More than 400 milk quality, mastitis and udder health researchers, dairy producers and dairy industry partners gathered for the 59thNational Mastitis Council (NMC) Annual Meeting, held Jan. 28-31, in Orlando, Fla. This year’s NMC Annual Meeting revolved around the global world of udder health, milk quality, animal welfare and mastitis prevention, treatment and control.
“Speakers provided state-of-the-art information regarding mastitis pathogens, communication techniques and innovative mastitis prevention, detection and control techniques,” said Sarne De Vliegher, newly installed NMC president and annual meeting program chair, and Ghent University, Merelbeke, East Flanders, Belgium, professor. “The Motivational Interviewing session demonstrated effective consultant-client interactions and the importance of using science-based communication strategies.”
NMC recognized several milk quality experts during its annual meeting. J. Eric Hillerton, a dairy science consultant and adjunct professor of dairy systems at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, received the NMC Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control, which is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim. The 2011 NMC president, Hillerton’s mastitis career has spanned 40 years and two continents. His contributions to NMC include serving 10 years on the board of directors and authoring informational materials, including portions of NMC’s Current Concepts of Bovine Mastitis. He was NMC’s first president to reside outside of North America.
In the National Dairy Quality Awards program, NMC honored six dairy operations as Platinum winners. These top quality milk producers included Wilson Centennial Farm LLC (Brent, Nancy, Tyler and Ben Wilson), Carson City, Mich.; Fischer-Clark Dairy Farm, Inc. (David, Susan, Jon and Heidi Fischer), Hatley, Wis.; RKB Dairy (Randy, Kathleen and Glen Bauer), Faribault, Minn.; Windmill Dairy (Jon Doornenbal), Middleton, Idaho; Evergreen Dairy Farm LLC (Kris Wardin), Saint Johns, Mich.; and Maple Ridge Dairy (Brian Forrest and Ken and Phil Hein), Stratford, Wis. Judges selected outstanding dairies to receive this honor based on quality milk production indicators, such as somatic cell count and bacteria count, along with milking routine, systems of monitoring udder health, treatment protocols and strategies for overall herd health and welfare. These herds ranged in size from 128 to 1,900 cows. Annual milk production (per cow) averaged from 26,054 pounds (11,818 kilograms) to 32,224 pounds (14,617 kilograms). For average somatic cell count, these dairies varied from 67,000 to 78,000 cells/ml.
NMC awarded travel scholarships to six outstanding graduate students to attend the NMC Annual Meeting. This year’s NMC Scholars were Daryna Kurban, University of Montreal; Sam Rowe, University of Minnesota; Igor Van Den Brulle, Ghent University; Max-Arne Schnitt, Free University of Berlin; Daniel Cornelio Buldain, University of La Plata, La Plata Argentina; and Tian Xinrui, China Agricultural University, Beijing. The NMC Scholars program fosters the development of mastitis research and milk quality professionals from around the world.
NMC held its Third Annual Udderly Ridiculous 5K Fun Run/Walk. More than 70 people participated in this event. The run/walk, along with the silent auction, raised more than $7,000 for the NMC Scholars fund.
During the NMC annual business meeting, members elected Christina Petersson-Wolfe, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Va., to the NMC board of directors. Executive committee members are: Sarne De Vliegher, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium, president; Patrick Christian, Christian Hill Dairy, Mayville, Wis., first vice president; Linda Tikofsky, Boehringer Ingelheim, Trumansburg, N.Y., second vice president; Petersson-Wolfe, secretary-treasurer; and Jason Lombard, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Fort Collins, Colo., past president. Other board members include: Keith Engel, GEA, Madison, Wis.; Steve Lehman, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Novi, Mich.; Marcos Munoz, University of Concepcion, Chile; Roger Thomson, MQ-IQ Consulting LLC, Battle Creek, Mich.; Lowell “Jim” Davenport, Tollgate Holsteins, Ancramdale, N.Y.; Alfonso Lago, DairyExperts, Inc., Tulare, Calif.; Justine Britten, Udder Health Systems, Meridian, Idaho; Juan “Rodrigo” Pedraza, Zoetis, Lubbock, Texas; Brandon Treichler, Select Milk Producers, Canyon, Texas; and Elizabeth Berry, Animax, Hereford, United Kingdom. David Kelton, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont., Canada, retired from the board.
NMC thanks its annual meeting sponsors who contributed to the program’s success. Diamond sponsors were Boehringer Ingelheim, GEA, Merck Animal Health and Zoetis. Platinum sponsors were DeLaval, Inc., Ecolab, Inc., Land O’Lakes, Inc. and PathogenDX. Gold sponsors included Alltech, Dairy Farmers of America, Kersia and Lely. Silver sponsors were ABS Global, Inc., Afimilk, Ambic Equipment Limited, BouMatic, Fight Bac/Deep Valley Farm, Inc., Michigan Milk Producers Association, Phibro Animal Health Corporation, PortaCheck, Inc. and Udder Tech. Southeast Milk Inc. sponsored this year’s milk breaks. The Udderly Ridiculous 5K Fun Run/Walk sponsors included Christian Hill Dairy, Gardner & Gardner Communications, Luck-E Holsteins, Rubes Cartoons and Udder Health Systems. In addition, Christian Hill Dairy, Luck-E Holsteins and Tollgate Holsteins joined the sponsor list as Dairy Partners.
The 60th NMC Annual Meeting is set for Jan. 25-28, 2021, in Dallas. For additional information, go to: www.nmconline.org.