|We hope this issue of the Dairy Focus e-Newsletter has some useful tips and information for you.
Look after your fresh cows!
It’s not long till the autumn cows start to calve, so we have been busy developing calving strategies with our new clients, and updating previous calving strategies with our “old” clients.
We work through six key areas of management of the calving and fresh cows to reduce the risk of mastitis in those cows, and one key area of risk has consistently shown up as a potential problem.
Many farms are running the freshly calved and colostrum cows as a separate herd during the calving period. Whilst this has lots of advantages, there are also some inherent risks.
One risk that has commonly emerged is the use of a “fresh cow paddock” close to the dairy during calving. Early in the calving period, this area is relatively clean, but it then progressively becomes more and more contaminated, and especially in areas around hay feeders, etc.
Strep uberis is the most comon cause of mastitis after calving and faecal contamination is the major risk factor for Strep uberis!
Your freshly calved cows are your highest risk cows for mastitis – don’t put them in the highest risk paddock!!
With a little planning of how to best manage these areas, and the preparation of alternative areas to use if they become too contaminated, the risk of mastitis can be greatly reduced.
Also consider the order that herds are milked – don’t milk the fresh cows after the hospital herd!
In some cases the fresh cows and the hospital cows are run as a single herd. Possibly the biggest risk here is if the number of cows in this herd exceeds the number of milking units on the platform, potentially exposing freshly calved cows to being milked with a cluster that has just come off a mastitis cow!
Either separate the mastitis cows and milk them last, or have a strict post-milking cluster disinfection procedure to manage this risk.
Always remember that once cows become infected after calving, they often remain infected for the rest of the lactation – prevention has got to be a better bet!
For more information, call us at Dairy Focus on (03) 58590706 or click to visit our website
What is "wet" testing?
There are five types of milking machine tests described by Countdown Downunder and the IDF (International Dairy Federation):
The results of milking time tests are the best and most direct indicator of the performance of any milking system whilst milking (and the cows don't care what happens when they are not there!!).
Milking time testing is one of the key components of every Dairy Focus Mastitis Risk Assessment of a dairy and allows fine tuning of milking machine settings, such as the vacuum level, to suit each individual herd and milking system.
Physical measurements are all about the “nuts and bolts” of the milking plant. They include the type and sizing of components and the matching of components to given specifications. This test is done without the machine running.
The standard AMMTA test or "dry" test is the most common test conducted on milking plants in Australia. It is conducted both with and without the plant running, but without any liquid flowing through the pipelines. This test records air consumption of components, vacuum levels, vacuum reserve capacities and pulsation recordings. It also includes the physical measurements described above. This type of test indicates how the plant performs mechanically, but does not measure how it performs under load when actually milking.
"Wet" testing of milking plants is where an artificial udder is used to test the plant with both liquid and air flowing through it to simulate milking. This is a good diagnostic and trouble shooting tool, and can be used to give an idea of how the plant is likely to perform at specific milk flow rates.
True milking time testing is the only way of knowing just how the plant is performing under the load of actual milking with cows and milking staff in the dairy. It is also the best way of measuring the vacuum that cows are actually experiencing during milking.
Cleaning-time tests assess the cleaning process.
Farms enrolled in the Dairy Focus Mastitis Control System have regular Mastitis Risk Assessments - thus their milking system has regular milking time testing in addition to standard AMMTA "dry" testing.
More information is available at the Dairy Focus website under "Rob's Tech Tips", or you can call the office and talk to Rob about any queries you may have.
If you would like further information about any of the articles in this newletter, or about how Dairy Focus can help with mastitis control on your farm, just use the contact details listed here, or go to our website - www.dairyfocus.com.au