Removing udder hair at the base of teats from cows whose milk is sold for human consumption is required by dairies in some milk producing areas. The requirement is based on the assumption that milk collected from udders where hair is not removed will more likely be contaminated with bacteria, thus decreasing milk quality and wholesomeness.
Washington State University researchers conducted a study to determine if removing udder hair around the teats by singeing would influence the recovery of bacteria from teat skin and milk as affected by pre- and post-milking teat disinfection.
Study results showed that removing udder hair did not influence bacterial recovery in milk, nor on teat skin, with any of the combinations of pre- and post-milking teat disinfections tested. The researchers concluded that udder hair removal was not associated with an improvement in the wholesomeness of the milk as measured by bacterial content.
Read more about the study on the National Mastitis Council website.