The effect of farming system on dairy cow cleanliness in the UK and implications to udder health
The cleanliness of dairy cows was assessed using a 20 point hygiene score system at different times in the year on 14 organic and 14 conventional farms in the UK. Overall, cows were dirtier during winter housing compared to summer grazing. Farming system had no effect on cow cleanliness when cows were at grass, but when housed in the winter, organic cows were more likely to be cleaner. There was a link between cow hygiene scores and milk hygiene, with herds having lower bulk tank somatic cell counts (BTSCC) tending to have cleaner cows. This relationship was strongest for the organic herds. There was no significant link between hygiene score and Bactoscan (BS) count or mastitis incidence.