J. Eric Hillerton, Cambridge, New Zealand, earned National Mastitis Council’s (NMC) Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control recipient. The 2011 NMC president, Hillerton is a dairy science consultant and adjunct professor of dairy systems at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
This award recognizes an NMC member who has provided sustained contributions to mastitis prevention and control through research, extension and/or education, clinical practice or service to dairy producers. Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors the award and presented Hillerton with a $2,500 honorarium.
Hillerton’s mastitis career has spanned 40 years and two continents. Despite his deep commitment to academia, Hillerton takes a practical approach when presenting at conferences, giving farmer talks and interacting with veterinarians and company representatives. He has contributed to mastitis knowledge at the academic and governmental levels, and helped influence pivotal decisions in the United Kingdom, Europe and New Zealand.
Hillerton kicked off his mastitis research career with summer mastitis, using his doctorate degree in entomology. Then, he worked with the National Institute for Research in Dairying and Biological Biotechnology Science Research Council – moving on to milking machine interactions and epidemiology.
Next, Hillerton moved to New Zealand as chief scientist for Dairy NZ and continued contributing to extension and research. This included the SAMM (smart approach to minimizing mastitis) plan format and numerous mastitis-related research projects.
Hillerton’s research revolved around a variety of milk quality topics, including milking frequency studies that helped pave the way for robotic milking systems, intricate studies on teat skin and teat canal keratin formation, early evaluation of cow-side mastitis tests, effect of flow rate on incidence of mastitis, effect of recombinant growth hormone on milk yield, field tests on the value of pre-milking teat disinfection, practical implementation of the 5-point Mastitis Control Plan, the importance of biosecurity on dairy farms, investigation on selective dry cow therapy and antibiotic prudence (back in the 1990s), dry cow therapy options, the association between over-milking and teat condition, post-milking efficacy and the use of polymer chain reaction-based methods for pathogen identification in milk samples for mastitis detection and management.
For 14 years, Hillerton was involved in the British Mastitis Conference as both an organizer and speaker. After moving to New Zealand, he chaired the organizing committee for the 5th International Dairy Federation Mastitis Conference in 2010.
NMC is indebted to Hillerton for his many contributions, including 10 years of service on the board of directors and authoring informational material originating from NMC’s Research, Teat Dip (Health), Milk Monitoring and Machine Milking committees. Also, he was a major contributor to the latest edition of NMC’s Current Concepts of Bovine Mastitis (now available in four languages). Hillerton has spoken at several NMC events and served as a short course instructor and webinar presenter.
NMC is a professional organization devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality. NMC promotes research and provides information to the dairy industry on udder health, milking management, milk quality and milk safety. Founded in 1961, NMC has about 1,000 members in more than 40 countries throughout the world.