The influence of intensively managed rotational grazing, traditional continuous grazing, and confinement housing on bulk tank milk quality and udder health

J Dairy Sci. 1992 Jan;75(1):96-104. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(92)77743-1.


Monthly bulk tank milk samples and veterinary records were analyzed for 1 yr on 15 Vermont dairy farms. Data were evaluated using ANOVA to compare effects of grazing management systems on milk quality and udder health. Systems evaluated were intensively managed rotational grazing, traditional continuous grazing, and confinement housing. Bulk tank samples were evaluated for standard plate count, bacterial type counts on tryptose-blood-esculin agar, and SCC. Veterinary records were evaluated for incidence of clinical mastitis, udder edema, and teat injuries. Within- and between-treatment group analyses were conducted by season, herd size, and udder sanitation systems. Mean standard plate counts were lower in rotationally grazed herds than counts of confined herds during the grazing season. Similarly, rotationally grazed herds with fewer than 60 cows had lower standard plate counts than confined herds of similar size. Mean bulk tank counts of streptococci other than Streptococcus agalactiae during the grazing season differed among treatments. The lowest counts occurred in rotationally grazed herds. Among herd using predip products recognized as efficacious, fewer streptococci other than S. agalactiae were isolated from bulk tank milk of rotationally grazed herds than confined herds. Rotationally grazed herds using postdips recognized as efficacious had lower SCC than those using unrecognized postdips. No udder health differences were observed among grazing treatments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry*
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Count / veterinary
  • Dairying / methods*
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Housing, Animal*
  • Incidence
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Mastitis, Bovine / epidemiology*
  • Milk / cytology
  • Milk / microbiology
  • Milk / standards
  • Seasons
  • Vermont / epidemiology