The use of an automatic milking system does not reduce health or increase the use of antibiotics compared to a conventional milking machine. Researcher Zhaoju Deng, who hopes to obtain a PhD from the University of Utrecht (UU) on July 15, says it is mainly related to the attitude of the cattle farmer.
According to Deng, the increasing use of automated milking systems combined with modern sensors and big data technologies is enabling a global shift in the management of mastitis in dairy cows.
The researcher points out that most of the risk factors for dairy cows on farms using a milking robot are the same as for farms using a traditional milking machine. But the use of an automated milking system requires special attention to ecological mastitis. Hygiene of dairy cows and milking machine is more important, due to the infectious pressure of pathogens in the environment. On the other hand, the risk of transmission of pathogens associated with cows appears to be lower when a milking robot is used.
Better management of mastitis
The researcher sees opportunities to use automated mastitis indicators to improve the management of mastitis in livestock. He applied statistical and epidemiological modeling methods to prove this. According to Deng, the use of sensors can help farms manage prophylactic mastitis and make decisions about antibiotic use.
Ding concludes, “Modern sensing technology offers many possibilities to help manage mastitis and provides new insights into the dynamics of mastitis infection in dairy cows.”