Coordinated action needed on mastitis By: Dr Jaap Boes, Manager, Animal Health and Welfare, Livestock Innovation, SEGES, Danish Agriculture & Food Council


Healthy and productive dairy animals are vital to the provision of a safe, sufficient and nutritious food supply at a time of a rapidly increasing global population.

Mastitis causes decreased productivity as well as food loss due to discarded milk. Coordinated action is essential if the dairy sector is to achieve optimal management of this disorder, which is so important to maintaining and increasing sustainable milk production globally.

To explore the global issue of mastitis in livestock, one of the most important diseases affecting the dairy sector, leading global experts in udder health from 25 countries met in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 15 and 16 to discuss preventative solutions.

Organized by IDF and hosted by Denmark’s agricultural organization SEGES, the conference provided an opportunity for those involved in the udder health field to share innovations and research on mastitis management with the aim of achieving a reduction in mastitis in dairy cattle and, ultimately, improving animal care, welfare and milk production.

Mastitis is the main reason for the use of antibiotics in milk production, and ineffective mastitis management has been responsible for up to 85% of the antimicrobials used in the dairy sector, according to the latest ‘Animal Health Report’ produced by IDF.

While animal health scientists are making significant progress on mastitis management, with a significant reduction in the rate of clinical mastitis seen during the last decade, antimicrobial resistance remains a global concern. New antimicrobial resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening the ability to treat common infectious diseases.

Mastitis has major economic and animal welfare implications in cattle farming. Gathering the world’s experts in the field to exchange the latest knowledge at this IDF conference in Denmark was an important step in us becoming even better at promoting udder health.