Control of Staphylococcus aureus in dairy herds in a region with raw milk cheese production: farmers’ attitudes, knowledge, behaviour and belief in self-efficacy

Published on 2018-02-13T05:00:00Z (GMT) by
Abstract Background Contagious mastitis is an important disease in dairy cattle, and the causative agent S. aureus can also impair raw milk cheese quality. In a confined region in eastern Switzerland attitude, knowledge and behaviour towards S. aureus und S. aureus control was assessed in 90 dairy farmers with communal alpine pasturing including raw milk cheese production with the aid of a questionnaire. Results Forty-three out of 90 questionnaires were returned (48% return rate). Farmers perceived reproductive problems as most important in their dairy herds followed by respiratory disease and diarrhoea in young stock. Most frequently stated as important motivating factors to participate in S. aureus control were “avoiding negative news about cheese quality in the press” followed by “I want to be proud of my somatic cell counts again”. Most frequently chosen and identified as important constraining factors were “I fear that the authorities dictate and the farmers are not heard” followed by “costs to control S. aureus are too high because of premature culling” and “I am afraid to be forced to cull genetically valuable cows”. Farmers with an experience of a S. aureus problem in their dairy herds had a significantly better knowledge about contagiosity and clinical manifestation of different S. aureus genotypes than farmers with no self-reported experience of a S. aureus problem. Veterinarians were indicated as the most important experts, farmers seek advice in case of mastitis and most farmers suggested subsidising bacteriological milk analysis as an incentive to motivate farmers towards S. aureus control. Conclusion According to the results an improved knowledge transfer on S. aureus to dairy producers and an integrative approach to a S. aureus control program with subsidising milk analysis will be most promising to improve the S. aureus situation in this confinded region of eastern Switzerland. Veterinarians should cover a key role in consulting farmers during the control program.

Cite this collection

Cousin, Marie-Eve; Härdi-Landerer, Maria; Völk, Verena; Bodmer, Michèle (2018): Control of Staphylococcus aureus in dairy herds in a region with raw milk cheese production: farmers’ attitudes, knowledge, behaviour and belief in self-efficacy. figshare.