Impact of somatic cell count and lameness on the production and composition of ewe's milk
Keywords:ewes, lameness, somatic cell count, order of entry
High somatic cell count (SCC) in milk and lameness are two very serious problems on the farms. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of lameness, SCC, month and order of entry into the milking parlour on the milk production and its composition. The relationship between lameness and SCC and their impact on the order of entry was also evaluated. The experiment was carried out at the farm, located in northern Slovakia. The farm keeps sheep crossbred of Improved Valachian and Lacaune. Milking was performed two times a day in milking parlor 1x24. Samples of milk were taken once a month by evening milking: May, July. In May, individual milk samples were taken from 214 random sampling ewes with milk yield minimum 300 mL per milking. In July, only from selected ewes in May, the milk samples, milk yield and lameness were recorded. Order of ewes entry into the milking parlour in milking row (one milking row is 24 animals) was recorded in both months. In total 23 milking rows were recorded. Ewes was divided by lameness (non-lame, slightly lame, strong lame), by SCC (A1 = to 2x105 cells, A2 = from 2x105 to 4x105 cells, A3 = from 4x105 to 7x105 cells, A4 = from 7x105 to 10x105 cells, A5 = over 10x105 cells.mL-1) and by the order of entry of ewes into the milking parlour (in first group of ewes were milked in 1-5 rows, second 6-11, third 12-17, fourth 18-23 ones). No effect of lameness was found out on milk yield. Lameness in July affected the order of entry into milking parlour in July as compared with their order of entry recorded in May. The strong lame ewes entered 4.19 ±1.07 milking rows later in July than in May. Only 11.2% and 4.2% of milk samples were found out in a group with SCC >10x105 cells.mL-1 during May and July respectively. In both months, the production of lactose was lower in groups with higher SCC. Ewes entering into the milking parlour earlier had higher SCC as ewes entering into milking parlour later in July but no effect was seen in May. In conclusion the studies under practical conditions deserve continuous research attention to identify risk factors of management affecting lameness and udder health for further improvement of sheep breeding.
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