Mastitis

Mastitis control is one of the big challenges with increasing size and yields on our dairy farms. However, mastitis is not inevitable. There are clear and well proven strategies that can work to reduce mastitis in almost every situation. On farms with high incidence of mastitis, the 5 point plan,  which is more than 40 years old is still valid.

1. Hygienic teat preparation (in the parlour and in the environment) 2. Prompt identification and treatment of clinical cases 3. Appropriate dry cow treatment 4. Correct maintenance of the milking machine 5. Culling of persistently infected animals

It is surprising how often one or more of these key points are overlooked. Mastitis is one of those diseases where you have to do many things right to get rid of a problem but only one thing wrong to get it back again.

Somatic Cell Counts

Are you concerned about cell counts? High cell counts not only incur milk price penalties, butv also correlate strongly with an increased incidence of mastitis in a herd and a lowering of milk yield.  We can perform in-house or on-farm somatic cell count tests on bulk or individual milk samples while you wait.

Benefits:

  • Daily monitoring of cell counts
  • Early detection of mastitis
  • Immediate follow up of mastitis treated cows
  • Clear signal when to send milk to tank
  • Fresh cow udder health check
  • Monitor which cow/quarter needs treating at drying off

Does your herd somatic cell count mean that there are potential financial bonuses that you miss out on?  If yes, then this shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity missed, but as profits lost…there is almost always something that can be done to try and improve this situation.

The DairyCo Mastitis Plan

Recently the farmer funded resources of DairyCo have been put to good use, building upon the latest research knowledge of mastitis to develop a comprehensive approach to mastitis control. The DairyCo Mastitis Plan looks to ensure that all recognised risk factors on any given farm are identified. From these, action plans can be deisgned, which should lead to a reduction in mastitis. This plan if implemented correctly has been shown to work!

We have a number of vets trained to deliver the full DairyCo plan where we feel it is required but we can also help with less formal advice as and when problems arise. Low mastitis rates = more profitable farms = farms that can grow. What we are not interested in is just selling more and more boxes of tubes! We actively examine our records on a regular basis to identify herds with higher than average tube usage and then work with them to reduce the mastitis problem. We also try to remind people that while the milk ‘dumped’ during treatment is a definite cost; the true bulk of the loss with a mastitis case is the milk lost from the rest of the lactation (due to the damage in the udder). It is quite easy for a single case of mastitis to cost £150 or more.

Part of our mission is to promote animal health and welfare and we are very keen to help you to reduce mastitis on your farm. If you would like us to come and talk to you about your mastitis problem please contact the practice.

For further information about mastitis control look at our downloads page.

To learn more about the DairyCo mastitis plan go to our links page and click on DairyCo icon.