Record keeping, genetic selection, educational experience and farm management effects on average milk yield per cow, milk fat percentage, bacterial score and bulk tank somatic cell count of dairy farms in the Central region of Thailand

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Abstract

A study was conducted to estimate the record keeping, genetic selection, educational, and farm management effects on average milk yield per cow (AYC), milk fat percentage, bacterial score, and bulk tank somatic cell count (BTSCC) of dairy farms in the central region of Thailand. Farms were located in the provinces of Saraburi and Nakhon Ratchisima and were members of the Muaklek dairy cooperative. Records from individual animals were unavailable. Thus, farm records of milk yield, milk fat percentage, bacterial score, and BTCCC were collected from July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2006. Additional record keeping, genetic selection, education, and farm management information was collected through a questionnaire in May of 2006. Data from the Muaklek dairy cooperative and the questionnaire were then merged by a farm identification number. A single trait mixed model was used to analyze AYC, milk fat percentage, and BTSCC, while a log linear model was used to analyze bacterial score. Results showed that farms that kept records on individual animals had higher (P < 0.05) milk fat percentages and lower bacterial scores than farms that did not. Farms that used genetic information (EBV) and phenotypes when selecting sires were higher (P < 0.05) for milk fat percentage than farms that used only phenotypes and personal opinion. Farms milking cows with a single unit milking machine and by hand, had higher (P < 0.05) bacterial scores and BTSCC than farms using only a single or multi unit machine. Overall farms that kept individual animal records, used EBV when selecting sires, used a single method for collecting milk, and used family labor achieved higher performance from their herds than farms that did not.

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