Theses and Dissertations


Zachary Mason

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rude, Brian J.

Committee Member

Stone, Amanda E.

Committee Member

Ward, Stephanie H.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 2 years

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Animal and Dairy Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences


As part of the Southeast Quality Milk Initiative, this investigation analyzes relationships between several heat abatement management, housing and feeding practices that may influence cow thermal comfort with milk quality. Farms producing high quality milk have low bulk tank somatic cell (BTSCC) and bacteria or standard plate counts (BTSPC). Dairy farms in Kentucky (n = 96), Mississippi (n = 7), Tennessee (n = 84) and Virginia (n = 96) were surveyed. Management of heat abatement programs were associated with smaller BTSCC and BTSPC. Farms that used pasture as their primary housing system had greater BTSCS and BTSPC than farms that confined cows to barns year-round. The practice of making fresh feed available to cows upon returning from the milking parlor was also associated with better milk quality. Management of heat abatement programs, housing and feeding practices show promise as a means to improve milk quality on Southeastern dairy farms.



heat stress||Southeast Quality Milk Initiative||milk quality||dairy farm||management