The most costly infectious disease of dairy cattle in the United States is mastitis. Lost milk production, increased veterinary costs, increased cow mortality, and discarded milk cost the $65 billion dairy industry more than $2 billion per year, according to the National Mastitis Council. The Multis tate Mastitis Research Project (MMRP) has been coordinating multidisciplinary research projects throughout the United States aimed at combating the disease since 1977. Currently designated the NE-1028 project, the project has been rewritten and submitted for approval to the USDA once every five years with former designations being the NE-112 and NE-1009.
Currently, the group is engaged in a five-year collaborative effort, which will expire in 2012 , entitled “Mastitis Resistance to Enhance Dairy Food Safety.” This group of collaborators captured the 2009 Award for Excellence in Multistate Research from the Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. The project was also nominated for the Multistate Research Program’s National award.
Dr. John Middleton, University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine associate professor of food animal medicine and surgery served as chairman of the Multi-State Mastitis Research Project (MMRP) and was a member of the 2007 writing committee for the mastitis resistance study. Middleton serves as the technical representative for the NE-1028 project for the University of Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station and is joined in the project by colleagues from other participating experiment stations, including Connecticut, Cornell, University of Georgia, University of Idaho, University of Illinois, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Louisiana State University, University of Maine, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Tennessee, Utah State University, University of Vermont, Virginia Polytechnic, Washington State University, and University of Wisconsin. International colleagues include members at the Moredun Research Institute, University of Calgary, University of Guelph, University of Montreal, and University of Prince Edward Island.
The Multistate Research program allows state agricultural experiment stations to interdependently collaborate in projects that two or more states share as a priority, but which no one state can address singularly. Partners that are not agricultural experiment stations are permitted to join in these project-based collaborations. Some projects have private sector and foreign participants. The majority of multistate projects have participants from more than a single region, with many being n ational in scope, like the NE-1028 project.
Projects that were nominated for the 2009 award were evaluated on several criteria including: 1. Accomplishments, indicated by outputs, outcomes, and impacts; 2. Added value, from the project’s interdependency; 3. Degree of institutional participation; 4. Extent of multi-disciplinary activity; 5. Amount of integrated activities ; and 6. Evidence of additional leveraged funding to further the goals of the project.
The MMRP fosters collaborative relationships between new and established researchers and allows them to share resources and expertise in mastitis research. In the past several years joint projects developed and conducted under the auspices of the MMRP included two multi state projects evaluating prepartum intramammary antibiotic treatment of heifers on the prevalence of early lactation mastitis and first lactation performance parameters. Other ongoing and completed research includes evaluating duplicate versus single samples in diagnosing intramammary infection, studying antibiotic residues in heifers treated with intramammary antibiotics before parturition, evaluating cow and mammary quarter level risk factors at dry-off for the development of mastitis during the dry period, evaluating external teat sealants during the dry period, researching environmental streptococcal mastitis, examining on-farm culture technologies and their use in making treatment decisions for clinical and subclinical mastitis, and mastitis on organic dairy operations.
Members of the MMRP plan to continue work on similar collaborative projects in the next five years.
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