Bovine mastitis – udder infection in cattle – directly and indirectly costs U.S. dairy producers an estimated $2 billion each year. To help dairy farmers, veterinarians and other agricultural industry professionals understand how to prevent and treat mastitis, the Penn State Extension Veterinary Team is hosting the Penn State Mastitis and Milk Quality Conference, March 25-26 at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Hershey in Grantville, Pa.

The conference will offer workshops aimed at providing practical, useful skills and techniques to improve milk quality, decrease mastitis and optimize antimicrobial usage on farms. Presenters will include university and industry experts from Pennsylvania, Michigan and Tennessee.

The event begins the afternoon of March 25 with a series of hands-on, preconference workshops. On March 26, participants can attend a full day of talks and presentations, with multiple tracks covering a variety of mastitis and milk quality topics designed to help and encourage farmers, industry personnel and veterinarians to improve milk quality, reduce mastitis and make sound treatment decisions. (See full schedule below)

A trade show/industry exhibit also will allow attendees to learn about the latest products and services from businesses involved in the dairy industry.

Preconference workshop fees vary from $65 to $165. March 26 conference registration fees, which include lunch, are $35 for producers, $85 for dairy industry representatives and $185 for veterinarians. Veterinarians can earn continuing education credits for attendance on one or both days.

More information and online registration is available at or by calling 877-489-1398 toll free. Those interested in being a sponsor or exhibitor at this meeting should contact Louise Byler at 814-867-2040.

The Penn State Extension Veterinary Team is hosting the conference in conjunction with a project titled An Integrated Extension and Education Program to Reduce Mastitis and Antimicrobial Use, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This project is a collaboration among Penn State, Michigan State, Florida A&M and Mississippi State universities. To learn more, visit


Penn State Mastitis and Milk Quality Conference 2014 Schedule

Tuesday, March 25 - Workshops

Workshop 1: Milking System Cleaning (CIP) and Bulk Milk Analysis

Time:  12:30-5:00           Instructors:  Drs. Roger Thomson & Bhushan Jayarao

Intended audience:  Milking system dealers and milk quality specialists.

Description:  This workshop will present an overview of bulk milk analysis, and system cleaning (CIP) fundamentals.  A fully-functional portable parlor will be used to provide practical, hands-on experience in evaluating and troubleshooting system cleaning problems.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own vacuum testing equipment.  A small class size will permit optimum interaction between the participants and the instructors.


Workshop 2: Manejo Practico de La Mastitis Para Mejorar La Calidad De Leche en Su Lechería (Practical Management of Mastitis To Improve Milk Quality In Your Dairy)

Time:  1:00-5:00             Instructors:  Dr. Andres Contreras & Marcela Martinez

Intended audience:  Native Spanish-speaking dairy farm employees.

Description:  (This course will be offered completely in Spanish!) This hands-on course will teach dairy employees basic concepts to establish an effective mastitis control program in any size dairy.  Participants will learn about mastitis causes and the best ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent it. The objective of this course is to train Latino employees to be an integral part of udder health and milk quality improvement programs in their dairies.  The following topics will be addressed: 1) Definition of mastitis, udder anatomy, somatic cells, impact on farm income and cow health and wellbeing;  2) Mastitis diagnosis: somatic cell count, CMT, on-farm milk bacteriological cultures, 3) Prevention: milking routine and other solutions for animal and facilities’ management, and 4) Treatment:  dry cow therapy, treating subclinical, clinical, and toxic mastitis, avoiding drug residues in milk and meat, use of treatment protocols and record keeping.


Workshop 3: Managing Employees Well: Even More Important Than Managing Cows?

Time:  1:00-4:00             Instructors:  Mr. Phil Durst & Mr. Stan Moore

Intended audience:  Dairy farm owners and managers.

Description:  Some dairy farm owners and herd managers seem to be more effective at getting things done, and done well, than others.  Much of this has to do with how well they understand, relate to, and communicate with their employees.  This workshop will present information gathered from surveys of dairy farm owners, managers and employees to help participants understand how they can build a better employee culture in their businesses.   A small class size, and opportunities for interaction will foster an excellent learning environment.


Workshop 4: Intelligent Mastitis Management©: A Systematic Approach to Udder Health.

Time:  1:00-5:00             Instructors:  Dr. Ernest Hovingh, Greg Strait & Carol Burns

Intended audience:  Dairy farm owners, managers and employees responsible for managing mastitis.

Description:  No matter how hard you work at preventing mastitis, some cases are bound to occur.  This workshop is designed as a hands-on learning experience for you to become more familiar with diagnosing mastitis pathogens, making smart, information-based treatment and management decisions, and evaluating which therapies are most effective on your farm.  Participants will be able to see the results of samples cultured from their animals, and will receive a supply of Penn State Quad Plates for on-farm culturing.


Workshop 5: Milking Equipment for Dummies.

Time:  5:00PM-9:00PM         Instructors:  Dr. Ernest Hovingh & Dr. Roger Thomson

Intended audience:  Veterinarians & others dairy industry professionals.  (4 hrs. of veterinary CE)

Description:  This workshop will provide an overview of the basic structure and function of the milking system, with reference to the production of high quality, safe milk, and maintaining good udder health.  Methods and tools for monitoring and evaluating the performance of milking systems will also be covered.  The workshop will include hands-on sessions using a fully-functional portable milking parlor.  No prior experience required.


Wednesday, March 26 - Conference

Morning Plenary Sessions

9:00-9:45      How Are You Treating Your Cows?  Dr. Ron Erskine

9:45-10:30    Mastitis, It’s About People, Too!  Mr. Stan Moore & Mr. Phil Durst

10:30-11:00       Break

11:00-11:45       Nutrition & Udder Health.   Dr. Robert Van Saun

11:45-12:30       Are Vaccines the Answer?  Dr. Gina Pighetti

12:30- 1:30   Lunch


Track 1

1:30-2:05      Mastitis Management that Works  Dr. Mike Kristula

2:05-2:40      How I Do It!  (to be confirmed)

2:40-2:55      Q&A / Discussion with speakers

2:55-3:30      Break

3:30-4:05      What Employee Focus Groups Tell Us About Mastitis Prevention. Dr. Reuben Martinez

4:05-4:40      Closing the Cultural Gaps with Latino Dairy Employees. Drs. Contreras & Martinez

4:40-4:55      Q&A / Discussion with speakers


Track 2

1:30-2:05      Robots & Milk Quality – Challenges & Opportunities.  Mr. Matt Haan

2:05-2:40      What I’ve learned about Robots and Milk Quality.  (Producer invited)

2:40-2:55      Q&A / Discussion with speakers

2:55-3:30      Break

3:30-4:05      Managing Mastitis Outside the Parlor.  Mr. John Tyson

4:05-4:40      Bedding Cultures: What Can We Learn?  Dr. David Wolfgang

4:40-4:55      Q&A / Discussion with speakers


Track 3  (Veterinary Track)

1:30-2:05      Milking Equipment Cleaning for Vets.  Dr. Roger Thomson

2:05-2:40      Troubleshooting Mastitis Problems.  Dr. Roger Thomson

2:40-3:10      The FDA’s Milk Sampling Assignment – Lessons Learned. Dr. Amber McCoig, FDA

3:10-3:30      Break

3:30-4:05      Pharmacology of Mastitis Therapy - I.  Dr. Ron Erskine

4:05-4:40      Pharmacology of Mastitis Therapy - II.  Dr. Ron Erskine

4:40-5:15         Designing & Monitoring Protocols for Your Clients.  Dr. Mike Kristula