Utah State University Hires New Extension Veterinarian and Epidemiologist

Dr. David Wilson, DVM, PhD
USU Extension Veterinarian

Dr. Clell Bagley and Dr. Allen Young have been kind enough to ask me to write an article about my background and what I have been doing since my arrival at Utah State University. I graduated from Ohio State University in 1982. After 5 years in primarily a dairy practice, I have spent the last 19 years working mainly in the area of mastitis and udder health. This includes a 3-year Residency and Masters Degree program and then 15 years as a Regional Veterinarian in the Quality Milk Production Services program at Cornell University in New York State. I spent the last year in consulting practice with The Dairy Authority, based in Greeley, Colorado, and recently completed a PhD program in Immunology and Epidemiology from Cornell University.

During my time at Cornell University, the number of dairy farms in New York decreased from approximately 12,000 to approximately 6,000 while dairy cow numbers remained similar, around 700,000. (In the early 1900�s, one dairy cooperative alone had 122,000 member farms in New York). The dairy herd sizes in New York ranged from less than 20 cows to over 4,000 cows, with farms of over 1,000 cows becoming more common. Cows housed in pastures only, tiestalls, stanchions, and freestalls are all seen in large numbers, with freestall housing and parlor milking now accounting for the majority of total cows and milk produced. The largest milking parlor I saw in New York State was a double 52 parlor, while we had many facilities with more than 80 milking units. There are several fairly new facilities with rotary parlors of approximately 60 milking units. There is still a substantial number of farms that milk with 4 milking units, either in a round the barn highline system, milking with bucket milkers, or a flat barn system where all cows are milked in 4 milking stalls. I have seen excellent production and milk quality come from farms using all of these production systems. My work in New York included work with several machine-milked dairy goat herds and one machine-milked dairy sheep herd. I had over 10,000 client contacts with dairy producers, mainly dealing with mastitis and udder health in New York.

Along with Dr. Ruben Gonzalez, I was a course coordinator for many years in a Milk Quality Elective for veterinary students. This course included farm visits, milking system evaluation and microbiological culture of milk samples the students collected as well as lectures on food safety, mastitis control practices, analysis of dairy records, and dairy facilities.

My research interests have included economics of mastitis, immunology against mastitis, changes in mastitis infection levels over the years, therapy of mastitis, diagnostic tests, the most effective mastitis control practices, association of subclinical Johne�s Disease with mastitis, stray voltage, risk factors for dairy goat mastitis, and economics of dairy cow culling. Most recently, my PhD thesis work was regarding some aspects of how J5 vaccination against coliform mastitis actually works.

I have enjoyed my time tremendously in Utah so far. My family and I moved here in late July and I began working at USU on August 1, 2006. So far I have worked in Extension mostly with Dr. Bagley. We are still planning to buy some additional equipment for testing milking systems although there is quite a bit of excellent milking system testing equipment here already. I have had some contact with dairy producers and veterinarians already. Dr. Bagley is planning to take me to visit more producers, veterinarians and other members of the Utah dairy industry soon. I look forward to working with you in the future. ©