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New videos aim to prevent mastitis in smallholder dairy cattle

A series of openly licensed training videos provide clear and easy to follow examples of good on-farm practices for smallholder dairy farmers.

Dairy cattle in Low and Middle-Income Countries suffer high rates of mastitis, an inflammation of udder tissue. This disease severely limits milk production, inhibits weight gain, and causes increased abortion and mortality. In many countries, farm owners may be unaware of simple, low-cost strategies to manage mastitis. A new set of training videos aims to close this knowledge gap.

Hosted by the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Supporting Evidence-Based Interventions (SEBI) mobilises and applies data and evidence to help the livestock community make better investments that improve livelihoods for smallholders in low and middle-income countries.

Designed and produced within ISG, the Interactive Content team (Learning, Teaching and Web) worked closely with Mike Christian (Vetbiz Consultancy) and SEBI project manager Ciara Vance to create these animated videos.

Working with the Digital Learning Applications & Media team has been a great experience with helpful suggestions to improve the impact of the teaching animations. It was easy to discuss technical and cultural issues to produce what we hope will be a useful tool for all those working with small holder farmers in developing countries.

Mike Christian, Vetbiz Consultancy

Tackling mastitis through education

The videos provide key information on prevention and treatment to help reduce the incidence of cattle mastitis in dairy cows. They show the importance of how udder hygiene helps improve milk yield, quality and mortality and is central to dairy farming. SEBI’s aim is for the videos to be further disseminated by NGOs, government departments, veterinary surgeons, milk processors, dairy co-operatives and farmer groups. The training materials will initially be tested and refined in Nigeria, with potential further dissemination in Ethiopia and Sri Lanka.

Each video is on average three and half minutes long, focusing on one discrete topic. The 11 different video titles are:

  1. Introduction
  2. Good milking practice I - Hand milking
  3. Good milking practice II - Preparing for milking
  4. Good milking practice III - Checking for and treating mastitis
  5. Good milking practice IV - Teat dipping
  6. Milking management
  7. Dry cow therapy
  8. Cleaning and disinfecting milking equipment
  9. Hygiene in the shed? Let the cows tell you!
  10. Hygiene in the shed? Let the cows tell you! Scoring system
  11. California milk test (CMT)

Video production process

The main objective for the illustrations was to keep the visual design relatively simple and text free. This would benefit individuals with low literacy skills and enhance playback on mobile devices, where the resolution is potentially more limited.

A storyboard and script were written for each of the 11 videos. Voice-overs were then recorded from the script in the Argyle House professional recording studio. University of Edinburgh PhD student Bridgit Muasa kindly offered her voice for all the videos.

The static illustrations were drawn in Adobe Illustrator and along with the voice-overs imported into Adobe After Effects, a visual effects and motion graphics software which was used to create the animations. After the videos were completed English subtitles were generated, these are key to the project as they will be translated into regional languages such as Amharic, Fulani and Hausa.

Mastitis animations technical handbook

A suitable workflow with step-by-step instructions were developed to assist University colleagues in Africa responsible for localising the original content. The technical handbook covered playback recommendations, creating subtitle files and adding new translated audio tracks to the videos.

Video: Mastitis in smallholder dairy cows - Introduction
An introduction to mastitis in smallholder dairy cows.

Open educational resources

There are 11 videos and 28 illustrations available to download, reuse and share. All these resources are Copyright © The University of Edinburgh, but openly licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Resources

Mastitis animations (Media Hopper channel)

Mastitis animations (YouTube playlist)

Mastitis illustrations (Flickr album)

Mastitis animations technical handbook (PDF)

Further reading

SEBI news article ‘New initiatives take aim at livestock disease in Nigeria’

DLAM blog post 'Adobe After Effects training'

SEBI website: https://www.ed.ac.uk/vet/research/sebi

CC BY licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/