Milk culturing class scheduled

Learn more about the bacteria that cause mastitis and how to identify them through on-farm milk culture in this workshop at MSU on October 27.

Michigan State University Extension and the College of Veterinary Medicine will offer another workshop on Mastitis Bacteriology and Herd Decision-Making on Saturday, October 27, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. This workshop will teach participants about the various organisms responsible for mastitis in dairy herds and how to identify those organisms through on-farm milk culture. Participants will practice inoculating culture plates and learn various specific diagnostic techniques to determine the organism.

This workshop is intended for dairy producers, employees on dairy farms and professionals working with farmers. The class size is limited to the first 16 participants so there is adequate opportunity in the lab to practice.

Participants will also be given unknown samples to determine using a diagnostic flow-chart and the information they determine from tests. In addition, for participants who chose, they will be mailed unknown samples several months after the workshop that they can plate out and report back their findings. Following that, they will receive the official identities of the samples.

Whether or not participants choose to begin on-farm milk cultures, this class will be valuable in improving their knowledge of mastitis prevention and treatment based on the organisms involved.

The cost of the workshop is $115 per participant. It is supported with grants from Pfizer Animal Health, Animart and Portacheck. A complete culture kit, including incubator, culture plates, instruction book and everything else needed, has been donated by Animart and will be given away to one participant. Portcheck will give away samples of their PortaSCC strips and a new test strip just being released to identify udder infections.

On evaluations completed by participants at the June session, one participant wrote “A good mix of classroom and lab, and broad vs. specialized information. Thank you.” Another participant wrote “Great class for beginners and people already culturing.”

To get a copy of the flier for the workshop, see the MSU Extension Dairy Team website at or contact Phil Durst at or Dr. Ron Erskine at

The registration fee includes parking on campus, a morning snack and lunch. “It is worth every penny,” wrote a participant. Another recorded “Don't waste an opportunity to learn who/what bacteria is robbing you of your production. Take the time to learn how to make the best health decisions for your herd.” Sign up today for this workshop on October 27.

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