An intervention study was carried out on 52 dairy farms in England and Wales to determine whether the implementation of a well-specified mastitis control plan in herds with an incidence of clinical mastitis of more than 35 cases per 100 cows per year would reduce the incidence of clinical mastitis, and also reduce the incidence of increases in the somatic cell counts of individual cows. A clearly defined plan for the diagnosis and control of mastitis was developed by two veterinary specialists from the research literature. The herds were randomly allocated to receive the plan either at the start of the study (intervention herds) or after one year (control herds). Data on mastitis management and the farm environment were collected during farm visits. After one year there was a significant 22 per cent reduction in the proportion of cows affected with clinical mastitis on the intervention farms compared with the control farms. There were also significant reductions of approximately 20 per cent in the incidence of clinical mastitis and in the occurrence of increases in the somatic cell counts of individual cows from below, to above 200,000 cells/ml.