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Reducing antibiotic use with labor training

A veterinarian says dairy farmers can reduce the use of antibiotics with better employee training.

Ron Erskine with Michigan State University Extension tells Brownfield mastitis is one of the main reasons antibiotics are used on dairy farms and can leave long-term impacts on the cow’s health as well as farm’s profitability.  “Mastitis costs producers lots of money, it decreases the production capacity of the cow, it decreases her longevity or she gets culled earlier, it can lead to a more dramatic representation of it being clinical mastitis.”

He says research is finding better ways to use tools to test for mastitis as well as improve the education of employees in the milking parlor.  “I think it goes beyond training the ‘how to do things,’ I think many farmers would be surprised how much employees want to know ‘why’ they do things, and that’s the difference—that’s education verses training.”

Erskine’s study has partnered with herd veterinarians to improve milking protocols and provide more consistent and thorough training for employees to reduce mastitis cases and a need for antibiotics.

Brownfield spoke with Erskine during the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference.

AUDIO: Interview with Ron Erskine

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