Editor’s choice in Journal of Dairy Science — Novel ways to use sensor data to improve mastitis management

Dairy Development Director Ilka Klaas is co-author of the paper that was included in the best of 2021 list in the Journal of Dairy Science. The paper is a result of an IDF (International Dairy Federation) action team on sensor-based health management. The action team consists of experts from academia and the dairy industry.

“Being selected as one of the best articles in the most prominent journal in our business is a prestigious reward. It shows the competence and quality in this group of authors representing both academia and the industry. For DeLaval the topic of sensor-based management is an important area for precision dairy farming and a vital part of our strive to make milk production more efficient and sustainable. This is a good example of when a cooperation between different parts of the dairy sector is bringing real value to our customers,” says Cecilia Bågenvik, VP Animal Intelligence & Welfare Solutions.

The research focuses on the farmer’s needs and identified situations around mastitis where the farmer could use information from sensors to make better decisions.

There are four main situations where the information from sensors is vital to make the right decision:

  • Severe mastitis. Here farmers need to find the sick cows within hours and there is a high demand on sensor performance
  • Mild cases of mastitis or subclinical cases. The cows need to be identified but it is not as urgent as within hours
  • Udder health at dry off: to make the best decisions if the cow needs antibiotic treatment or not, sensors can identify the cows that would benefit from treatment
  • Udder health at herd level

Read the full research paper here: Novel ways to use sensor data to improve mastitis management.

“The performance criteria for each situation differ, because the purpose and the possible interventions differ. Therefore, to design the best sensor system, we need to consider the situation or condition the sensor system should detect. This means we need to know how farmers actually work with sensor information and or how they would like to work,” Ilka reports.

“The value of the sensor system comes from the action that the farmer takes based on the information, alerts, and KPIs from the sensor system. Our new angle is to define an important disease – mastitis – from the farmer perspective with a clear focus on beneficial interventions.”

With the work from the action team on sensor-based health management there are established guidelines and criteria of what a sensor system should aim for. This is valuable to improve the usefulness of sensor systems in udder health management. There has been several seminars and workshops in the dairy world during 2021 on this topic and it is included in the agenda of the National Mastitis Conference in 2022.