Health constraints and farm management factors influencing udder health of dairy cows in Malawi
The aim of this study was to identify the major health problems and possible farm management practices which could be associated to the prevalence of mastitis in dairy cows kept in smallholder dairy farms in Malawi. A total of 140 randomly selected dairy farms were included in the study. Health problems were assessed using a semi-structured questionnaire and farm records. Physical examination and California Mastitis Tests (CMT) were used to determine the presence of clinical mastitis (CM) and subclinical mastitis (SCM). The most common diseases reported at farm level were mastitis 39.3% (55/140) and East Coast Fever 15.7% (22/140). Mastitis was the major udder disease and 52.0% (93/179) of the cows had at least one case of mastitis in the previous year. The prevalence of mastitis (positive result of physical examination or CMT) was significantly affected (p<0.05) by history of mastitis, floor type, herd size, sanitation of stables and season of the year. Results of the present study suggest a need for targeted control measures against the major diseases identified. In addition, emphasis on management interventions with the aim to improve on the sanitation of stables is recommended in order to alleviate the negative impact of mastitis in dairy farms in Malawi.
Journal Title/Title of Proceedings
Journal of Agricultural Science