Influence of hygiene status of cows on somatic cell count and milk components during summer season
Introduction - Keeping cows in clean and healthy condition is one of the most important management practices for obtaining quality milk. Therefore, cleaning and hygiene processes have great importance for dairy farms. Although the bacterial count of raw milk has been accepted as the most reliable parameter, somatic cell count (SCC) has widely been used to detect milk quality or mastitis. In addition, hygiene score (HS) scales are used to determine cow hygiene status. Many publications are available on milk SCC in dairy cows. However, the number of studies on the association of HS with SCC and milk components in dairy cows has been limited. Therefore, further investigations are required to determine the effect of HS on SCC and milk components in dairy cows. Aim - The objective of this study was to determine the relationships of hygiene status of udders and teats with SCC and milk components in cows. Materials and methods - Holstein (n = 32), Simmental (n = 46) and Holstein x Simmental crossbred (n = 37) cows reared at the private dairy farm in the Samsun region of Turkey were scored by sanitary conditions of udders (UHS), rear legs (LHS) and flanks (FHS) using a scale with 1 to 4 points (1 = very clean and 4 = very dirty). The SCC data were obtained by a portable cell counter (DeLaval, Tumba, Sweden), and fat (F), total dry matter (TDM), protein (P), lactose (L) and total minerals (M) were analyzed using an automatic milk analyzer (Lactostar, Funke-Gerber, Berlin, Germany). Results and discussion - The most frequent scores for UHS, LHS and FHS were 1 (59.0%), 2 (44.4%) and 1 (68.4%), respectively. Raw milk samples were analyzed by TDM, F, P, L, M and SCC. It was determined that L and M differed (P<0.01) by breeds and that all components were affected (P<0.01) by sampling months and hygiene scores, except for F. The greatest dirtiness by UHS and FHS was recorded from Holstein cows (P<0.01) in June and July, and June, July and August, respectively. Conclusion - Results of the study show that the hygienic status of cows is crucial to ensure high quality bovine raw milk. It is suggested that cows with UHS≥3 points should be avoided in the herds.