Effect of two different bedding systems on udder health management of dairy cows

Title: Effect of two different bedding systems on udder health management of dairy cows

Authors: DNN Madushanka, HMS Padmakumara, GDN Kumarasinghe, MPK Sanjeewa and MPS Magamage

Source: Ruminant Science (2017)-6(1):1-6.

Cite this reference as: Madushanka DNN, Padmakumara HMS, Kumarasinghe GDN, Sanjeewa MPK and Magamage MPS (2017). Effect of two different bedding systems on udder health management of dairy cows. Ruminant Science 6(1):1-6.


The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of two different bedding systems on udder health status of intensively managed dairy cows in Sri Lanka. Twelve (n=12) lactating cows of same breed and almost similar age and parity were selected for the study. Selected animals have neither shown any sign of mastitis nor treated with any sort of antibiotics in the past. Experimental animals were separated into two sheds where both groups have been given rubber carpets. One group was provided with dried sawdust as the bedding material while, the other group was not provided with any type of bedding material. Teat swabs and foremilk samples were collected once a week up to five weeks for microbiological evaluation. There has been a significant (P<0.001) difference in Coliform counts in sawdust system (567.54±5.06 colony forming units (CFU)/ml) as compared with carpeted system (2523.5±3.16 CFU/ml). Total Bacterial Count (TBC) was significantly (P<0.001) different in sawdust system (16865.5±2.40CFU/ml) than the carpeted system (39627.9±2.8380CFU/ml). TBC levels of fore-milk were not significant in both groups. TBC values were 58344.5±3.32CFU/ml for sawdust and 85506.6±2.80CFU/ml for carpet system, respectively. In conclusion, dry sawdust bedding surface was helpful in least exposure of dairy cows to microbial contaminations as compared to no bedding material system.


Abebe R, Hatiya H, Abera M, Megersa B and Asmare K (2016). Bovine mastitis: Prevalence, risk factors and isolation of Staphylococcus aureus in dairy herds at Hawassa milk shed, South Ethiopia. BMC Veterinary Research 12(1):270.

Anderson N (2008). Dairy Barns and Mastitis. Infosheet from OMAFRA: Dairy Cow Comfort 1(8).

Ansari-Lari M, Mohebbi-Fani M and Rowshan-Ghasrodashti A (2012). Causes of culling in dairy cows and its relation to age at culling and interval from calving in Shiraz, Southern Iran. Veterinary Research Forum 3(4):233.

Bramley AJ and Neave FK (1975). Studies on the control of coliform mastitis in dairy cows. British Veterinary Journal 131(2):160-169.

Dalton K, Israelsen C and Young AJ (2017). The Importance of Increasing Milk Quality by Decreasing the Somatic Cell Count (SCC). Extension and Agriculture, Utah State University.

Dohoo IR and Leslie KE (1991). Evaluation of changes in somatic cell counts as indicators of new intramammary infections. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 10:225-238.

Doyle CJ, Gleeson D, O’Toole PW and Cotter PD (2017). Impacts of seasonal housing and teat preparation on raw milk microbiota: A high-throughput sequencing study. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 83(2):e02694-16.

Guarín JF, Baumberger C and Ruegg PL (2017). Anatomical characteristics of teats and premilking bacterial counts of teat skin swabs of primiparous cows exposed to different types of bedding. Journal of Dairy Science 100(2):1436-1444.

Hospido A and Sonesson U (2005). The environmental impact of mastitis: a case study of dairy herds. Science of the Total Environment 343(1):71-82.

Hovinen M, Rasmussen MD and Pyörälä S (2009). Udder health of cows changing from tie stalls or free stalls with conventional milking to free stalls with either conventional or automatic milking. Journal of Dairy Science 92(8):3696-703.

Hovinen M and Pyörälä S (2011). Udder health of dairy cows in automatic milking. Journal of Dairy Science 94(2):547-62.

Jones GM and Bailey TL (2009). Understanding the basics of mastitis. https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/404/404-233/404-233_pdf.pdf

Madushanka DNN, Ranasingha VM, Bandara AMS, Mayurawansha WRAS and Magamage MPS (2016).  Body condition score and locomotion score help to predict reproductive and health performances of dairy cattle reared under the intensive management system. Ruminant Science 5(2):179-186.

Magnusson M, Christiansson A and Svensson B (2006). Effect of different premilking manual teat-cleaning methods on bacterial spores in milk. Journal of Dairy Science 89:3866-3875. 

Manyi-Loh CE, Mamphweli SN, Meyer EL, Makaka G, Simon M and Okoh AI (2016). An overview of the control of bacterial pathogens in cattle manure. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 13(9):843.

Motupalli PR, Sinclair LA, Charlton GL, Bleach EC and Rutter SM (2014). Preference and behavior of lactating dairy cows given free access to pasture at two herbage masses and two distances. Journal of Animal Science 92(11):5175-5184.

Murphy PM, Freyne T and Gleeson D (2005). Impact of pre-milking teat preparation practices on milk quality. Physiological and Technical Aspects of Machine Milking. Proceedings of the International Conference held in Nitra, Slovak Republic, April 26-28, pp 279-280.

Olson JC and Jr Mocquat G (1980). Milk and Milk Products. In: Microbial Ecology of Foods. Eds: JH Silliker, RP Elliott and AC Baird-Parker. Vol 2. New York, Academic Press, p 470.

Proietto RL, Hinckley LS, Fox LK and Andrew SM (2013). Evaluation of a clay-based acidic bedding       conditioner for dairy cattle bedding. Journal of Dairy Science 96(2):1044-1053.

Rowbotham RF and Ruegg PL (2016). Bacterial counts on teat skin and in new sand, recycled sand, and recycled manure solids used as bedding in free stalls. Journal of Dairy Science 99(8):6594-6608.

Ruff GR, Pairis-Garcia MD, Campler MR, Moeller SJ and Johnson AK (2017). Effect of rubber mats on sow behavior and litter performance during lactation. Livestock Science 204:65-70.