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Bulk Milk Monitoring on NY Dairy Farms

Tikofsky, Linda; Schukken, Ynte
Cornell University
Start date
End date
Assessment and application of new technologies that advance mastitis control, milk quality and dairy food safety. For this bulk milk monitoring project we aim to collaborate with the stations in Virginia, Wisconsin and Tennessee and two Canadian members(Prince Edward Island, Calgary). Collaboration will be in the area of test development (multiplex real time qPCR testing for food borne pathogens) and developments of recommendations for pathogens identified through the bulk milk testing program.


  1. Organize 5 Producer Meetings in collaboration with Extension Educators. The goal of these meetings is to inform dairy producers about the availability of bulk milk monitoring tools and to identify potential participants in the research project.
  2. Enroll 100 farms from all regions of the state and across herd size and farm management practices.
  3. Work with Stakeholder advisory committee and Extension Educators to develop and test herd survey and data collection tool for herd visits.
  4. Perform Farm Visits to 100 enrolled farms. Collect herd management data, scoring information and bulk milk samples.
  5. Analyze collected data; identify relevant relationships between herd information and bulk milk testing results. Translate results to the monitoring manual that is continually improved throughout this project.
  6. Report and Present results of research to participating farms, through publications in farmer journals, through peer-reviewed publications and through producer meetings.
More information
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Food safety, emerging animal diseases and bioterrorism threats have the potential of contributing to market volatility, produce unfavorable consumer reactions, create policy debates, spark trade disputes, and contribute to industry frustrations. Globally, consumers are concerned about the safety of the products that they are consuming. The dairy industry strives to meet high demands, expectations, and standards with regard to animal health, food quality, and food safety. It is important for the dairy industry as a whole to pro-actively show a commitment to consumer concerns. Bulk tank monitoring is an easy, timely, and inexpensive monitoring tool for dairy farm managers. The objective of this integrated project is to show the direct correlation between current on-farm practices and bulk tank monitoring results. We will visit 100 dairy farms throughout NY to perform a management survey and observe management practices. This visit will coincide with the collection of bulk milk samples which will be evaluated for animal health , food safety pathogens and milk quality parameters. The survey data will be correlated with the measured parameters in the bulk tank milk. Our extension activities will promote bulk milk monitoring on dairy farms as a rapid detection system with an associated targeted response to changes in animal health status, milk quality and food safety of the farm. We will also use this framework to develop an emergency preparedness system for the dairy industry.

APPROACH: Extension efforts: The team will conduct producer meetings to communicate the value of bulk milk monitoring, including a brief explanation of the importance of testing for each groups of tests. This will be done in close collaboration with veterinary practitioners and Cornell Cooperative Extension dairy teams throughout the state. Going full circle, the final efforts in this project are again in collaboration with CCE bringing all the results and conclusions out to the participants and the dairy industry throughout the state (presentations and articles in Northeast Dairy Business, Country Folks etc.). Research efforts: A total of 100 dairy producers will be enrolled in our research. Farms will be visited and questionnaire data and farm score data will be collected as well as a sample of bulk milk at the time of the visit. Observed practices and farm scores will be related to the results of bulk milk testing. The most important conclusion will be included in a continuously updated bulk milk manual where testing options are explained and intervention methods are advised. Project management: The project team (PI, Co-PI, Research support) will be supported by an advisory board that will provide input, feedback and direction.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
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Project number
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Bacterial Pathogens