science, you need colleagues for feedback and peer review to improve your research and to improve your own skills.” Now that she has joined forces with the organization, Jansen has ideas on how to bridge international gaps through social media. “We can bring people together virtually,” she hints. “NMC facilitates great interaction between colleagues by organizing many events. Although it’s not always possible for me to join, that connection is at the core of NMC’s strength.”

Keena Mullen Working with a variety of dairy breeds alongside an array of researchers and separate from the confines of organic and conventional production, Keena Mullen thinks outside the box. This talented North Carolina State University Ph.D. student was named one of the National

Mastitis Council scholars at its 50th Annual Meeting. Mullen graduated from Washington State University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in animal science. Though she is now fully immersed in the dairy industry, she admits that it wasn’t until her last undergraduate year that she became interested in the field. “Today my research focuses on alternative management strategies for dairy farmers, specifically herbal compounds as alternatives to antibiotic therapy for mastitis treatment,” she says, “specifically applied to the improvement of milk quality and the treatment of mastitis in organic dairy production.” “I have seen organic dairies produce quality milk without the use of antibiotics,” she says, adding that organic dairy producers have worked to secure substitute routes to success as traditional options for prevention and treatment are fewer compared to the conventional dairy world. “Alternatives to antibiotics are used on organic dairies; my goal is to scientifically examine these treatments to see how they work.” Mullen’s passion for mastitis research ultimately led her to her first NMC annual meeting in 2011. “I was fortunate enough to be an NMC Scholar at that meeting,” she smiles, adding that she quickly joined the Membership and Marketing Committee with aspirations to continue her involvement. “The NMC Scholars Program is a huge support system for student scholars as it allows young people the chance to attend a meeting and network with other NMC members. It’s the go-to place for the latest research and news in mastitis and milk quality.” “NMC is an invaluable resource for anyone studying mastitis and milk quality,” she has found. “It is especially important for past and future NMC scholars to determine where research has been done and what novel research is required to advance our understanding of mastitis.” Mullen believes that NMC’s international scope and breadth of presented research will assist in her career goal of eliminating the lines

NMC Scholarship Award Winners




National Mastitis Council

present between organic and conventional dairy production. “I hope that my research can transcend management types and be useful to all dairy farmers,” she says. “The well-rounded discussion and networking opportunities with a variety of groups represented in the NMC membership should help in that process.”

Lies Beekhuis-Gibbon Lies Beekhuis-Gibbon’s road to large animal medicine began at Utrecht University in the Netherlands where her undergraduate studies focused on ruminants. The experience sparked an interest for research which matured during her time at the Royal Veterinary College in London and through her residency at the University College Dublin, Ireland. It was during her residency that Beekhuis-Gibbon was first introduced to the National Mastitis Council. “At the time, I was finishing the final six months of my residency and completing a project that I had been working on for much of that time,” Beekhuis-Gibbon remembers. “The practical project focused on the development and implementation of an HACCP-based mastitis control program for six Irish dairy farmers.” Beekhuis-Gibbon then began applying what she had learned through the project on additional dairies after her residency. In 2011, she started working for the Welsh Regional Veterinary Centre in South-West Wales where she currently works as a large animal veterinarian specializing in dairy cattle. “Most of my mastitis work now involves solving and monitoring SCC and clinical mastitis problems on individual farms,” she says, adding that she also organizes producer meetings on mastitis prevention and control throughout the region.

Beekhuis-Gibbon’s willingness to share her research partially stems from on-going involvement with NMC. In 2010, she attended the 49th NMC annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico as an NMC scholar. The 4,700 mile trek paid off as the young researcher began discussing her doctoral project with mastitis researchers from across the world. “The NMC scholarship helped me to get up-to-date research knowledge from a North American perspective,” she says. “I also met experts and students from around the world. That has been helpful as dialogue across and between continents improves everybody’s expertise in mastitis-related fields.” Along with the networking opportunities, Beekhuis-Gibbon was excited to see NMC’s commitment to milk quality through its producer awards. “Though research is essential, it’s great to see farmers given credit for their input and dedication,” she says.

Ingrid Zwertvaegher In January 2011, Ingrid Zwertvaegher took a break from her studies at Ghent University in Belgium to travel to Arlington, Virginia. Close to 3,400 miles from home, the young researcher found familiarity in a group of researchers and milk quality experts known as the National Mastitis Council. “I was given the opportunity to attend the NMC 50th Annual Meeting thanks to the group’s scholar award,” she says. “At the meeting, I presented my work on teat dimensions during the Research and Development Summaries Session and the Technology Transfer Session.” During her presentations, Zwertvaegher discussed research she worked on while pursuing a Ph.D. at Ghent University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in collaboration with The Institute for Agricultural


50 Years of Milk Quality



and Fisheries Research (ILVO) Technology Food Science Unit in Flanders, Belgium. “Mastitis continues to be the most economically important disease of dairy cattle,” she says, explaining that the complexity of the issue is what motivated her to further study mastitis. “Besides financial stress, mastitis is also significant from animal welfare, public health and social points of view.”

Notes and Quotes from NMC Presidents “This is your Council. Your officers want it to serve your needs. No organization can be of great value without active and serious counsel and guidance by its membership.”

Her research has looked at factors influencing teat morphology and the relationship with udder health in Holstein cows.

H.G. Hodges, DVM (from: President’s Report, 1967 NMC Annual Meeting)

“The goal of my study is to identify factors influencing teat dimensions and determine at which level (herd, cow, quarter) most variation resides,” she summarizes. “This information could be helpful in formulating directives to deal with the existing variation in teat morphology.”

“...the forum of ideas, thinking, expression and action that has been afforded by this Council in open discussion and policy has been a focal point of progress.”

“Furthermore, information on the relation between teat dimensions and liner design will help us to advise farmers on liner choice,” she adds. “Advising farmers on milking management based on thorough research is where my personal and professional goals are situated.” “If the liner does not fit the teat properly, its function to cyclically massage the teat can be strongly impaired, negatively influencing udder health,” she said. Zwertveagher’s hope is that the information generated from her research might enable better liner selection and may lead to more uniform teat dimensions within a herd through selective breeding. The expanded network that she obtained by attending the NMC 50th Annual Meeting is helping her spread that message. “NMC supports young researchers in their careers by encouraging contact with researchers active in the same domain,” she says. “By discussing our work, we have a great opportunity to exchange ideas and expertise.”

NMC Scholarship Award Winners


James Smathers, Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers (from: President’s Report, 1970 NMC Annual Meeting) “The impact of the Council has been greater than most of us may suspect. Much of the progress of the last 12 years toward widespread understanding concerning causes and control of mastitis, improved milking procedures for controlling milk quality, and current progress in the area of dry cow therapy and teat dipping have been due in large part to efforts of the National Mastitis Council and its committees.” Don Jasper, University of California-Davis (from: President’s Report, 1973 NMC Annual Meeting) “Because our collective strength and effectiveness is the sum of our individual efforts, I would urge each of you as you sit through these meetings, to ask yourselves how you can contribute more to the aims and productivity of the Council.” Richard Mochrie, North Carolina State University (from: President’s Report, 1977 NMC Annual Meeting) “NMC continues to interact on the international front with many organizations and individuals. As we move toward NMC’s mission of ‘providing a forum of education and global exchange of information on milk quality, mastitis and relevant research,’ this is an increasingly important aspect for us.” Gary Heinrich, Pharmacia Animal Health (from: President’s Report, 2002 NMC Annual Meeting) “While the NMC annual meeting provides a venue for the exchange and dissemination of factual knowledge about mastitis and milk quality, it is also a great opportunity to have a good time. Friendships discovered at the meetings have served many of us our entire career. I urge everybody to enjoy visiting with old friends and make a few new ones...” Joe Hogan, Ohio State University (from: President’s Report, 2007 NMC Annual Meeting)


National Mastitis Council

©2011 Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. BIVI-4700-NMC50-Ad1D

We cherish our dairy farming customers who define what a family business is all about. That’s partly because we’re a family business, too. And, just as NMC is a trusted name in milk quality education, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. is the name behind a trusted line of products to help dairy farmers everywhere produce high-quality, wholesome milk. Congratulations, NMC. Here’s to your next 50 years.

Continuing NMC’s global reach in the future Members value research platform, networking opportunities


he National Masitis Council’s lasting success is the result of five decades of innovative thinking, industry involvement and global presence. The mission of the National Mastitis Council, ‘Provide a forum for education and global exchange of information on milk quality, mastitis and relevant research. Communicate that information to the dairy industry to enable it to control mastitis and improve milk quality’ is possible by the unique and comprehensive skills of academic, industry and farming members representing more than 40 countries. The collective and accumulative knowledge, experience and wisdom is shared openly and freely. Maintaining this tradition is fundamental to the continued success of NMC. New members and future leaders benefit immensely from NMC, having both much to gain and much to give. A few of NMC’s members and emerging leaders describe their views and experiences of NMC in this roundtable discussion. Elizabeth Berry: DairyCo, United Kingdom Elizabeth Berry was appointed the head of knowledge transfer for DairyCo by the United Kingdom’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board in July 2011. The road to her present position began when she qualified as a veterinarian and began her career in mixed service practice. Berry then moved to Genus Breeding where she managed a team of ten field staff before returning to school to receive her Ph.D. in bovine mastitis. Next, she managed the applied research group at the Institute for Animal Health at Compton and joined DairyCo as a research and development manager in 2009. Berry connected with NMC in 1997 and has since remained active in various leadership roles, including a time as chair of the Milk Quality Monitoring Committee. Her involvement

Elizabeth Berry 38

has been further enhanced through research presentations at annual meetings and short courses. “Joining NMC and attending meetings has provided great international insight and good contacts with people in my area of specialization,” she emphasizes. “All has been positive.” Henk Hogeveen: Utrecht University, Netherlands As an associate professor of animal health economics at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Henk Hogeveen contributes to the international scope of NMC. Born on a Dutch dairy operation, he attended Wageningen University to study animal science before receiving a Master of Science in veterinary epidemiology and animal health economics. He continued his research focus and applied methods from the field on mastitis diagnosis during his doctoral work, including relating automatic milking to milk quality. “During my Ph.D., I went to my first NMC meeting,” he remembers. “It was a great experience and I still remember the natural way that academic researchers, extension workers and people from the industry were interacting. Other meetings I went to were far more academic in nature.” Since then, Hogeveen has attended several NMC annual meetings. Jason Koerth: Ecolab, USA Jason Koerth is employed in corporate account sales at Ecolab living in Portage, Michigan. He has held the role for ten years. Raised on a Wisconsin dairy operation, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison dairy science program before working in the feed industry throughout Indiana and Michigan.

Henk Hogeveen

Jason Koerth National Mastitis Council

Now at Ecolab, he focuses on improving milk quality on dairy operations across the country.

treatment and diagnosis in school did not translate well on the farm; I wanted to know why.”

“I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to observe the inner workings of dairies from coast to coast,” he says, crediting his involvement with NMC for propelling his interest in mastitis research and discussion. “I have been an NMC member for several years, and have attended the last four annual meetings. I became involved in the planning committee for the regional meeting held in Grand Rapids, Michigan and that led to my involvement in the NMC planning committee for the 2012 Annual Meeting.”

That interest led Walker to a residency position at UC-Davis before she received her Ph.D. in veterinary preventative medicine from Ohio State University. While working on her doctorate degree, Walker was named an NMC Scholar for 2010.

Mario Lopez: DeLaval - West Agro, USA Currently employed by DeLaval-West Agro in Kansas City, Missouri, Mario Lopez grew up in Colombia and received a Bachelor of Science in animal science before journeying to New Zealand to complete his Ph.D. in molecular biology at Lincoln University. There, Lopez’s interest in mastitis began as he investigated the possibility of mastitis resistant genes. Before joining DeLaval’s technical services and clinical trials team in 2007, he worked as a scientist for Dexcel (now DairyNZ) as part of their mastitis research team which focused on the ecology of Streptococcus uberis in pasture-based systems. “NMC has always been a ‘must’ source of information on mastitis and milk quality,” he declares. “I became actively involved after attending my first meeting in 2008. I thoroughly enjoy the interaction with researchers, farmers and extension staff. There is no better place to learn about mastitis and milk quality.” Jennifer Walker: Dean Foods, USA Currently the director of dairy stewardship at Dean Foods Company in Dallas, Texas, Jennifer Walker’s interest in mastitis research stems from her work in veterinary medicine. A 2000 graduate of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, she spent four years as an associate veterinarian in a dairy herd health practice in California where she was responsible for the management of the milk quality lab. “Day-to-day management of milk quality on farms led to a deep interest in mastitis, particularly Staphylococcus aureus,” she recalls. “It seemed that much of what we were taught relative to

Mario Lopez 50 Years of Milk Quality

“NMC has driven me to think critically, search for answers and value an open mind,” she says. Rick Watters: GEA Farm Technologies, USA Rick Watters has played an active role in the dairy industry all of his life. He grew up in Fall River, Wisconsin, where he spent much of his days on his uncle’s dairy operation. He holds a Bachelor of Science in dairy science and agronomy as well as a Master of Science in dairy nutrition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in animal science from Cornell University. He currently utilizes his education and experiences as a milk quality and udder health specialist at GEA Farm Technologies in Naperville, Illinois. Though he credits his education and employment opportunities for providing the backdrop for his career, Watters explains that NMC has been pivotal in shaping his role in the dairy industry. “NMC has introduced me to so many people who have an interest in milk quality and udder health,” he says. “Within NMC, I have served on the conference planning committee and have attended the group’s annual meeting for more than five years. The networking within NMC is amazing.” How has your NMC involvement impacted your career? Hogeveen: When active in a certain field of research, it is important to be in touch with others in that field. NMC provides a much wider platform for interaction (than its European counterparts) because meetings are open. The NMC annual meeting is the only international mastitis event that takes place every year. Koerth: It’s all about the connections! NMC provides the perfect forum for interaction between academia, industry, dairy producers and the international dairy community. Meeting NMC

Jennifer Walker

Rick Watters


members through committee involvement, at social mixers and during free time at meetings has really opened a lot of doors for me. Lopez: By being an active member in NMC, I have not only met experts from around the world in this interesting field, but I’ve also learned and shared with them my own experiences and knowledge. Personally, I have felt that my participation in NMC has paid off and I am a better professional because of it. Watters: NMC has impacted my career by introducing me to scientists and industry experts that share a common passion in milk quality. I have had so many discussions during breaks or at dinner about milk quality, and NMC has made all this possible. NMC has given me an opportunity to discuss new and old ideas with colleagues and learn about cutting edge research from world renowned scientists. How is NMC fostering a positive experience for its young leaders? What can be done to encourage increased benefits to new members? Berry: Everyone at NMC is very welcoming and approachable. With that, it’s important to encourage young members to join in committees and other areas so that all members take part where possible. Once you become involved, membership is an excellent value and meeting fees are very reasonable. Koerth: It is critical to get young leaders in the door. NMC does a great job encouraging participation once you are in, but I'm not sure that enough people in the dairy industry know what NMC is all about. Fostering an environment that encourages new ideas, supports creativity and values new input is critical. Lopez: NMC has several initiatives to encourage young members to keep the organization alive for the next 50 years or more. Scholarship awards, poster presentations and open invitations to become part of the existing committees and social events are among the several possibilities that NMC offers its members. It is up to each individual to make NMC an important part of their professional career. Walker: NMC has a long history based on a strong, core group of individuals with views that are well-documented and wellrepresented. Research that challenges current dogma should be supported and discussed with an open mind. At the same time, newcomers could benefit from the shared knowledge of the organization; NMC offers the two groups the opportunity to work side-by-side. How can NMC members get the maximum benefit from their membership? Berry: Being an international member, I use the website and shared literature often. The website is really easy to search;


joining means you have access to a database of other members’ emails and opportunities to join committees and networks. Hogeveen: The real benefit comes when people are active. Being active enlarges your network much faster. By sharing knowledge and talents with others, members receive knowledge and talents from others in return. Koerth: The key to receiving benefit on a personal level is to attend as many events as possible and start networking. The challenge for NMC lies in recruitment – with a relatively narrow scope, there are a lot of industry professionals that don't get involved. Walker: The best way to find benefits in any organization is to get involved. Through NMC, people from all segments of the industry can meet others with similar interests and expand their knowledge base by attending meetings, volunteering for committees and participating in the organization. Watters: NMC members can get the maximum benefit by meeting someone new each time they attend a meeting. I have learned more about milk quality in different regions of the United States and the world by introducing myself to someone I don’t know each time I attend. I would also challenge everyone to talk with international members about the challenges of milk quality on an global basis. The short courses are nothing short of amazing and I would recommend that everyone sign up for one or more short courses during each meeting. What are the key areas that NMC excels in? What aspects of the organization could be improved to ensure a successful future? Hogeveen: NMC is doing well in their meetings and materials. Because I am from Europe, I think NMC can improve on its international face. The groups should also create a process that will determine clear future goals. Volunteer-based organizations do not change fast but setting a concrete future outlook may direct people working in NMC to work towards tangible goals. Koerth: NMC puts on meetings that are truly first class and very educational. Though they may benefit from additional member involvement, the participation and membership of the academic and international communities is very impressive. Lopez: The combination of researchers, industry representatives, government representatives, clinicians, field extension and dairy farmers creates an environment where healthy discussions on the importance of milk quality and management of mastitis take place. NMC is a reference point for research and it is the place to go for an update on new and past information. The group is making some changes to adapt to new generations; it will be interesting to see how these changes impact the future of the organization.

National Mastitis Council

Legends in mastitis research


uring the existence of the National Mastitis Council, a number of individuals have greatly increased our knowledge of mastitis control in dairy herds and have contributed to the success of the Council. The following list of names is meant to acknowledge some of these individuals that are now either deceased or retired from active participation in mastitis research. The world’s dairy industry owes this group of dedicated research workers, “legends”, a deep appreciation for their considerable efforts. Because of their work, mastitis control on dairy farms and the quality of the world’s milk supply has measurably improved.

Don Barnum College of Veterinary Medicine University of Guelph Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Ken Leslie Ontario Veterinary College University of Guelph Guelph, Ontario, Canada

John Bramley Department of Animal Sciences University of Vermont Burlington, Vermont

Graeme Mein Milking Research and Instruction Laboratory, University of Wisconsin and Dairy Equipment Company Madison, Wisconsin (now Werribee, Victoria, Australia)

Ed Carroll College of Veterinary Medicine University of California Davis Davis, California Frank Dodd National Institute for Research in Dairying Reading, United Kingdom Robert Eberhart Department of Veterinary Science College of Agriculture Pennsylvania State University State College, Pennsylvania

W. Nelson Philpot Hill Farm Research Station Louisiana State University Homer, Louisiana Bernard Poutrel Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique Nouzilly, France

Frank Neave National Institute for Research in Dairying Reading, United Kingdom

Oscar Schalm College of Veterinary Medicine University of California Davis Davis, California

Frank Newbould College of Veterinary Medicine University of Guelph Guelph, Ontario, Canada

W. Don Schultze Milk Secretion and Mastitis Laboratory US Department of Agriculture, ARS Beltsville, Maryland

Jerry O’Shea Moorepark Research Center Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland

K. Larry Smith Department of Animal Sciences The Ohio State University Wooster, Ohio

Walther Heeschen Federal Dairy Research Centre Kiel and University of Kiel Kiel, Germany

Max Paape Milk Secretion and Mastitis Laboratory US Department of Agriculture, ARS Beltsville, Maryland

Murray Woolford Ruakura Agricultural Research Center Hamilton, New Zealand

Ole Klastrup Statens Veterinary Serum Laboratory Ringsted, Denmark

J. Woodow Pankey Department of Animal Sciences University of Vermont Burlington, Vermont

Gideon Ziv Ministry of Agriculture Kimron Veterinary Institute Bet-Dagan, Israel


National Mastitis Council

Elanco congratulates the National Mastitis Council on 50 years of excellence.

Š 2011 Elanco Animal Health. DBM NMC

If I only knew then what I know now

Members share their thoughts on 50 years of milk quality

Contributed by Dairy Herd Management


indsight is 20-20, a phrase often used to describe the fact that it is easy for one to be knowledgeable about an event after it has happened, can be readily applied to almost anything or any situation. Most people, if given a chance, would probably like to go back in history and change a few things. But, what about mastitis and milk quality? Looking at what we know today, would we go back and change anything if we could?

fighting to lower somatic cell counts for years. The science was there years ago, and the industry has just decided to see the light. “Similarly, the whole issue with the use of rBST, there is a great deal of science behind it, it doesn’t hurt milk or humans and the industry decided to discard the science.

In the spirit of the recent 50th anniversary of the National Mastitis Council, five milk quality experts look back at mastitis and milk quality.

“Just because we come up with good science that might revolutionize the world, it doesn’t mean that people are going to roll over and buy it. I’ve learned that we have to handle politics right along with science.”

Keith Sterner

Eric Hillerton

“When I first started in this business I don’t think I fully appreciated information from the pioneers of mastitis,” says Keith Sterner, veterinarian with Sterner Veterinary Clinic. “There is no way to treat your way out of a mastitis situation. Intrinsically I knew this, and was taught this in veterinary school, but I didn’t fully appreciate it and would have spent more time on it then. The antimicrobial approach to mastitis control is limited at best and not the future of controlling mastitis.

“There are many more hidden dangers in raw foods than we’ve ever appreciated, not just raw milk,” says Eric Hillerton, chief scientist at DairyNZ. “Milk is safe when pasteurized, but people want to go backwards and forget the challenges we’ve overcome with human health.

Keith Sterner

“Historically, as an industry we have been focused on equipment and maintenance, blaming poor quality equipment for some of our mastitis problems. But even then, we recognized some people could produce quality milk with poor equipment because they focused on the concept of keeping cows clean, dry and comfortable. We now have some of the highest-quality equipment in history to milk cows and we still have mastitis problems.”

Larry Smith “The real lesson has been the interaction between science and politics,” says Larry Smith, professor emeritus at Ohio State University. “We’ve approached all issues based on science. But when science and politics collide, generally politics win. “For example, the industry has been


Larry Smith

“People forget that milk used to have a shelf life of only a few hours; fresh milk would be purchased for each meal.

Eric Hillerton

“Redoing this kind of scientific research could become a problem in the future. We should have done a better job of creating successors in research. We’re in danger of losing an entire generation of researchers. People are retiring and their successors or not being hired — it’s an international problem. The industry is going to have to redo work we’ve already done.”

Bucky Jones “Things have changed, but the basics are still the same — keep cows clean and comfortable,” says Bucky Jones, dairy farmer and BouMatic dealer. “We’ve learned that little details make a big difference. Back then, we thought we were doing things right. Fresh cow pens were cleaned out every two or three weeks; today they are cleaned every day.

Bucky Jones National Mastitis Council

“When I first started in this business, teat dip was just coming into play and there was no dry cow treatment. Milk quality was also defined differently. A good somatic cell count was considered 350,000. Now, good is 100,000 or below. “Milking machines and how they functioned used to be a contentious topic. I remember meetings getting loud and lots of heated arguments. Today, more than 95 percent of people agree on how the milking machine operates.”

Paul Thompson “Back then and still now, more important than the piece of equipment bought, it’s the quality of installation, maintenance and quality of service of the equipment,” says Paul Thompson, adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison. “Twenty-five years ago, companies had very distinctive designs and concepts when it came to milking equipment. Paul Thompson Today, companies focus on features and benefits, but the fundamental two-chambered teat cup is universally accepted. The differing factors are now about how the fundamental concept is implemented to do the job in the best possible way.

Congratulations National Mastitis Council Thank you for 50 years of commitment to value, devotion to quality milk and service to the dairy industry.

“Automation and the information collected weren’t part of the features sold 50 years ago; today they’re the most prominent features. The debate used to be about extremes of high vacuum or low pulsation rates or none at all. Over the years, those extreme approaches to milking have gone away, and the science is more productively spent zeroing in on the best solutions.”

www.AandL-Labs.com These members were also asked to share their thoughts on the next 50 years of milk quality. See “The future of milk quality” on page 46.

A&L Laboratories – Protecting the World’s Food Supply with Udder Hygiene and Sanitation 50 Years of Milk Quality


The future of milk quality

Members share their thoughts on the next 50 years

Contributed by Dairy Herd Management


redicting what will happen tomorrow, let alone the next 50 years, is almost impossible. But these five milk quality experts philosophize on what they think the future of milk quality might look like.

Keith Sterner “Many people that have tried to predict the future have gotten it spectacularly wrong and I will probably be no exception to that rule,” says Keith Sterner, veterinarian with Sterner Veterinary Clinic in Ionia, Michigan. “But in the future, I believe that dairy farmers and dairy products are going to be at the mercy of consumer perception. Consumers want food that’s not only delicious and nutritious, but also that they can feel good about. “In the future, large organizations like Safeway and WalMart will dictate welfare and somatic cell count standards. Dairy farmers are also going to be more affected by what the housewife thinks about

farming and animal husbandry conditions. With the advent of the Internet, what happens at cow-side becomes national news in a blink of an eye. This will only increase. “In regards to mastitis, genetics will play a major role. We are in the infancy of genomics, and geneticists are working to breed cows that are resistant to mastitis. The genetic manipulation is the future, not antimicrobials, as long as consumers perceive it as natural. “Water availability is likely to change where the dairy industry will be located and thrive. As a result, we are going to need milk in forms that can be reconstituted, so it can be hauled longer distances.”

Larry Smith “In the future, all regulations will be more stringent. Somatic cell count will be lowered to 400,000, and then down closer to 200,000 or 100,000 worldwide. Other countries will force somatic cell counts lower as they try to get the edge on the world market,” says Larry Smith, professor emeritus at Ohio State University. “More sophisticated tests are under development to look for new things in food products and make them measurable; for example, E. coli, Salmonella and MRSA. When the price of these tests comes down, the entire milk supply will be screened for these things. The number of things we evaluate the safety of our products for will only increase. I also see all regulations for bacteria counts tightening up in the future.”

Eric Hillerton

Happy 50th Anniversary, NMC. Congratulations on your commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of the dairy industry across the world.

“The future is going to be all about feeding 9.5 billion people,” says Eric Hillerton, chief scientist with DairyNZ. “There are only a few countries that can produce the quantity of milk we are going to need, which means we are going to have to work together. “A challenge is that each country has a different definition of quality. In the US, quality is all about bacteria counts. Europe says somatic cell count is an indication of an unhealthy animal. “To produce enough dairy products to feed 9.5 billion people, we are going to have to exchange information and understand each other.

© 2011 IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved. • 100850-00


Each milk quality industry member looked back on the past 50 years of milk quality and mastitis on page page 44.

National Mastitis Council

There is a lot of progress being made on this front, but there is a long way to go. The future is producing products to sell elsewhere, not just the US market.”

Bucky Jones “DNA sequencing and genetics will make a big difference in the future of mastitis control,” says Bucky Jones, dairy farmer and BouMatic dealer. “In the next 50 years, we will be selecting sires to use in the herd based on resistance to mastitis. I also foresee there will be better vaccines and more automation. But the basics will still stay the same: milk clean, dry and comfortable cows. “The role organizations like the National Mastitis Council play will only increase. As universities cut research programs due to lack of funding, industry organizations and the private sector will have to step into the gap to fund research. “Consolidation of the dairy industry will also happen. In my county, there were 220 dairy farmers, now there are two. Whether or not you believe consolidation is good or bad, it’s immaterial; it’s happening and will continue to happen.”

50 Years of Milk Quality

Paul Thompson “Standards for milk quality will get tighter and tighter, consumers will demand more shelf life and better taste,” says Paul Thompson, adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. “Internationalized companies with the highest standards will set the bar. In order for milk to move globally, it will become more and more standardized. “Sales of specialized milk will also increase. There will be more boutique milk, such as cream lines and glass bottles. This sector won’t dominate, but it will grow. “As far as milking equipment goes, the big opportunity will be in data collection, management and process automation. There is already a lot of computing power for tabulating information on-farm, but in the future there will be more accuracy and better data collection. Future data systems will suggest management decisions and offer more guidance. Systems will also be in place to monitor the conditions the cow is living in to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. “Automation will also stretch beyond milking and include manure management and feeding. Manual labor will continue to be replaced with automated equipment.”


Good people and more good people “Looking over the speakers, the boards of directors and the officers from meetings during the first half of NMC’s existence is like looking at lists of the movers and influencers of our industry. Early on, NMC realized its objective of providing a forum for those from different segments to reinforce each others’ work and knowledge, and in the process to provide an educational forum through which educators and influencers could learn a holistic approach to mastitis control and management. This function continues today, and if there is a single thought I’d end with, it is to continue to have the gates open and the tent spread wide to include the widest possible breadth and depth of participation in our organization and its work.”

- Paul Thompson, 1989 NMC President, from his presentation at the NMC 50th Annual Meeting (in 2011)

Thank you to our sponsors We appreciate your contribution toward the commemorative booklet. A&L Laboratories, Inc. Alltech Boehringer-Ingelheim BouMatic DairyBusiness Communications Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. Dairy Herd Management

Dairy Today DeLaval, Inc. Ecolab Inc. Elanco Animal Health Filament Marketing GEA Farm Technologies, Inc. Hoard’s Dairyman

IDEXX Laboratories Land O'Lakes, Inc. Lauren AgriSystems Pfizer Animal Health Progressive Dairyman