Effect of Various Environmental Factors and Management Practices on Somatic Cell Count in the Raw Milk of Anatolian Buffaloes
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The aim of this study was to determine the effects of various environmental factors on the somatic cell count (SCC) of Anatolian Buffaloes raised under different herd conditions in Turkey. Data were evaluated according to the stage of lactation (early, mid, and late), herd, lactation month, milking time, and parity. Analysis of the data was performed using the SAS package program. For a one-year period, farms were visited on a monthly basis to collect milk samples from each buffalo, in milkings performed both in the morning and evening. A total of 1200 SCC readings from 100 Anatolian Buffaloes were analyzed using repeated measures. The average SCC was determined to be 134,731 +/- 18,500 cells/ml. The effects of herd, parity, lactation month, milking time and stage of lactation on the SCC value were statistically significant (P<0.05). The mean SCC for morning milking (173,118 cells/ml) was higher than evening milking (148,562 cells/ml). The fourth month of lactation had the highest mean SCC value (186,418 cells/ml), which was statistically different from the values observed during the first, second and fifth months of lactation (P<0.05), as well as the sixth month of lactation (P<0.05). The SCC level was the highest in the first parity (177,844 cells/ml) and the lowest in buffaloes in their third and fourth parity (P<0.05). Mean SCC values were high (P<0.05) for late lactation (203,498 cells/ml), low for mid-lactation (81,975 cells/ml). The SCC was low in herd 6 (37,481 cells/ml), and high in herd 1 (223,000 cells/ml). The significant differences identified between the herds indicated differences in management methods, milking hygiene, and barn conditions. To reduce the SCC levels of milk, while also improving udder health, it is necessary to take certain precautions and measures such as improving milking management; improving hygiene and barn conditions; carrying out milking at uniform intervals; feeding the buffaloes after milking; and implementimg a mastitis control program. In this context, further studies are necessary to investigate and identify the threshold SCC values that are applicable for Anatolian buffaloes and their associated conditions.