Assessment of the knowledge and practices on sub-clinical mastitis control in smallholder dairy farmers in Nakifuma-Naggalama town council Mukono district
Dairy production is a source of employment, income and livelihood to people in the dairy sector especially in peri-urban areas. In Uganda, smallholder dairy farming significantly contributes to the milk produced by the dairy sector. However, several factors such as diseases like bovine mastitis have constrained the production of milk in terms of quality and quantity. Bovine mastitis is a worldwide production disease of dairy cows that adversely affects animal health, milk quality and economics of milk production. Bovine mastitis includes both clinical and sub-clinical mastitis. Subclinical mastitis (SCM) is an economically important disease in dairy cattle around the globe and greatly affects milk quality and quantity. Nakifuma-Naggalama town council in Mukono is a peri-urban area that is rapidly growing with some of the residents relying on smallholder dairy farming for a living. Despite the farmers’ efforts, the milk yield is low and some of the milk is rejected due to poor milk quality. This could partly be due to clinical and sub-clinical mastitis and the poor control measures. Therefore, the overall objective of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of smallholder dairy farmers regarding bovine mastitis management in NakifumaNaggalama town council Mukono. A cross-sectional study was conducted in September 2022 and a questionnaire was administered to 76 farmers to capture data regarding their knowledge, attitude and practices towards bovine mastitis control. Quarter milk samples were collected from the milking cows and screened for mastitis using the California Mastitis Test (CMT). A total of 76 milking cows were sampled corresponding to 304 quarters. The cows that tested positive for sub-clinical mastitis were 46. Majority of the farmers were aware of mastitis (74/76) and 50 of the farmers were unaware of the different ways of screening for mastitis. The attitude of the farmers towards bovine control measures was generally good. However, majority of the farmers did not employ the control measures. Of the cows that tested positive for sub-clinical mastitis, 40 belonged to farmers who did not practice dry cow therapy. Therefore, sensitization of the dairy farmers in Nakifuma-Naggalama town council, Mukono on mastitis and proper control practices especially dry cow therapy is highly recommended.