Development of effective non-antibiotic dry-off agents for the dairy industry
Department of Agriculture
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Small Business Information
3501 VICTORIA PLACE, Cincinnati, OH, 45208-1430
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis project addresses priority areas of 1) Animal Productivity (in both conventional and alternative production systems), 2) Animal Health and Well-Being, and 3) Food Safety and Environmental Mitigation, as described in the NIFA Program Announcement for Phase I SBIR applications. 1) Productivity: Intramammary infection (a.k.a., mastitis) is the largest attributable cause of lost productivity, discarded milk, chronic morbidity, and prophylactic antibiotic use in the dairy industry (Gill et al. 1990, Bar et al. 2008). The average cost of mastitis to the U.S. Dairy industry is at least $184 per cow. This is approximately $1.8 billion or 10% of the total value of farm milk sales, and the majority of new infections are associated with the dry period, during which the udders are temporarily engorged with milk that often leaks from the teatends. Methods that accelerate dry-off that could be applied in both conventional and alternative systems would reduce this major source of lost dairy productivity. 2) Animal Health/Well-being: The engorgement of the udders at dry-off is a major cause of infections that decrease productivity. Udder engorgement also is a cause of discomfort, poor udder health, and negative behaviors (stress vocalization, reduced lying, (Tucker, Lacy-Hulbert & Webster 2009). Our development of a rapid dry-off agent is expected to have two salutary effects on animal health: enhance the effectiveness of therapeutic antibiotics, used in cows with subclinical mastitis at dry-off, and prevent new infections in cows that enter dry-off without mastitis. 3) Food and Environmental Safety: The three major agencies of the U.S. government with responsibilities associated with food safety (USDA, FDA, CDC) have clearly articulated the concern that antibiotic use in agriculture poses threats to food safety, and to the health of agricultural workers (Anonymous, Anonymous). In addition, the EPA has articulated concerns about antibiotics entering the environment from agricultural practices (Anonymous). These concerns are leading in the direction of restricting antibiotics in agriculture to those uses that are legitimately "therapeutic", rather than merely prophylactic. There are, undeniably, larger sources of antibiotic use in agriculture (particularly in the production of poultry and swine). However, our technology provides a scientifically-based opportunity for the dairy industry to contribute to the overall goal of reducing the routine use of non-therapeutic antibiotics.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.