Randomized clinical trial evaluating the effects of administering acidogenic boluses at dry-off on udder health, milk yield, and herd removal

C. C. Florentino, F. Peña-Mosca, M. Ruch, E. Shepley, M. Barbosa Arias, D. M. Moreira, M. M. Mahmoud, L. Tikofsky, W. A. Knauer, G. Cramer, S. M. Godden, L. S. Caixeta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acidogenic boluses can mitigate potential negative effects of high milk yield at dry-off on udder health. This randomized controlled trial aimed to investigate the effect of administering acidogenic boluses at dry-off on dry period intramammary infection (IMI) dynamics and on milk production parameters, somatic cell count linear score (LSCC), clinical mastitis (CM), and herd removal in the next lactation. A total of 901 cows from 3 dairy farms were randomly allocated to a control (CON, n = 458; no administration of acidogenic boluses at dry-off) or treatment group (TRT, n = 443; administration of 2 acidogenic boluses at dry-off). Quarter milk samples were collected at dry-off and after calving and submitted for bacteriological milk culture. The effects of treatment on the presence of quarter-level postpartum IMI, cure of existing IMI, and acquisition of new IMI, and on the prevalence of cow-level high LSCC (LSCC ≥4) in the first 30 days in milk (DIM) were analyzed using mixed effects logistic regression. Mixed linear regression was used to analyze cow-level milk production parameters (i.e., milk yield, fat corrected milk, fat and protein yield, and LSCC) in the first 90 DIM and until 300 DIM. For CM and herd removal, Cox proportional hazard regression models were used. In addition to treatment group, lactation group at dry-off, presence of high LSCC in the last test-day, average milk yield in the week before dry-off, presence of CM in the lactation of enrollment, and biologically relevant interactions were offered in all models. There was no evidence of a difference in IMI dynamics or in milk, fat corrected milk, protein or fat yields in the subsequent lactation between groups. The TRT group had a lower LSCC in the first 2 mo postpartum compared with the CON group (2.58 ± 0.3 vs. 2.92 ± 0.3 and 2.42 ± 0.3 vs. 2.81 ± 0.3, for first and second month postpartum). The prevalence of high LSCC in the first 30 DIM was 9.1% lower in the TRT compared with the CON group (16.3% vs. 25.5%; risk difference: −9.2; 95% confidence interval [CI]: −15.8, −2.5). Cows in the TRT group exhibited reduced hazards of CM in the subsequent lactation compared with cows in the CON group (hazard ratio: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.63, 0.89) as well as a reduced hazard of herd removal (hazard ratio: 0.82, 95% CI: 0.77, 0.88). The administration of acidogenic boluses as a component of dry-off management is a promising approach to maintain good udder health and reduce the hazard of CM and herd removal during the subsequent lactation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3899-3915
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024

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© 2024 American Dairy Science Association


  • herd removal
  • milk yield
  • mineral boluses
  • udder health


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