Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Animal and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Melissa Morgan


Mastitis and milk quality affect every dairy farmer across the globe. Sand bedded freestalls are the industry standard for cow comfort, welfare, and the control of environmental mastitis. Compost bedded packs may be a viable alternative to the sand bedded freestall.

Compost bedded packs are maintained at a consistent level of moisture, nutrients, and aeration to favor compost microorganisms. Greater bacteria counts in bedding have traditionally been associated with increased mastitis rates and mastitis pathogens can be found in the pack and on the teats of cattle housed in even well managed compost bedded pack barns. In spite of this, herd SCC often remains low in well managed herds. The relationship between stress and comfort in the housing environment was a primary focus of this research. Cows housed in environments with low stress and high comfort may be better able to defend themselves against pathogens. Establishing changes in immune function in response to housing environment would improve milk quality by contributing to the knowledge of how mastitis-causing pathogens are contracted.

An additional goal of this research was to determine the effect of compost bedded pack barns on thermoduric bacteria populations. Due to the increased temperatures associated with composting, thermoduric bacteria capable of surviving pasteurization are of potential concern in compost bedded packs. This research will investigate potential differences in thermoduric bacteria counts between compost bedded packs and sand bedded freestalls.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Included in

Dairy Science Commons