Dairy Focus e-Newsletter October 2016
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How can it spread so quickly?


A couple of recent conversations showed us again, just how frustrating mastitis can be, especially in the current wet weather conditions.
  • "We work really hard to get the cell count down, and then it just takes off on us, and we just don't seem to be able to stop it.
           How can it spread so quickly?"
  • "I found two cases a few days ago, and now I just keeping getting one or two cases every couple of days.
           How can it spread so quickly?"

So it seemed an appropriate time to consider the spread of mastitis, especially in wet conditions.
 

The power of numbers


Generally, the most common method for bacteria to spread from one cow to another during milking is via a teat cup liner that has been contaminated by an infected cow.

We also know that when cups are removed from an infected cow, each liner that was on an infected quarter can potentially infect up to the next 5 - 6 cows that it is applied to.

Without making things too complicated, this means that a 300 cow farm with a BMCC of 300,000 cells/ml will have about 540 opportunities for spread of infection just via this method during each milking!
 
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Rain, mud & mastitis!


The arrival of rain and mud has created mastitis and cell count issues for some farms, whilst others are worried about the increased risk of mastitis, and how to reduce that risk.

However, this is NOT just about the mud and the environment - there are always several factors that contribute to the increased risk of mastitis in these environmental conditions.

Two core principles behind mastitis control are to minimise the number of bacteria on teat skin and to maximise & maintain teat end health.
 
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Wash & dry?


Whilst pre-milking teat preparation is not routinely used in most Australian herds, there is good evidence that targeted use can be of significant benefit.

In situations where there is excessive exposure of teats to mud and/or faecal material, the introduction of a pre-milking wash & dry routine can significantly reduce the number of bacteria on the teat surface and hence the risk of mastitis.
 
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How much mastitis is too much mastitis?


Wouldn't it be fantastic to think that mastitis could be a thing of the past!

Unfortunately that is unlikely to be the case any time soon.

Realistically, while we still milk cows, we are going to have to accept a level of mastitis – both as clinical cases and as high cell count cows (sub-clinical cases).

But how much clinical mastitis is too much?
 
Read more ........
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Other articles of interest


Managing mastitis risk in the dairy

Are your teat wipes OK?

 
Practical mastitis control
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TONGALA  VIC  3621

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