Investigation of intramammary infections in primiparous cows during early lactation on organic dairy farms

Felipe Peña-Mosca, Christopher J Dean, Vinicius Machado, Leticia Fernandes, Pablo Pinedo, Enrique Doster, Bradley Heins, Kirsten T Moser, Tui Ray, Victoria Feijoo, Acir Antunes, Carol Baumann, Thomas Wehri, Noelle Noyes, Luciano Caixeta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that organically raised dairy cows have an increased prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus compared with conventionally raised dairy cows. However, little information exists about the dynamics of intramammary infection (IMI) in primiparous cows during early lactation on organic dairy farms. The objective of this study was to describe the IMI dynamics of primiparous cows on certified organic farms during early lactation. This longitudinal study enrolled 503 primiparous cows from 5 organic dairy farms from February 2019 to January 2020. Quarter-level milk samples were collected aseptically on a weekly basis during the first 5 wk of lactation. Samples were pooled by cow and time point into composite samples inside a sterilized laminar hood and submitted for microbiological culture. For each of the different microorganisms identified, we estimated the prevalence in each postpartum sample, period prevalence (PP), cumulative incidence, and persistence of IMI. Logistic regression models were used to investigate whether the prevalence of IMI differed by farm or sampling time points and whether IMI persistence differed between detected microorganisms. Our findings revealed a high prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus (PP = 18.9%), non-aureus staphylococci and closely related mammaliicoccal species (PP = 52.1%), and Streptococcus spp. and Streptococcus-like organisms (PP = 32.1%) within the study population. The prevalence of these microorganisms varied significantly between farms. Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus chromogenes exhibited significantly higher IMI persistence compared with other detected bacterial taxa, confirming the divergent epidemiological behavior in terms of IMI chronicity across different microorganisms. This study improves our understanding of the epidemiology of mastitis-causing pathogens in organically raised primiparous cows, which can be used to tailor mastitis control plans for this unique yet growing subpopulation of dairy cows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9377-9392
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2023

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© 2023 American Dairy Science Association


  • intramammary infections
  • organic dairy farms
  • primiparous cows

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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