Prioritization of research on udder health (former Diagnostics of Streptococcus agalactiae in herd investigation of udder health problems)
In the original application the overall aim was to generate cost-effective sampling recommendations and evaluation routines for diagnostics of SRA-infected cows in dairy herds affected by udder health problems due to SRA. The Farmers' foundation for agricultural research (SLF) instead decided to give funding for the organisation of collaborative meetings for udder health scientists at SLU/SVA regarding priorities of research on udder health at the Nordic level. Later, the dierctions were changed so that the project primarily was to deal with priorities of future research in udder health from a Swedish perspective with the help of representatives from dairy farmers, advisors and scientists.
In the project back ground knowledge on needs for research on udder health identified in reports at the international and Nordic levles during 2011-2012 and from a recent (Oct 2013) summary from 2015 on priorities in mastitis research in Denmark was compiled. To get a picture of needs for problem solveing related to udder health in Swedish dairy cow herds a workshop was organised for representatives of dairy farmers, herd advisors/veterinarians, scientists and SLF.
As mastitis is a complex multifactorial disease the need for knowledge is broad. Despite vast international, Nordic and Swedish research within mastitis during many years there are still many areas where the knowledge is limited. The introduction and access of new technology, e.g. within bacteriologic diagnostics, has also meant that new questions and possibilities have occurred. Structural changes within milk production and new production and milking systems has also led to the need for new knowledge. Therefore there is need for many new research and/or development projects. To prioritize between different projects is difficult but necessary when the funding is limited.
The aim of the project was to prioritize between projects based on real problems in the herds. This meant the need to identify development and research projects. An important point which was raised was that the prerequisite for improvements of udder health at the farm is that the results of new and relevant research are spread to and implemented by farmers and advisors/veterinarians. It was the opinion of the group that more needs to be done to make this chain function well and that there already is a lot of knowledge that needs to be spread and implemented. Here, it is also important to identify good ways to communicate with and motivate farmers and advisors/veterinarians. This does not, however, mean that there is no need for new research projects within mastitis. The group identified a number of knowledge areas where new projects hsould be initiated. Within som areas development projects can also be suitable. Areas where new research is needed were buildings and udder health, best ways to communicate and mtoivate, cost efficiency of preventive measures, importvements of AMS technology, cost efficient and secure diagnostics of infected cows, better early warning systems and instructions on suitable measures at cow and herd level, spread of infections and control (mainly S aureus and Str agalactiae) of cows and herds, heat stress - importance and measures, importance of coagulase negative staphylococci, optimisation of routines for antibiotic treatment of acute clinical mastitis and optimized routines for supporting treatments. The participants agreed that project on preventive measures have the highest priority.