A dairy producer based in Twin Falls County, Idaho, has filed suit against a milking equipment company for allegedly causing an outbreak of mastitis in his cow herd.

The Schilder Dairy is seeking about $1.4 million dollars in economic damages allegedly caused by defective milking equipment installed by the DeLaval company, based in Kansas City, Mo.

Representatives of DeLaval could not be reached for comment. An attorney representing the company said he couldn't comment on the case.

The complaint alleges that DeLaval employees used substandard pumps and valves while installing a milking parlor for the dairy, resulting in improperly regulated air flow within the system.

Unstable air flow contributed to mastitis in the dairy herd, which tripled the average somatic cell count within the milk since early 2008, according to the complaint.

Somatic cells are a type of white blood cell that reacts to pathogens.

The dairy's major buyer, the Jerome Cheese Co., pays discounted rates for milk with a high somatic cell count, which caused significant economic hardship, according to the complaint.

-- Mateusz Perkowski

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