USDA to conduct NAHMS Dairy 2014 study

USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) will conduct its sixth national dairy study, beginning in January 2014.

Representatives from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact selected producers in 18 states. NASS representatives will conduct personal interviews with all participating operations with 30 or more cows. NASS will mail a brief questionnaire to all other participating operations (fewer than 30 cows).

 Operations that do not respond to the mail-in questionnaire by the deadline will be contacted via telephone by NASS representatives, who will complete the questionnaire at that time.

For operations that are eligible and choose to continue in the study:

•  Representatives from USDA’s Veterinary Services will visit from March to May 2014 to administer a second questionnaire, perform a lameness evaluation, and collect milk and fecal samples.

•  A subset of these operations will have the opportunity to participate in a year-long calf monitoring study.


Study objectives include:

• Describe trends in dairy cattle health and management practices.

• Describe management practices and production measures related to animal welfare.

• Evaluate calf health from birth to weaning.

• Estimate the prevalence of lameness, and evaluate housing and management factors associated with lameness.

• Describe antibiotic use and residue prevention methods used to ensure milk and meat quality.

• Estimate the prevalence and antimicrobial resistance patterns of select foodborne pathogens.

As with previous NAHMS dairy studies, NAHMS Dairy 2014 will be national in scope, collaborative in nature, and voluntary. Data collected during the study will be strictly confidential and used to generate scientifically based and statistically valid national estimates, which will be used for education, research and policy development. No name or contact information will be associated with individual data, and no data will be reported in a way that could reveal the identity of a participant. Data are presented only in an aggregate manner.

 Participating producers will receive customized reports describing animal welfare measures, heifer-calf growth and productivity, the risks of drug residues in meat and milk, and how to address these risks. Based on questionnaire responses, these reports will allow producers to compare their practices and productivity measures with those of other dairies. Best management practices/industry goals will also be included.

Results from previous NAHMS national dairy studies are available at: