At the present time, the use of somatic cell counts (SCC) as an index of udder health is neither generalized nor standardized in small ruminants, as it is in cattle. Although SCC represents the best indicator of the health status of the mammary gland in sheep and goats, there is a need to complete the currently ongoing studies in order to establish the individual operational leves of SCC. It is indispensable -according to the conclusions of some relevant international symposia- to establish an intervention strategy at farm level, based on herds SCC indexes. Furthermore, the EU regulation on sheep and goat milk foresees the establishment of specific norms regarding SCC that will enter into force on January 1998. This requires a solid scientific background in this field which is not yet available.
The objective is :
The objectives of this prenormative proposal are to standardize the SCC parameters in sheep and goat milk in three different mediterranean countries with a view to improving both animal health and the quality of milk for typical cheese production.
Individual and bulk milk thresholds would be established and the non-infectious factors of SCC variation would be explored. SCC surveillance programs of flocks/herds specific to small ruminants will be elaborated and validated as well. The relationship between SCC and production losses, cheese yield and milk product quality would be studied. Finally, preliminary studies concerning the genetic improvement of resistance to mastitis are planned.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
31326 Castanet Tolosan
48016 Derio (Bizkaia)